Stauffer Chemical

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Stauffer Chemical Company
Founded1886 (1886) in San Francisco, California, United States
FoundersJohn Stauffer, Sr. and Christian de Guigne
ProductsFabricated Plastic products and Agricultural Chemicals

Stauffer Chemical Company is a former American chemical company which manufactured herbicides for corn and rice. It was acquired by Imperial Chemical Industries from Chesebrough-Pond's Inc. in 1987.[1] In 1987, Stauffer's head office was in Westport, Connecticut.[1] Late that year, Imperial sold Stauffer's basic chemicals business to Rhône-Poulenc S.A.[2]


The company was founded in 1886 in San Francisco as a partnership between two young Europeans; a German, John Stauffer, Sr., and a Frenchman, Christian de Guigne. Ships exporting borax to Europe used sulfur as ballast. This ballast/sulfur became the inexpensive raw material for the newly formed company. The company was incorporated by John Stauffer, Sr., who died on March 4, 1940 at the age of 78.[3][4][5][6]

In 1931, the company announced plans for a new manufacturing subsidiary, the Pacific Hard Rubber Company.[7]

Hans Stauffer, nephew of founder John Stauffer, Sr, who joined his uncle at Stauffer Chemicals in 1920 and who retired as president in 1967, died in 1986.[6]

John Stauffer Jr., director emeritus of the company and son of the company’s founder, died in 1972. The John Stauffer Laboratory for Physical Chemistry, the John Stauffer Chemistry Building at Stanford University, and the John Stauffer Science Center at Whittier College are all named after him.[8][9]

Pollution and site contamination[edit]

A Stauffer Chemical factory in Tarpon Springs, Florida in Pinellas County (28°10′00″N 82°46′32″W / 28.16666°N 082.77569°W / 28.16666; -082.77569), produced elemental phosphorus from phosphate ore operated from 1947 until 1981. The factory was originally operated by Victor Chemical Company, and was acquired by Stauffer Chemical in 1960. The United States Environmental Protection Agency reported that "Site operations resulted in the contamination of soils, ground water, and waste ponds on the property. The main contaminants of concern (COCs) in soil include arsenic, antimony, beryllium, elemental phosphorus, polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), radium-226, and thallium."[10]

1982 and 1983 earnings dispute[edit]

In 1984, the company was accused by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission of overstating its 1982 and 1983 earnings through non-standard accounting.[11][12]

Phosphorus trichloride plant[edit]

The company was in the headlines in the mid-1980's for selling its design for a chemical plant to make phosphorus trichloride to Krebs A.G., a Swiss company. The plant modeled after a Stauffer plant in Pennsylvania, was subsequently built by Krebs for El Nasr Pharmaceutical Company of Egypt. Phosphorus trichloride is well known for its dual use capacity as a starting material for pesticide products as well as Sarin.[13]


  1. ^ a b Hicks, Jonathan P. (June 6, 1987). "Imperial set to buy Stauffer". The New York Times. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
  2. ^ "Company News; Imperial Set to Sell More Stauffer Units". The New York Times. Reuters. September 23, 1987. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
  3. ^ "Obituary 2 -- No Title". The New York Times. March 5, 1940. (Subscription required (help)).
  4. ^ "Miss Stauffer Plans to Wed". Style. The New York Times. September 4, 1988.
  5. ^ "Jill Stauffer Is Married". Style. The New York Times. October 18, 1987.
  6. ^ a b "Hans Stauffer Is Dead; Led Chemical Concern". The New York Times. November 16, 1986.
  7. ^ "New Industry Launched. Pacific Hard Rubber Company Announces Plans for Factory Representing $100,000 Investment". Los Angeles Times. October 25, 1931. p. D1. Retrieved July 17, 2011. Establishment of a new industry in Los Angeles with an initial investment of approximately $100,000 in plant and equipment and which will employ at its opening about fifty men was announced yesterday by John Stauffer, Jr., when he made known the formation of the Pacific Hard Rubber Company.... The new company is owned and controlled by the Stauffer Chemical Company
  8. ^ "Stauffer Succombs At Age 74". Merced Sun-Star. The Associated Press. December 14, 1972. Archived from the original on January 25, 2013. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
  9. ^ "John Stauffer of Chemical Company Dies". Los Angeles Times. December 14, 1972. p. D24. Retrieved July 17, 2011. (Subscription required (help)).
  10. ^ "Region 4 - Superfund - NPL/Caliber Sites-Florida - Stauffer Chemical Company (Tarpon Springs)". U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
  11. ^ Noble, Kenneth B. (August 14, 1984). "Stauffer Accused by S.E.C. of Fraud". The New York Times. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
  12. ^ "Stauffer Chemical". The New York Times. August 17, 1984. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
  13. ^ A Cordesman (1996). Perilous Prospects: The Peace Process And The Arab-Israeli Military Balance. Taylor&Francis, Westview Press. ISBN 0-8133-2939-6. ISBN 0-8133-3074-2. Retrieved 22 April 2018.