Tuesday, June 18, 2019
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The CRC Story ( Download Printable PDF) Open
The Beginning
The Beginning
Since 1958, CRC INDUSTRIES, INC. (CRC) has aspired to become the leading manufacturer of specialty chemicals used in general maintenance and repair products.  CRC's broad range of products are known for their quality worldwide and serve the many segments of the international automotive and industrial markets.  Driven by an entrepreneurial spirit, CRC stands for innovation, quality and a commitment to serving the needs of the end-user.  The company's growth and international scope are a tribute to the men and women whose vision and hard work have made CRC a success.  This is the story of the company that CRC is today, as well as the past that has guided its development and its outlook for the future.  From the company's beginning in a Pennsylvania garage to its current presence in 120 countries, the CRC story is one that reaches around the world and into the future.
Recognizing Opportunity

Recognizing Opportunity

The history of CRC began in the spring of 1958.  Charles J. Webb II, a successful entrepreneur in the wool industry, was interested in diversifying his business.  He became aware of a new chemical anti-corrosion product being marketed by a West Coast company and was intrigued by its sales potential.  He traveled to California and made a verbal agreement to distribute the product east of the Mississippi and in Europe in exchange for equity in the company.  He wrote a check for $54,000, and a freight car of the product was sent rattling over the rails toward Philadelphia.

The West Coast company later decided to dissolve the agreement, and their president, who was the product's inventor, Norman Larson, left the company because of this conflict.

Webb offered Larson the opportunity to improve the product and, if successful, join forces with him in establishing a competing organization.

Webb moved him to Philadelphia, set up a temporary laboratory, and gave Larson until September to perfect his improved product.  If tests in September indicated that the product was improved and ready to manufacture, they would discuss a more permanent arrangement.  Larson agreed.

A Company Is Born


By Labor Day Larson had perfected the product by making it less flammable and more corrosion resistant.  On October 6, 1958, the company was formalized as a Pennsylvania corporation called Corrosion Reaction Consultants, Inc.  Larson received equity in the new company and was elected president.  Webb capitalized the business, and CRC was born.

For the first few years the company sold one product - CRC Corrosion Inhibitor.  As its name suggests, the product was a multi-purpose lubricant used to suppress corrosion in mechanical and electrical machinery.  The company's manufacturing plant was a garage, and the product's key ingredients were put together in 55-gallon drums.

A 6,000-gallon tank truck was rented and sent around to various chemical suppliers to add the proper amounts of each chemical solvent.  The truck driver would then drive around for a few hours to shake and blend the product.

Corporate Headquarters
By 1963 this process was necessary about every two weeks.  It was time for a change.  The company moved to a leased building at Dresher, Pennsylvania.  The facility originally had 20,000 square feet of space, which was then doubled through various expansions to accommodate the growth of the company.

In April 1974, CRC purchased and moved into a larger building in Warminster, Pennsylvania, which would ultimately become the corporate headquarters, as well as the company's largest manufacturing plant.

The Development of Complete Product Lines
Development of Complete Product Lines

Shortly after the move to Dresher in 1963, CRC decided to specialize by developing products that target specific markets.  The original product, 5-56®, was reformulated, and alternatives were developed that satisfied specific needs for the automotive, industrial, electrical, marine and aviation markets.  This approach was very successful and was followed by the development of a wide range of complementary products.

Over the years, many products have been developed.  CRC offers a complete range of cleaners, lubricants, corrosion inhibitors, protective coatings, degreasers, greases, additives and specialty products which have been tailored for specific customer maintenance and repair needs.

The Growth of The CRC International Network
  As early as 1961, CRC began working with distributors in Europe, and in 1967 CRC Chemicals Europe was incorporated in Brussels, Belgium.  Originally, product concentrate was imported from America.  It was mixed and filled locally at a custom filler.

The first CRC facility, established in early 1968 in Brussels, was actually a rented house in a residential neighborhood.  The house was used as offices, and the warehouse was in the garage.

By 1969 business had grown, and the operation moved to a modern, leased facility.  A few more employees were added, and mixing tanks were installed.  In 1971 product concentrates were mixed on site.  In 1974 aerosol filling began on a small scale with the installation of a semi-automated production line.

In 1975 a manufacturing plant was built in Zele, Belgium.  This facility was designed to manufacture nearly all of the same products that are manufactured in the U.S., with the range defined by local customer requirements.  By 1977 volume had increased significantly, and it became practical to install the equipment needed to do all aerosol filling automatically on site.

Throughout the late seventies and eighties, CRC Chemicals Europe expanded its operations throughout Europe by establishing a mix of subsidiaries and distributors.  In 1994 the Zele facility was expanded and its capacity increased to meet demand well into the next century.

Paralleling the growth in Belgium, CRC Australia was established in 1969 at Sydney, Australia.  By 1974 installation of aerosol and bulk filling lines was completed, and product was being sold throughout Australia and the rest of the Pacific Basin.

In 1980 a larger facility was opened at Castle Hill, Australia.  Today a full range of CRC products are produced and packaged at the Australian plant.  Through subsidiaries, acquisitions, and market penetration, CRC Australia established export agreements with more than 15 countries in the Asian Region.

By the 1990s, CRC was sold in more than 120 countries.  In 1994 CRC further extended its international presence by establishing a fourth operating unit in Asia.

The company today maintains four independent operating groups headquartered in the United States, Australia, Europe and Asia.  Each operating group provides manufacturing and distribution centers to serve local markets.

CRC has been a member of the Berwind Group since 1981.  http://www.berwind.com

External Growth

External Growth

The acquisition of Siloo® in 1983 enabled CRC to offer its customers a significant number of new products.  Founded in 1935, Siloo® was responsible for producing the first commercially available packaged oil additive.  Over the years the company introduced such products as Siloo® Diesel Fuel Conditioner, Siloo® Transmission Kleen and Siloo® Gas Line Anti-Freeze.

In 1984 CRC acquired Kontakt Chemie®, a German electronics specialty chemical supplier.  As they would do with all acquisitions, CRC retained the company's well-established trade name.

In 1993 CRC acquired Sta-Lube® and once again expanded its product range of specialty chemicals.

Sta-Lube® is a manufacturer of specialty lubricants, greases and hand soaps.  Founded in 1933, Sta-Lube has long been a dominant force in the specialty lubricant market.

Also in 1993, CRC acquired Siceront KF®.  As the French market leader of specialty chemicals for the electrical, industrial and electronic markets, KF® has proven to be another winning addition to the CRC family.

In 1994 CRC acquired Seaclear, a New Zealand company with the Mendent brand name.  Through this acquisition, CRC began to offer a range of polyester fillers for the automotive body repair market.

As the result of an acquisition in 1995, CRC Australia now offers a range of automotive car care products with the Repo® brand name.

In 1999 CRC acquired K&W Products, Inc.  This highly successful acquisition gave CRC some leading automotive brand names, such as Block Seal, Trans-X®, Aviex® and Copper Coat®.

In 2001, CRC acquired Marikate Ship Shape, Inc.  Its Marykate® brand cleaners, waxes,  and specialty appearance and maintenance products helped to expand CRC's existing marine product offering of professional grade lubricants, corrosion protectants and engine maintenance chemicals.