William Proctor and James Gamble were both immigrants and tradesmen when they married sisters in Cincinnati, Ohio. Their new father-in-law, Alexander Norris, convinced the two to become business partners. Procter & Gamble (P&G) was created in 1837.
During the American Civil War they had contracts to supply the union army with soap and candles.
In the 1880’s the company began to market a new product: a soap that floated in water named Ivory.
At that point P&G began to build factories and facilities all over the United States as the demand had outgrown the capacity of the original Cincinnati facilities.
In 1911 the company introduced Crisco, a shortening made from vegetable oils which was an alternative to lard.
In the 1940’s P&G began to branch out into new areas and introduced Tide detergent and Prell shampoo. In 1955 they introduced Crest toothpaste, and Charmin in 1957.
They were the pioneer of disposable diapers with the Pampers brand.
In 2005 P&G announced their acquisition of Gillette. This formed the largest consumer goods company in the world, placing Unilever in second place.
Today P&G is part of the S&P 500, is #15 on Fortune’s list of the “World’s Most Admired Companies” list, has 121,000 employees, and had $84.17 billion in revenue in 2013.