Laporte Industries Ltd.

1888 - 2000 - British chemical engineering firm

The Laporte Company was founded in 1888 by the chemist Bernard Laporte (1862-1924), who was born in Hanover, but settled in Yorkshire aged 20. The company initially imported and then manufactured hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to bleach straw hats. In 1899, Laporte moved the headquarters to Luton and the company diversified into the manufacture and distribution of other bleaching and cleaning chemicals for the laundry trade. B Laporte Ltd grew considerably over the subsequent years as it acquired other companies, widened its remit and gained a worldwide reputation.

"In 1932 it introduced in its Luton plant the electrolytic process for the production of hydrogen peroxide. That same year, Laporte diversified into titanium dioxide (TiO2) though an association with National Titanium Pigments, and purchased Malehurst Barytes Company’s barytes mine.” [Source: Aftalion, page 182). In 1948 the company changed its name to Laporte Chemicals. Hydrogen peroxide was now being used for bleaching all kinds of material: wool, cotton, linen, rayons and other synthetic fibres and important applications were being developed in the paper industry, in plastics production and the synthesis of new chemicals (Salter, page 229). In 2000, the company was sold off to Degussa SKW, which itself was succeeded by Evonik.