|John Campbell & Co., New York
World War I Dyestuff Manufacturerer
|John Campbell & Co. Dyestuff Plant in Newark, New Jersey ca. 1920
Photo Courtesy of D. Pizzoferrato
In 1876 John Campbell came from England and established a dyestuffs importing business in New York City that was known as
John Campbell & Co. The offices were located at 75 Hudson Street. Campbell imported dyes up to the time of his death in 1905. In
1907 the company was incorporated and continued to import dyes until 1914.
The outbreak of World War I resulted in the cessation of dye imports from Germany. It became critical to manufacture
intermediates and dyes in the U.S. Three separate concerns, all under the chairmanship of George H. Whaley, the principal
stockholder, were organized. John Campbell Co. was the selling company. The manufacturing company was the Amalgamated
Dyestuffs & Chemical Works, Inc. located in Newark, New Jersey. The third company was the Republic Chemical Works in Reading,
Pennsylvania which manufactured intermediates.
Amalgamated Dyestuffs & Chemical Works was incorporated in New York with capital of $50,000. The company was founded by
George H. Whaley, Charles H. Jones, and Emile H. Kick, all of Jersey City.
The plant site was located at Plum Point Lane and Avenue P in Newark. The property was four acres in size and served by a railroad
siding. Production of naphthols began on a small scale in 1915. Then sulfur and azo dyes were introduced. Textile processing
chemicals, or dyeing assistants, were also made. In 1918-1919, the company built a one-story, 50 by 90 foot building at a cost of
$8,500. The plant expanded over time to twenty chemical buildings with an area of 105,000 square feet.
A range of about 50 different dyes was eventually manufactured and sold under the trade name "Camel Dyes". During World War I
the company argued that American-made dyes should be given names of their own and not those coined by German producers
before the war. This was clearly stated in a company pamphlet published in 1918:
"Every American manufacturer of dyestuffs should give to his colors an appropriate name. We should get away from the habit of
referring to American colors by foreign names. In a comparatively short time we have produced colors that are equal to, and in
many instances better than, the so-called German standards. It is only a question of time when the fastest, rarest, and most
intricate dyes will be produced in this country.
Now the American consumer will never willingly put himself in the position he occupied before the war shut off the supply of
German colors. He realizes the necessity of having a dependable source of supply at home, and the only way this can be done is
for the consumer of dyes to support the American Dyestuff Manufacturer. No American mill man should use the German trade
words for the names by which he has known colors in the past. To do so would be playing right into the hands of the German
business propagandist. Therefore, let us be loyal to everything American, and among other things designate the American colors
by their American names."
In 1938 J. Pfister, the president and general manager, announced the addition of a line of vat dyes. This supplemented the extensive
range of acid, basic, direct, chrome, developed and sulfur colors. Amalgamated pioneered in the research of acetate rayon dyes
and had one of the largest lines of these dyes in the U.S.
The company was acquired in 1938 by the Calco Chemical Company, a division of American Cyanamid. Production was eventually
moved to the Calco plant in Bound Brook. The Newark site was sold in 1943 to Martin Laboratories of New York City.
1) "Alleged Dye Monopoly", Hearings Before a Subcommittee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate, 1922, p. 658
2) "Amalgamated Dyestuff & Chemical Works, Inc.", American Dyestuff Reporter, Vol. 27, No. 3, February 7, 1938
3) "American Names for Dyes", New York Times, January 27, 1918
|George H. Whaley, Founder
Photo: Chemical Age, 1921
|John Campbell & Co. Dyestuff Plant Location Map. Click to Enlarge.
Source: Robinson's Atlas of the City of Newark, New Jersey, 1926.
John Campbell & Co. Trade Ad 1919
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|Trade Ad in Official American