Noil Chemical and Color Works, Inc. was located at 140-156 West 108th Street in New York City. The company was organized by the
Lion Brewery interests during the World War I dye famine. The Noil name was derived by spelling Lion backwards. Dyes and other
chemicals were produced in the old Lion Brewery, which was built in 1857 by James Speyers. The site was bordered by what is now
Central Park West and Amsterdam Avenue and was located between 107th and 109th Streets.
The General Manager was Franklin P. Summers, former executive of the short-lived Federal Dyestuff and Chemical Company in
Kingsport, Tennessee. Summers graduated Harvard with a B.A. in chemistry in 1906 and worked for Abbott Labs before moving to
Kingsport in 1916. After Federal Dyestuff and Chemical went bankrupt in 1918, he joined the Noil company. Summers served as
treasurer of the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association (SOCMA) during 1921-1932.
The Noil Company produced a line of direct, developed, acid, and chrome colors. There was a good range of dyes for cotton: Direct
Black RXX, RE, and GXX; Developed Black BH; and Direct Blue 2B and 2BX. In 1923 Noil and the Peerless Color Company combined their
sales department under the direction of Arthur L. Benkert. The companies produced different types of direct dyes which did not
compete with each other. The joint sales strategy gave Noil and Peerless a direct dye product line comparable to those of larger
manufacturers. Noil retained its New England sales agent, Dunker & Perkins Co. of Boston, for its other products.
Noil announced in 1925 that it was the sole American producer of Direct Fast Scarlet 3B, noted for its brilliance, white discharge upon
reduction, and good fastness properties. This dye was especially suited for tin weighted silk. Direct Navy R and Dark Green BG were
introduced the same year. In 1926 Direct Brown CN was produced and recommended as a self-color and for dyeing cotton-wool union
fabrics. Direct Brown G was introduced and was said to be equivalent to the prewar Benzo Brown G from Germany. A yellower shade,
Direct Brown GG, was also made. A new acid red for wool and silk, Acid Brilliant Red B, was produced for wine-colored shades popular
Some of the Noil dye swatches are displayed in the trade ads below:
The Noil Chemical and Color Works business was acquired by the Calco Chemical division of American Cyanamid in 1932. Dye
production was transferred to the large Calco plant in Bound Brook, New Jersey. When Prohibition ended, the Lion Brewery resumed
beer making and operated until 1942. The brewery was demolished in 1944.
Another dye manufacturer that was established in a beverage facility was Pharma Chemical Corporation of Bayonne, New Jersey.
Dyes and intermediates were produced in a former distillery on West 52nd Street beginning in 1919.
1) Williams Haynes, American Chemical Industry, Vol. III, (New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1945–54), p. 236
2) Williams Haynes, American Chemical Industry, Vol. V, (New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1945–54), p. 176
3) Rubin Rabinowitz, personal communication, February 2005
4) "American-Made Colors", American Dyestuff Reporter, Vol. 11, No. 11, November 20, 1922, pp. 373-374
5) "Peerless and Noil Combine Sales Effort", American Dyestuff Reporter, Vol. 12, No. 26, December 17, 1923, p. 928
6) "Two New Noil Scarlets", American Dyestuff Reporter, Vol. 14, No. 2, February 9, 1925, p. 103
7) Beverage History Website: http://www.rustycans.com/month0604.html. Accessed August 21, 2005
|Franklin P. Summers-General Manager
Photo: Williams Haynes, American Chemical Industry
American Dyestuff Reporter-1925. Click to Enlarge
Location of Noil Chemical and Color Works:
|Noil Chemical and Color Works
New York City
|Dunker & Perkins Was Sales Agent for Some Noil Dyes
Image: Textile Overseer's Association of Fitchburg,
Massachusetts, 1917. Courtesy of Peter Metzke.
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