Newark, New Jersey
Paul A. Thomasset (1902-1999) came to the U.S. from France when he was sixteen. He attended Cooper Union and studied engineering. Thomasset became
a pigment chemist and was employed at the Ansbacher-Siegle plant in Rosebank, Staten Island. By 1940 he was a vice president, in charge of a research
staff of twenty chemists that developed pigments for inks, paints and cosmetics. Thomasset was awarded several patents, including US2260729 in 1941 for
a pigment testing device and US2275929, US2329364, and US2329365 in 1942 and 1943 for alkali resistant iron blue pigments.
After working for Ansbacher-Siegle for twenty years, Thomasset started his own business in 1946. Thomasset Colors Inc. manufactured cosmetic and
industrial pigments for printing inks. The first location was at 338 Wilson Avenue, Newark, NJ near the former Calco Chemical Co. ultramarine plant.
In 1952 Thomasset introduced three new phthalocyanine blues with improved properties: Aquamarine Blue 1670, Synthaline Blue 1950 and Synthaline Blue
Flushed 1949. Synthaline Blue 1950 had easier dispersion, increased strength, redder tone, and softer feel compared to Synthaline Blue 1952. These
products were distributed by Whittaker, Clark and Daniels.
In 1955 Thomasset Colors moved to a facility at 120 Lister Avenue in Newark, along the Passaic River. The research department in 1956, directed by Aaron
Cohen, consisted of a staff of four chemists and two technicians. The focus of the research was organic pigments and intermediates.
In 1957 the firm was acquired by Sterling Drug Inc. and operated as part of the Hilton-Davis Chemical Co. division of Sterling Drug.. Paul A. Thomasset
continued as president of the company. Raw materials utilized included barium sulfate, barium chloride, phthalic anhydride and phthalocyanine. The firm
also blended and repackaged for sale chromium oxide and chromium hydrate.
Hilton-Davis ceased pigment production in Newark in the late 1980s. Today this site, the adjacent Diamond Shamrock Superfund site, and other industrial
plants along the Passaic River are part of a study, under the supervision of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, to assess and
remediate the environmental consequences of plant discharges.
1) Obituary of Paul A. Thomasset, New York Times, January 13, 1999
2) Directive and Notice to Responsible Parties, Lower Passaic River, State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection, September 19, 2003 at
3) Rubber World, Vol. 125-126, 1951
4) American Paint Journal, Vol. 36, 1952
5) Industrial Research Laboratories of the United States, National Research Council, Washington, D.C., 1956
ColorantsHistory.Org thanks Paul Thomasset for contributing information for this history.
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