Procter & Gamble factory photograph   Save
Works Progress Administration, Ohio Guide Photographs
Description: This image shows an aerial view of "Ivorydale," the Procter & Gamble manufacturing complex in Cincinnati, Ohio, ca. 1935-1943. The sprawling campus includes factory buildings, storage facilities, smokestacks, roads, and railroad tracks. A baseball diamond is visible in the center of the image. The facility seen in the foreground center is a milling company; a sign on its twin towers reads “Union Grains.” Procter & Gamble is a multinational consumer goods company with corporate headquarters in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. An English candle maker, William Procter, and an Irish soap maker, James Gamble, established the company on October 31, 1837. In the beginning, Procter & Gamble’s manufacturing operations were located downtown on Central Avenue, near the Ohio River. The company prospered during the nineteenth century. In 1859, sales reached one million dollars. During the Civil War the company won contracts to supply the Union army with soap and candles. In addition to the increasing the company’s profits experienced during the war, the military contracts introduced soldiers from all over the country to Procter & Gamble’s products. After the men returned home from the war, they continued to purchase the company’s products. In the 1880s, Procter & Gamble began to market a new product, an inexpensive yet high-quality soap with the brand name "Ivory." Demand for the floating white bar soared. In January 1884 a fire destroyed most of the buildings at P&G’s manufacturing center downtown. The company seized the opportunity to reconfigure its manufacturing operations to accommodate mass production. That decision led to the creation of the 11-acre Ivorydale campus in 1886. It was located on Spring Grove Avenue between Mill Creek and Township Avenue in the Cincinnati suburb of St. Bernard, Ohio. The giant complex would eventually cover 243 acres with 120 buildings, including the 43-acre food plant built in 1911. During the 1930s the complex was described as being a maze of utilitarian gray stone buildings interspersed with hugged outdoor retorts and tanks, smokestacks, and railroad tracks. The campus included its own fire station, dining rooms, and recreational facilities. Over time, Procter & Gamble increasingly focused on producing soap and eventually stopped manufacturing candles in 1920. In the early 20th century Procter & Gamble built factories in other locations in the United States. During the second half of the 20th century, it acquired a number of other companies that diversified its product line and increased profits significantly. Procter & Gamble’s headquarters remain in Cincinnati. View on Ohio Memory.
Image ID: AL06197
Subjects: Procter & Gamble Company; Factories; Business enterprises--Ohio; Manufacturing industries--Ohio; Industries--Ohio--Cincinnati
Places: Cincinnati (Ohio); Hamilton County (Ohio)