NAUGATUCK, Conn.—Dave Sikora of Lanxess views himself as a bit of a history buff in the chemical industry.
Every day he goes to work knowing that the Naugatuck Research Center he oversees has a rich and storied history. Since its inception, the facility has seen a lot of change. To understand it, Sikora, who is the head of polymer additives technologies in North America for Lanxess Solutions U.S. Inc., saw a need for a sort of family tree.
And who better to put it together than an history buff with a penchant for digging up the stories that helped to shape the chemicals industry?
During a recent event at Lanxess' Naugatuck Research Center, Sikora, used the family tree he'd fashioned to share the history of the facility and the company that Lanxess has come to own.
Even with the guide, the story can get a bit confusing, as with name changes and acquisitions, there's quite a bit to the history.
The simple answer to how Lanxess came to own the two laboratories on the site is simple: it gained ownership through its 2017 acquisition of Chemtura. Of course, the long answer is much more complicated, which makes for several large branches on a family tree with deep roots.
For starters, the main branch dates back to 1892 and the formation of U.S. Rubber Co., followed in 1904 with the forming of Naugatuck Chemical Co. Those two merged, and for decades U.S. Rubber had a large footprint in Naugatuck. That included its footwear operations closer to downtown, and, more on the outskirts of town, its chemical facilities. They sat on an 88-acre site that at one time included some 40 buildings.