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Company History

The company was launched in 1887 when Harvey Benjamin Fuller, Sr., traveled from Chicago to St. Paul, Minnesota, with the sole intention of inventing and selling glue. In Chicago Fuller had experimented with glue mixing, while successfully buying, repackaging, and marketing an existing adhesive that was guaranteed to 'cement everything.' His marketing took the form of various promotional rhymes, including clever Mother Goose spoofs: 'Maid was in the garden, hanging out her clothes/Along came a blackbird, and nipped off her nose/When she found her nose was off, what was she to do/But go and stick it on again with FULLER'S `PREMIUM GLUE.' Fuller regarded St. Paul, together with its 'twin city' Minneapolis, as the ideal urban center to establish his business, for general industry was thriving there and competition was scarce. In addition, flour, then a key ingredient in gluemaking, was in abundant supply because of a strong agricultural base and such rising concerns as Pillsbury and General Mills's precursor, Washburn-Crosby Company.

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The History of H.B. Fuller
H.B. Fuller's First Bookkeeper

  • 1887 Harvey Fuller moves to St. Paul, manufactures flour and water paste

  • 1901 Harvey Fuller invents unique scaffolding

  • 1915 H.B. Fuller Company incorporates

  • 1921 Harvey Fuller Jr. assumes H.B. Fuller presidency

  • 1924 H.B. Fuller expands product line with new formulas for canning

  • 1929 H.B. Fuller sales reach unprecedented revenue level at $157,000

  • 1934 Elmer Andersen joins H.B. Fuller, specializing in advertising and sales

  • 1938 Ray Burgess develops revolutionary new hot pick-up adhesive

  • 1941 Harvey Fuller sells company to Elmer Andersen

  • 1946 H.B. Fuller sales reach $1 million

  • 1949 Elmer Andersen becomes candidate for Minnesota State Legislature

  • 1950 H.B. Fuller establishes seven branch plants; growth rate skyrockets

  • 1953 H.B. Fuller’s 11th facility opens in Portland, Oregon, U.S.

  • 1956 H.B. Fuller produces 600 adhesive products; sales reach $6 million

  • 1959 H.B. Fuller begins international expansion in Canada and the Bahamas; H.B. Fuller sales reach $10 million

  • 1961 H.B. Fuller’s international markets span South America, Europe, Africa and Asia

  • 1964 H.B. Fuller merges its nine independent companies

  • 1965 Record sales hit $20.8 million as company reorganizes into four geographic regions

  • 1968 Sales at H.B. Fuller increase to new high of $36.6 million

  • 1968 H.B. Fuller holds first public stock offering

  • 1971 Tony Andersen becomes H.B. Fuller President

  • 1974 H.B. Fuller sales top $100 million, even during recession

  • 1977 H.B. Fuller distributes 100-percent stock dividend

  • 1978 H.B. Fuller purchases 180 acres in St. Paul (Vadnais Heights), Minnesota, U.S., for future headquarters

  • 1980 Sales of $296 million set new records

  • 1981 Construction begins at Willow Lake in St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S., site of new H.B. Fuller lab; H.B. Fuller reorganizes, focusing on strategic business units

  • 1982 H.B. Fuller acquires Isar-Rakoll Chemie; expands European presence

  • 1982 H.B. Fuller institutes 14-step quality control program

  • 1982 H.B. Fuller Willow Lake research facility opens

  • 1984 H.B. Fuller named to Fortune 500 based on 1983 performance

  • 1985 H.B. Fuller signs joint venture agreement with Guangdong Province, China

  • 1986 H.B. Fuller reaches $500 million sales goal

  • 1986 H.B. Fuller establishes the H.B. Fuller Company Foundation in support of its philanthropic vision and commitment to the community

  • 1994 H.B. Fuller reaches $1.1 billion worldwide sales

  • 2002 Trading of public stock moves to NYSE – with the ticker symbol FUL

  • 2005 & 2006 Forbes magazine named H.B. Fuller to its Platinum 400 list of best managed big companies in America, and one of the top 10 companies in the chemical industry

  • 2009 H.B. Fuller celebrates the grand opening of its new Asia Pacific Regional Technology Center in Shanghai, China

  • 2010 H.B. Fuller acquires Revertex Finewaters Sdn. Bdh. in Malaysia, strengthening the company’s presence in Southeast Asia

  • 2010 H.B. Fuller announces expansion to India with a $12 million manufacturing facility being built in Pune, India

  • 2010 H.B. Fuller opens its manufacturing facility in Nanjing, China, the first adhesives manufacturing facility of its kind in the Asia Pacific market focused on reactive technologies

  • 2011 H.B. Fuller acquires Liquamelt Corp., and patented Liquamelt™ adhesive system

  • 2011 2011 H.B. Fuller worldwide sales reach $1.56 billion

  • 2012 H.B. Fuller acquires the global industrial adhesives business of Forbo Group