Harry Miller Corp. was founded in 1936 by Harry Miller and Charles Haas, two former employees of a local specialty chemical producer. The Pennsylvania corporation was originally called the Haas-Miller Corporation. Manufacturing in the Philadelphia, Pa. area in the thirties was dominated by the textile, leather and paper trades. The company formulated and produced original chemical specialties for these industries and sold principally on the U.S. eastern seaboard.
With the advent of WWII, the environment changed into a hot-bed of steel and metal-working, and the company changed its focus to meet those needs. Simultaneously, sales expanded to include the region east of the Mississippi, with a concentration in the “rust belt” cities of the Midwest.
In 1946, there were significant changes in the company: the two founders parted, the name changed to the “Harry Miller Corporation”, and Harry Miller’s son-in-law, John Entwisle, joined the firm. Entwisle joined the company as office manager, learning the trade by traveling with salesmen, and doing stints in the lab and factory. Entwisle became involved with marketing the company’s products, primarily through the use of direct mailings and “Miller Memos” that touted the latest developments. Entwisle ultimately took the helm when founder Harry Miller passed away in October 1967.
As sales grew through direct marketing, the company hired salesmen in the south, northeast and Midwest, in addition to its local sales force. The steel industry in the Midwest was burgeoning, and the company made the decision to enter the pickling inhibitor market that was then dominated by another local company, AmChem. This strategic decision ultimately resulted in vaulting Harry Miller Corp. into the leadership position due to a well-developed products and laboratory expertise in steel pickling additives, and a niche market dominance the company still enjoys today.
Harry Miller Corp’s pickling inhibitors utilized an entirely new chemistry that drastically reduced the steel industry’s cost of pickling as they were lower in cost, and offered better inhibition than the products that had formerly dominated the market. Entwisle was credited with steering the company in new directions, and the results were that the company experienced rapid growth during the sixties and seventies. Harry Miller Corp. was known to make innovative products while operating as an ethical and quality-driven enterprise.
John’s son, Bruce joined the business in 1983 as a salesman in the Cleveland district. After building his territory, he was transferred to Philadelphia to run the recently acquired “Rech Chemical Co.” as General Manager. In addition, he grew the Philadelphia regional sales district into the preeminent territory. In 1989 he was promoted to National Sales Director, holding that position until 1994 when he assumed the President/CEO positions upon John Entwisle’s retirement.
The third generation, under Entwisle’s guidance, moved the company into the international arena, selling its Activol® line of acid inhibitors and Hamico® rinse aids into all corners of the globe through strategic partners and sales agents. Metalworking chemicals were also supplied to such various geographies as China, Singapore, Romania and Tasmania, to name a few.
Entwisle continues the tradition of identifying customer needs and filling them with products designed to improve operating efficiency, while lowering costs. Customer satisfaction and product quality are still prime objectives, as signified by customer loyalty, new customer acquisition and the company’s ISO 9001-2000 award status.