Chemistry in the City of Brotherly Love

The following presentation was given during a symposium on the “Chemistry of the City of Brotherly Love” hosted by the Younger Chemists Committee of the American Chemical Society.

ACS: Chemistry in the City of Brotherly Love

Abstract: From Textiles to Metals: Manufacturing in Philadelphia
By: Stephanie Zublick, Senior Development Chemist, Harry Miller Corporation

Philadelphia has a rich history in manufacturing and in the use of chemistry in those endeavors. From the 1880’s to the 1940’s, textile manufacturing was at its peak with nearly 700 independent textile manufacturers. Products included wools, cotton, ropes, synthetic materials, ribbons, silks, military specialty fabrics, and yarns to name a few. With this industry, many different types of chemicals were developed to aid in the processing and creation of these textiles.

Many of the textile manufacturers in Philadelphia purchased their processing chemicals directly from Philadelphia based chemical manufacturers such as Harry Miller Corporation. Chemicals for this manufacturing included lubricants for carding and combing, sizing compounds for wool blends, dye assists for coloring and fabric cleaners.

In the 1950’s, Philadelphia saw a sharp decline in textile manufacturing as the industry moved south and eventually overseas. This sharply decreased the demand for the specialty chemicals required for these processes in Philadelphia.

With the advent of the US’s participation in World War II, Philadelphia chemical manufacturers saw a boom in the steel mill and metal working industries and the need for specialty chemicals for metal parts such as rust preventatives and lubricants. In the 1950’s, change in mass production processes occurred e.g. automobiles, appliances, electronic devices, radio, and aviation to name a few. Specialty chemicals were now in high demand. These chemicals include lubricants, cleaners, acid inhibitors for steel mills and drawing compounds for metal deformation, all of which are made locally in Philadelphia. Chemistry has a strong history in Philadelphia.

NOTE: This presentation will also be given during the Philadelphia STLE’s George Arbocus Education Seminar on April 20, 2017.

Nick Ariano Celebrates 50 Years at Harry Miller Corp

50 Years of Service!
Nick Ariano's 50th Anniversary at Harry Miller Corp

Celebrating Nick Ariano’s 50th Anniversary at Harry Miller Corp

Today is the First Day of Nick’s 51st Year with Harry Miller Corp!

I’d like to take us all back in time… to July 11th, 1966.

  • It was a Monday, just as his anniversary today is a Monday.
  • My grandfather was sitting in my current office
  • My father was sitting where Lisa is sitting
  • I’m not sure where my Uncle was, since there was not yet any office space off the upstairs lobby
  • Which desk did Nick Take??
  • The back room was full of ladies doing direct mail
  • We had at least 10 salesmen on the road
  • Roy Allen was in Nick’s Current office: Roy had been captured by the Nazis in 1944 and had survived two death camps
  • I was at the pool at HVCC, looking forward to a month in Stone Harbor in August (I was the ripe old age of 12!)
  • The Phillies were in 4th Place
  • Connie Mac Stadium was in use at 21st and Lehigh
  • Gene Mauch was manager
  • Pitchers of note included: Bo Belinsky, Chris Short, Jim Bunning
  • Players of note included: Cookie Rojas, Clay Darymple, Dick Allen and Johnny Calison was in right field.
  • Lyndon Johnson was President
  • The Senate was 64-36 Democrat
  • The House was 248-127 Democrat
  • Popular Movies included: Born Free, Nevada Smith, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Torn Curtain and Batman.
  • Popular TV Shows included: Dark Shadows (Soap Opera), The Munsters, Gilligan’s Island and Get Smart
  • “Hanky Panky” by Tommy James and the Shondells was the #1 hit song
  • The Most Popular Song Artists were: Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, The Troggs, The Mothers of Invention and The Fifth Dimension
  • The most notable news item was that Angus Barbieri of Scotland ended his diet of Soda Water, Tea, Coffee and Vitamins after loosing 293 pound in 392 days gaining the title of “Longest to have survived without food” and he said he had forgotten what food tasted like.

On July 11, 1966, we had not yet invented the acid inhibitor Activol® 1803. Today, Activol® 1803 remains the highest selling product in our 80 year history and it led us into the international arena!

Congratulations on reaching this landmark anniversary and many thanks for all your years of service to date Nick. We are honored to have you begin your 51st year of service today!

Bruce Entwisle
Harry Miller Corporation

Charlie Haas & Harry Miller in the 1930s

Haas and Miller 1936 photo at North Hills Country Club
Haas and Miller 1936 photo at North Hills Country Club

Haas and Miller 1936 photo at North Hills Country Club

We recently dug up this classic photo, taken somewhere between 1936 and 1938, at the North Hills Country Club. Pictured from left to right are: Charlie Haas (Co-founder of Haas-Miller), Harry L. Miller (Co-founder of Haas-Miller and founder of Harry Miller Corp), Byron Nelson (the “Tiger Woods” of the 1930s, and namesake of a golf tournament still exist today), Mr. White and Mr. J. McKenna. Our company uses modern methods to keep our customer’s processes on the cutting edge, but our company enjoys a long, rich history.