Posted in Barberton History
The world’s smallest paint factory
One of Barberton’s most significant manufacturers is also one of its least known. The Carrara Paint Company was among the pioneer manufacturing businesses in Barberton. Located just north of Snyder Ave., between the Ohio Canal and the rail lines, the Carrara Paint Company factory wasn’t large. In fact, a Carrara official once referred to the factory as, “the smallest paint factory in the world.”
Available in 50 colors
Carrara was widely known for its production of a popular and durable paint which was available in 50 colors. The paint was sold world wide by mail order and through distributors. Carrara ads (see part 2) were distinctive and often spoke of the prominent properties, such as the Fields Museum, that have selected Carrara paints. Carrara ads always offered prospective customers a catalogue including 50 color samples to be sent postage paid by request.
“Carrara Paint – part 1” is the first in our series of stories about the Carrara Paint Company. Visit Part 2 to see examples of Carrara Paint Company Advertisements.
Who is Carrara Paint, by Carrara
1906 – Some years ago, a world renowned chemist discovered the secret of pigment which, in proper combination with linseed oil, produced a paint of marvelous toughness, covering power, durability and beauty.
He was firmly convinced that it was destined to revolutionize the paint business. He set about convincing others.
Like every departure from the institutions of our grandfathers, this one was jeered at, ridiculed and discounted by the very persons who should have been most interested in proving its worth.
But the discover was not discouraged.
He finally went to the head of a Baltimore concern and proposed to prove that his paint was better than any other.
Now, there is no place so hard on paint as a chemical laboratory. The fumes and gases cause white paint to turn yellow, and after the lapse of weeks, or at most months, entirely destroy the coating. In this particular factory the walls were painted white for the sake of light and cleanliness; painters were obliged to repaint frequently on account of discoloration and consequent lack of reflecting power.
The discover knew that no gases, no washing, would have the slightest effect upon Carrara.
In his boundless earnestness and enthusiasm he exclaimed: “If I paint your factory and laboratory with Carrara Paint, and it is in good condition at the end of five years, will you put up the money to manufacture and market it?”
He did not stop to think how long five years would be.
Without a moments hesitation, the answer came: “Yes.”
The building was painted. At the end of the year the Carrara paint man called and finding the paint in as good condition as when placed upon the walls, asked the Company if they were not ready to go ahead.
“You said five years.” was replied.
Not a day, not an hour, would the man subtract from the allotted time. They wanted a thorough, practical test.
It was weary waiting for the man with the secrets of the pigment, but he was upheld by the certainty of success in the end. and in five years from the date the agreement was made he had his reward.
The paint was apparently unchanged. A sponge and warm water restored the dirtiest place to its original gloss and whiteness .The coating was tough and elastic, showing that the life of the paint was unimpaired.
The Carrara Company sprang into existence, and, from a small factory, has grown and expanded until it now operates the largest exclusive house paint factory in the world.