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Our History

The small soap and candle business that William Colgate began in New York City early in the 19th century is now, more than 200 years later, a truly global company serving hundreds of millions of consumers worldwide. Throughout this history, Colgate people and Colgate values have been at the heart of our success.

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William Colgate starts a starch, soap and candle business on Dutch Street in New York City.


First Colgate advertisement appears in a New York newspaper.

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Colgate establishes a starch factory in Jersey City, New Jersey.


Upon the death of founder William Colgate, the company is reorganized as Colgate & Company under the management of Samuel Colgate, our founder’s son.

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B.J. Johnson opens a soap factory in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which later becomes the Palmolive Company.


Colgate introduces perfumed soap and perfumes/essence.

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Peet brothers establish a soap company in Kansas City, Kansas where they make Crystal White soap. Cashmere Bouquet, the first milled perfumed toilet soap, is registered as a Colgate trademark.


Colgate starts selling aromatic toothpaste in jars.

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Gerhard Mennen establishes a pharmacy in Newark, New Jersey, which later becomes the Mennen Company.


Colgate introduces toothpaste in a collapsible tube.

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B.J. Johnson Soap Co. introduces Palmolive Soap. Today, the Palmolive equity is sold in over 88 countries in 54 variants.


Colgate wins top honors for its fine soaps and perfumes at the World’s Fair in Paris.

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Stylish Palmolive advertising begins, emphasizing ingredient purity and product benefits.


Colgate & Company celebrates its 100th anniversary. Our product line includes over 800 different products.

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Colgate is incorporated by the five sons of Samuel Colgate. Ribbon opening is added to the Colgate tube: “We couldn’t improve the product, so we improved the tube.”


Colgate distributes two million tubes of toothpaste and toothbrushes to schools and hygienists to demonstrate tooth brushing.

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William Mennen introduces the first American shaving cream tube.


Colgate establishes its first international subsidiary in Canada.

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Colgate begins establishing operations in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa.


Soap manufacturers Palmolive and Peet merge to become Palmolive-Peet Company.

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Colgate merges with Palmolive-Peet to become Colgate-Palmolive-Peet Company.


On March 13th, Colgate is first listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

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Dr. Mark L. Morris develops a pet food to help save a guide dog named Buddy from kidney disease. This breakthrough leads to the first Hill’s Prescription Diet product.


Ajax cleanser is launched, establishing a powerful now-global brand equity for cleaning products.

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Colgate-Palmolive Company becomes the company’s official name.


Colgate opens corporate headquarters at 300 Park Avenue in New York City.

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Colgate opens research center in Piscataway, New Jersey.


Palmolive dishwashing liquid is introduced. Today, it is sold in over 35 countries.

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Colgate toothpaste adds MFP Fluoride, clinically proven to reduce cavities.


Irish Spring launches in Germany as Irische Frühling and in Europe as Nordic Spring. In 1972, Irish Spring is introduced in North America.

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Colgate acquires Hoyt Laboratories, which later becomes Colgate Oral Pharmaceuticals.


Caprice hair care launches in Mexico. Today, hair care products are sold in over 70 countries, with variants to suit every type of hair need.

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Colgate-Palmolive acquires Hill’s Pet Nutrition. Today, Hill’s is the global leader in pet nutrition and veterinary recommendations.


Colgate Plus toothbrush is introduced. Today, over 1.6 billion Colgate toothbrushes are sold annually worldwide. If you lined them up end to end, they would circle the globe 16 times.

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Protex bar soap is introduced, and today offers all-family antibacterial protection in over 56 countries.


The Chairman’s You Can Make A Difference Program is launched, recognizing innovation and executional excellence by Colgate people.

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Colgate acquires Softsoap liquid soap business from the Minnetonka Corporation. Today, Colgate is the global leader in liquid hand soap.


Annual Company sales surpass the $5 billion mark.

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Colgate acquires Murphy Oil Soap, the leading wood cleaner in the United States. Today, its product portfolio has expanded to include all-purpose cleaners, sprays and wipes.


Colgate acquires the Mennen Company. Today, Mennen products are sold in over 52 countries. Colgate Total toothpaste is introduced.

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Colgate enters Central Europe and Russia, expanding into fast-growing markets. Colgate acquires Kolynos Oral Care business in Latin America and launches market-leading Sorriso toothpaste.


Colgate® Bright Smiles, Bright Futures™ oral health education program expands to 50 countries, and today reaches over 50 million children annually.

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Colgate Total toothpaste is introduced in the U.S. and quickly becomes the market leader. Only Colgate Total, with its 12-hour protection, fights a complete range of oral health problems.


Colgate acquires the GABA oral care business in Europe, with its strength in the important European pharmacy channel and its ties with the dental community.

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Colgate enters the fast-growing Naturals segment by purchasing Tom’s of Maine, a leader in that market in the United States.


Colgate acquires the Sanex personal care brand in Europe.

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Hill’s enters the Naturals segment with the launch of Hill’s Ideal Balance™.


Colgate refurbishes the historic “Colgate Clock,” a landmark in Jersey City, New Jersey.

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Colgate® Bright Smiles, Bright Futures™ celebrates 25 years of creating bright smiles. Since 1991, the program has reached more than 850 million children in 80 countries, with a goal of reaching 1.3 billion by 2020.


Colgate partners with the Mexican Dental Association Foundation to support passage of a new law requiring oral hygiene regimen during each school day for every child enrolled in a public primary school in Mexico City.

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Colgate® Bright Smiles, Bright Futures™ celebrates 1 Billion children reached since 1991. Colgate acquires professional skin care brands PCA Skin and EltaMD, advancing Colgate’s presence in the premium global skin care category.


Colgate launches the first-of-its-kind recyclable toothpaste tube and acquires premium, anti-aging skin care brand Filorga. Colgate Total toothpaste and Hill’s Science Diet are relaunched.

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Colgate acquires Hello Products LLC, and Colgate responds to COVID-19 pandemic by donating 25 million bars of #SafeHands soap along with $20 million in health and hygiene products and pet food.


Colgate continues to focus on Oral Care, Personal Care, Home Care and Pet Nutrition and sells its products in over 200 countries and territories worldwide.

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