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For more than 125 years, ACA has acted as a representative of and advocate for the paint and coatings industry. This timeline was created in 2012, as a way of commemorating the association’s 125th Anniversary. For a more complete account of industry and association history, view our commemorative booklet, American Coatings Association Celebrating 125 Years 1887-2012.

1700

Thomas Child established the first paint mill in Boston, Mass., importing two grinding mill stones, known as the “Boston Stone” for use in his paint shop.


The original grindstone from Thomas Child's paint mill

1867

D.R. Averill patented the first prepared or ready-mixed paints in Ohio.

1880s

Paint factories were established and began to compete for business.



Local paint societies were formed in New England and St. Louis, followed by Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh.

1887

The National Paint, Oil and Varnish Association – the first national organization to represent the paint industry – was formed at a meeting on Sept. 11 in Saratoga N.Y.

1891

The national association initiated efforts to encourage U.S. President Benjamin Harrison to add a Department of Commerce to his Cabinet.

1899

Paint manufacturers created the Paint Grinders Association of the United States because they felt that their branch of the industry had its own specific concerns.

1899

The first “Non-Exchange Agreement” was adopted to put an end to competitive practices that allowed salesmen to convince a retailer to replace the current stock with the salesman’s brand of paint.

1900

The Paint Grinders Association established the Trademark Bureau.

The industry’s first state government affairs program was organized by the Paint Grinder’s Association. They gave the secretary, George Baugh Heckel, $10 per state to pay local individuals for reports of new paint legislation.


George Baugh Heckel


Lithopone and Tung oil (China wood oil) first appear for use in the American paint and varnish industry.


Chinese Wood Oil in Barrels
 

1902

The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) established the precursor to the D-1 Committee on Paint and Related Coatings Materials.

1903

U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt added a Department of Commerce to his Cabinet, a proposal initiated by the association in 1891.

Varnish manufacturers banded together to establish their own association: The National Varnish Manufacturers Association.

1905

The Paint Grinder’s Association formed the Bureau of Promotion and Development. Later that year, the bureau would challenge legislation in North Dakota requiring that paint be composed of pure white lead and pure linseed oil. The legislation passed in North Dakota, and similar laws were subsequently adopted by other states.

1907

The Paint Grinders Association changed its name to the Paint Manufacturers Association.

1908

The Bureau of Promotion and Development was renamed the Educational Bureau, and would remain in operation for a quarter of a century.

1909

The Scientific Section of the Educational Bureau was created, with Dr. Henry A. Gardner as its director. He held the post until 1945.

1910

John R. MacGregor pioneers formation of paint and varnish clubs in St. Louis and Louisville and is known as "father of the production club movement."

1914

The Clean-Up and Paint-Up Committee was formed with Allen W. Clark, a St. Louis publisher, as chairman. The committee was originally Clark’s idea, and he developed a campaign plan in 1912.
 


Clean-Up and Paint-Up Campaign Kit


On Dec. 18, twelve men representing eight local manufacturers organized the first paint and varnish club at Hollenden Hotel in Cleveland, Ohio.

1915

 Paint plant managers, superintendents, and chemists attend annual meetings of the National Varnish Manufacturers Association (NVMA), a sign of a growing trend toward cooperation of technical production individuals in the industry.

1916

Ernest W. Trigg, director of the Publicity Section of the Educational Bureau, received approval from the Paint Manufacturers Association to run a consumer education campaign. The campaign would be launched several years later with the theme “Save the Surface and You Save it All.”

1922

On June 14, the Federation of Paint and Varnish Production Clubs (Federation) was organized.

1925

Companies began to add college trained chemists to their staffs and chemical formulas began to replace recipe books, moving the industry from art to science.

The National Paint, Oil and Varnish Association took over sponsorship of the Clean-Up and Paint-Up Bureau.

1926

Varnish manufacturer and paint manufacturer associations were consolidated into the American Paint and Varnish Manufacturers Association.

1928

The first Federation members were appointed to Technical Advisory Committee of the Educational Bureau, marking the beginning of a cooperative technical relationship between the Federation and the American Paint and Varnish Manufacturers’ Association.

1929

On Oct. 16, the association purchased property on New York Avenue in Washington, D.C. and dedicated it to Educational Bureau founder and chairman, Norris B. Gregg.


Educational Bureau Building on New York Avenue in Washington DC
 

1933

 The National Paint, Oil, and Varnish Association and the American Paint and Varnish Manufacturers Association consolidated into the National Paint, Varnish and Lacquer Association (NPVLA).

1937

The “Cincinnati Agreement” was adopted by NPVLA to eliminate unfair competitive practices.

1940

A new headquarters of the National Paint, Varnish and Lacquer Association was dedicated at 1500 Rhode Island Avenue in Washington, D.C.

1940 Renovation of the 1500 Rhode Island Avenue Building

 

1500 Rhode Island Avenue

 

1500 Rhode Island Avenue, Lobby



The first paint roller was invented, and changed the way paint is applied.


The Federation committee initiates research and production studies on creating camouflage paints.

1947

The Clean-Up and Paint-Up program was officially titled the National Clean-Up – Paint-Up – Fix-Up Bureau.

Campaign signage for the program

 


Industry volume reaches a billion dollars for the first time.

1949

Portable canned spray paint was invented by Edward Seymour to showcase his aluminum paint for radiators. Edward Seymour's wife Bonnie suggested the use of an aerosol can filled with paint.

1951

Verne C. Bidlack and Edgar W. Fasig publish The Paint and Varnish Production Manual.

1953

NPVLA issued the first Labeling Guide.

1954

NPVLA, in cooperation with the Federal Civil Defense Administration, produced a film, The House in the Middle, which asserted that homes painted with reflective white paint have an increased chance of survivability during an atomic event. In 2001, the Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Still frames from “The House in the Middle” film

 

1955

The Federation establishes High School Science Teachers Seminar in Paint Technology at North Dakota Agricultural College to help encourage interest in paint industry careers.

1957

The Federation forms the Paint Research Institute (PRI) to advance state of knowledge and training in the paint industry, by sponsoring short and long-term research projects.

1960

Ecological and safety considerations became especially significant factors in the
development of new coatings formulations.

The Federation of Paint and Varnish Production Clubs changes its name to Federation of Societies for Paint Technology.

1970

The association formed Verlan Limited, a wholly owned captive insurance company, which provided general/product liability insurance and property coverage.

1971

The National Paint, Varnish, and Lacquer Association became the National Paint and Coatings Association (NPCA).

1972

The Federation celebrates its 50th anniversary.

1974

The Federation of Societies for Paint Technology changes its name to Federation of Societies for Coatings Technology (FSCT).

1975

The association formed a Product Safety Task Force to focus on the proposed Toxic Substances Control Act, proper respiratory protection during spray applications of paints and coatings, as well as other related issues.

1978

The federal government banned lead in paint used in residential structures; many paint manufacturers had discontinued the use of lead pigments in consumer paints in the 1950s.

1979

The International Committee for Coordinating Activities of Technical Groups in the Coatings Industry (ICCATCI) was formed in Paris, by FSCT and technical groups from around the world.

1980

NPCA introduced its Hazardous Materials Identification System® (HMIS®), which was designed to provide hazard information associated with raw materials to paint industry employees. A few years later, companies using HMIS® would be considered in compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s Hazard Communications Standard.

NPCA created the “Picture it Painted” campaign to promote paint products to consumers and to enhance the paint industry’s image.

Picture it Painted Campaign

 

1982

Computerized in-store paint matching was introduced, making it possible to analyze any paint sample and provide a perfect match.

1984

NPCA funded a coalition called SAFE, the “Solvent Abuse Foundation for Education,” to confront the issue of spray paint inhalant abuse.

1985

PRI officially changes its name to the Coatings Industry Education Fund (CIEF).

1987

The association celebrated its centennial anniversary, and the historic NPCA headquarters was renovated to showcase a variety of decorative painting techniques.

Before and After, Decorative painting in lobby

 

The Association Celebrates 100 Years

 

1990

NPCA formed a network of state-based paint councils beginning in California and New Jersey and growing to 10 councils representing 11 states across the nation.

1991

A new NPCA member program – the Pollution Prevention Program – was established to promote product stewardship within the industry, with the goal of preventing environmental pollution through effective material utilization, waste minimization and reduction of toxic releases.

Pollution Prevention Program Award

 

1992

NPCA joins with industry associations from Europe, Mexico, Japan and Canada to form the International Paint and Printing Ink Council (IPPIC).

First IPPIC Meeting

 

1993

The Industry Outreach Program was created to address misconceptions about the industry through education of and communication with key industry audiences.

1994

The association established the National Council to Prevent Delinquency (NCPD) to monitor legislation on aerosol paints and to educate those who might be influenced by the portrayal of graffiti vandalism as “cool.”

1995

NPCA’s Management Information Committee oversaw development of the new publication, the U.S. Paint & Coatings Industry Market Analysis, which provided a comprehensive market overview of U.S. Census Bureau industry data, expert analysis of various coatings market sectors, and a forecast of driving forces influencing the industry.

NPCA establishes a web site: www.paint.org.

1996

NPCA launched the Community Lead Education and Reduction Corps (CLEARCorps) in partnership with the University of Maryland to educate communities about possible risks associated with lead-based paint in older housing.

1997

Coatings Care®, a voluntary health, safety and environmental initiative, was developed by the association to assist member companies in complying with the diverse regulatory requirements for worker, customer and environmental safety.

FSCT celebrates its 75th anniversary.

2002

NPCA established a political action committee, PaintPAC, to provide an additional forum in which to educate decision makers on important industry issues.

2003

IPPIC sponsored the first Coatings Summit in collaboration with German publisher Vincentz Network.

2004

IPPIC was granted Non-governmental Organization (NGO) status from the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

NPCA sponsored the National Training Program for Lead-Safe Work Practices in Renovation and Remodeling, which was designed to educate contractors, facility managers, landlords, and children’s health advocates about lead safe practices.

2007

NPCA partnered with German publisher Vincentz Network to establish the American Coatings Show and Conference. The first event was held in June 2008.

Through a Strategic Planning process with the Board of Directors, the association established several new programs: the Legal Issues Tracking & Amicus Program; the Communications Outreach Program; Coatings Connect, a grassroots issue advocacy program; and the Science and Technology Program.

2008

The first American Coatings Show (ACS) and American Coatings Conference were held June 2 - 5, in Charlotte, N.C.

The 2008 American Coatings Show Tradeshow Floor

At the ACS post-show press conference, NPCA announced an agreement to merge with the Federation of Societies for Coatings Technology (FSCT), a long-established organization representing the interests of coatings industry professionals.

2009

A work group of 50 association members was formed to address Green Building standards with regard to the coatings industry.

2010

The association changed its name to American Coatings Association, Inc., adopted a new logo and a new mission, which focuses on the interests of both companies and technical professionals in the coatings industry.

ACA established PaintCare, a non-profit organization designed to provide a system for the collection of post-consumer architectural paint and the management of its end-of-product life, including reuse, recycling, energy recovery, and proper disposal.

2011

An ACA work group developed a Sustainability Awareness message touting the benefits of coatings as products that extend the useful life of many man-made objects and, in some cases, also reduce energy consumption.

2012

IPPIC celebrates its 20th Anniversary.

The association commemorates its 125th Anniversary.

 

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The United States exported $1.8 billion in paint and coatings products in 2010, up by 24 percent, or $343 million, from 2009.

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