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Union Carbide

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Union Carbide
Chemical Manufacturer

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Official Site: UnionCarbide.com
Wikipedia: Union Carbide

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A chemical manufacturer. Prestone was originally a Union Carbide brand.


The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Union Carbide page on 24 August 2019, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The Union Carbide and Carbon Corporation was formed on November 1, 1917, from the merger of the Union Carbide Company founded in 1898, the National Carbon Company founded in 1886, Linde Air Products Company, maker of liquid oxygen, and the Prest-O-Lite company, manufacturer of calcium carbide. In 1920, the company set up a chemicals division which manufactured ethylene glycol for use as automotive antifreeze. The company continued to acquire related chemical producers, including the Bakelite Corporation in 1939. The company changed its name to "Union Carbide Corporation" in 1957 and was often referred to as Carbide. It operated Oak Ridge National Laboratory from 1947 until the late 1970s.

During the Cold war era, the company was active in the field of rocket propulsion research & development for aerospace and guided missile applications, particularly in the field of chemicals and plastics, solid rocket motors, and storable liquid fuels. R&D was conducted at the Technical Center in South Charleston, West Virginia. The Aerospace Materials Department was established for the mentioned purposes within the company's Carbon Products Division.

Ucar batteries was Carbide's industrial and consumer zinc chloride battery business. The business, including Energizer alkaline batteries, was sold to Ralston Purina in 1986, following a hostile takeover operation.

After the Bhopal disaster, Union Carbide was the subject of repeated takeover attempts. In order to pay off its debt, Carbide sold many of its most familiar brands such as Glad Trashbags and Eveready Batteries. Dow Chemical announced the purchase of Carbide in 1999 for $8.89 billion in stock.


1961 Union Carbide Chromium Ad Chromium
December 1961
Download image of 1961 Union Carbide Chromium Ad - 11.6MB
1961 Union Carbide Prestone Spray De-Icer Ad Spray De-Icer
February 1961
Download image of 1961 Union Carbide Prestone Spray De-Icer Ad - 11.6MB

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