The Standard Aniline Products Corporation was established in 1915 to produce intermediates and dyes. An office was located at 366 Fifth Avenue, New York City. The main plant was located in
Wappingers Falls, New York and a branch plant was in Newburgh, New York on the Hudson River. Wappingers Falls is about 60 miles north of New York City.
Colonel Frederick Pope was president of the company and Roger N. Wallach was vice president and technical director. Col. Pope was both an investment banker (Pope & Richardson) and a
consulting engineer to the chemical industry. He erected five dye plants in various parts of the U.S.; the Wappingers Falls plant was the first one established after the onset of World War I. Col.
Pope also designed and started up many synthetic ammonia plants worldwide.
The plant was located on the site of the old Garner Print Works, which is pictured below:
Deering-Milliken purchased the Garner Print Works in 1908 and built a new building for the Dutchess Bleachery and a hydroelectric power station on Wappingers Creek. When the company
stopped the calico printing operation around the start of World War I, it leased surplus property and buildings to the Standard Aniline Products Corporation.
Herbert Linge, who previously worked for Garner Print Works, became general manager of the Standard Aniline Products works. Dr. Wallach spent time at both the New York office and at
Wappingers Falls, where he and his wife maintained a local home on East Main Street.
The old mill buildings were remodeled and fitted with new equipment for the manufacture of dyes urgently needed during World War I. A laboratory was setup in the former engraving shop
building. The company exhibited its line of dyes and intermediates at the National Exposition of Chemical Industries in New York during September 1915.
The technical staff included American chemists Robert V. Townsend and Max W. Levy, who graduated from Harvard University in 1916. English chemist Samuel M. Lazarus worked there too.
The firm also hired two Swiss chemists skilled in dye manufacture. Dr. Paul Strubin was hired in 1916 as a manager. Dr. Edwin A. Meier emigrated to the U.S. in 1917 and immediately joined the
company as manufacturing supervisor. Some additional support came in 1915 from consultant Adolphus H. Ney, a Geman chemist with a Ph.D. from the University of Zurich. Ney, who had
expertise in dyes and explosives, was regarded as a German enemy alien and was imprisoned during 1919 at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia.
Crosby Field was the chief engineer of Standard Aniline Products during 1915-1917. He was succeeded by William E. Popkin, a chemical engineer who graduated from Cornell University in 1914.
The first intermediates produced were beta naphthol, a developer for black, navy blue and red shades; aniline; and paranitraniline, needed for red shade textile dyes and pigments for printing
inks and paints. Napthalene sulfonic acid coupling components were also manufactured. Paraphenylenediamine was produced and was in high demand as a dye by the fur trade.
The scarcity of intermediates was reflected in prices. Beta naphthol, with a normal price of 12 cents per pound, was selling as high as $1.50. Paranitraniline, normally 15 cents, was selling as
high as $1.75.
The business flourished and more buildings were converted tor dye manufacture. Sulfur dyes were next added to the line, including the large volume sulfur blacks and a sulfur blue. Sulfur
black, in high demand for the hosiery and cotton trades, was selling for $2.75-3.00 per pound compared to the normal price of about 20 cents. The production of sulfur dyes captured the
interest of Dr. William G. Beckers, who was head of the Beckers Aniline and Chemical Works in Brooklyn. Dr. Beckers acquired Standard Aniline Products in early 1917 for $2.5 million. In May
1917 Beckers Aniline and Chemical Works merged with several other companies to form the National Aniline and Chemical Company, the largest producer of dyes in the U.S.
When the U.S. entered the war, the Wappingers Falls plant expanded for the production of explosive chemicals, very likely picric acid since the plant had nitration capacity in place.
The Newburgh branch plant was located at South Water and Washington Streets and employed 40, including many African-Americans. R.J. Decker was the plant superintendent and Dr. Robert
Kouch was the chemist. The Water Board notified the National Aniline and Chemical Company that the water supply to the plant was to be sharply reduced. This led to the announcement in
August 1917 to close the plant and transfer production to the Wappingers Falls site. All displaced employees were given the chance of employment at the larger location, which was only 13
The company hired many employees, both locally and out of state, and paid high wages. Tenement houses on McKinley Street were converted to boarding houses for the men. For operations
involving hazardous chemicals, Standard Aniline preferred to hire African-American workers, in the mistaken belief at the time that their skin was less sensitive to chemicals than that of white
The area economy boomed during WW I. But the Standard Aniline plant had several drawbacks. The chemical fumes and odors were offensive. During winter, white snow would turn yellow.
Many of the chemicals were hazardous, resulting in employee burns and skin rashes. An explosion occurred in 1916 when an autoclave over-pressurized, killing a worker, injuring others, and
destroying one of the main buildings. Repairs were made and the building resumed operations.
In September 1918, Edwin Meier resigned to become plant chemist at Grasselli Chemical Company in Linden where intermediates and sulfur dyes were being manufactured. Max W. Levy
transferred to the Grasselli Chemical Linden plant around the same time. Paul Strubin left in July 1919 to become plant superintendent of the Linden facility which later became the General
Aniline Works. Roger Wallach also left and became a vice president of Grasselli Chemical Company.
The end of the war resulted in cancelled orders for dyes and explosives. In late 1918 the National Aniline and Chemical Company decided to close the Wappingers Falls plant, transferring
production to its larger plants in Buffalo and Brooklyn. This was completed by mid-1919. Several of the old buildings had to be demolished due to contamination with explosive chemicals. The
Brooklyn plant was subsequently closed in March 1922 and its product line was transferred to the main plant in Buffalo.
1) Edgar A. Popper, Birth and Growth of an Old Village, Wappingers Falls, New York, 1707-1977 (Wappingers Falls, NY: Wappingers Historical Society, 1991)
2) "The Situation in Dyes", The New York Times, September 8, 1915
3) I.F. Stone, "The Aniline Dye Situation", Metallurgical and Chemical Engineering, Vol. 13, No. 11, October 1, 1915, pp. 664-665
4) "Aniline Dyes", The Daily Gleaner (Kingston, Jamaica), June 12, 1916
5) "Newburgh Will Lose Dye Plant", The Middletown (New York) Times-Press, August 3, 1917
6) Williams Haynes, American Chemical Industry, Vol. III, p. 217, pp. 236-237 (New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1945)
7) "Dr. Paul Strubin", American Dyestuff Reporter, September 17, 1951, p. 611
8) "Names In The News", American Dyestuff Reporter, Vol. 41, No. 6, March 17, 1952, p. 181
9) "Adolphus Henry Ney", RootsWeb, http://searches2.rootsweb.com/th/read/NEY/2007-08/1186053937, accessed July 13, 2008
ColorantsHistory.Org thanks the staff of the Newburgh Public Library, Jane Pells of the Grinnell Library in Wappingers Falls, and John DiDomizio of the Wappingers Falls Historical Society for
their research and helpful information.
Newburgh Plant Location
Wappingers Falls Plant Location
|Want Ad for Skilled Craftsmen
The Middletown (NY) Times-Press, July 13, 1918
|Garner Print Works Building Today , Wappinger Falls, New York
Formerly Used for Dye Manufacture by Standard Aniline Products During World War I
|Standard Aniline Products
Wappingers Falls, New York
|Panoramic Map of Wappingers Falls, New York
Garner Print Works Later Became Site of Standard Aniline Products. Map by L.R. Burleigh, 1889 (Library of Congress). Click to Enlarge
|Want Ad for African-American Workers
The Kingston (NY) Daily Freeman, July 19, 1916
|History of Standard Aniline Products Corporation
By Robert J. Baptista, revised March 5, 2013
Copyright © 2005-2013 by ColorantsHistory.Org. All Rights Reserved.
|Trade Ad ca. 1916.
Image Courtesy of Peter Metzke
Standard Aniline Products, Wappingers Falls, NY. Photo: Textile World Journal, 1917