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Devoe Shifts R&D to Cleveland

Published on 2003-11-18. Author : SpecialChem

Devoe Paint, one of the oldest U.S. paint makers, has closed down its last offices in of Louisville after 136 years, according to a report in the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Devoe's parent, ICI, last month shut its 30-person research and design facility in Louisville. It offered relocation to Cleveland to 16 employees, an offer that only six employees accepted. "It was really just to streamline the operations," said ICI spokesman Matt Barkett. "We have an existing R&D center up here in Cleveland that serves our other brands."

Devoe Paint goes back 249 years to Devoe and Raynolds, a manufacturer then located in New Jersey. In 1928, it bought Peaslee-Gaulbert Co., a paint company located in Louisville, and Devoe maintained offices in the area since then.

In 1941, the company moved most of its manufacturing to Louisville as it added to the war effort by producing olive drab paint for Army tanks and matte camo paints for military aircraft. Thirteen years later, Devoe moved its headquarters to Louisville from New York. 10 years later, Celanese bought Devoe and continued to operate the company in Louisville.

In 1976 when Grow Chemical Corp. bought Devoe and several other divisions of Celanese. Devoe reached its peak employment under Grow Group management, with more than 300 working in two paint plants and the corporate headquarters.

In 1995, ICI bought Grow Group. That year, the company closed Devoe's Louisville headquarters, cutting 100 jobs. In 1996, it closed its last paint plant, eliminating another 65 jobs. Since 1996, the only Louisville Devoe jobs have been the 30 at the technical center and employees of Devoe company stores.

ICI will continue producing and selling industrial paints under the Devoe brand. The name will celebrate its 250th anniversary next year.


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