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William Colgate


There is more to William Colgate that just toothpaste.

William was born in Kent, England in 1783. His father, a Baptist, worked as a farmer but was very well versed in the politics that took place in England, the American colonies and France. He very much supported the republican revolution and the way that France managed to over throw off the oppression of having regal rulers. In 1798, with his political views under scrutiny he felt that his family would be far better off leaving for America.

William left the family home in Maryland in 1804 and travelled to New York. He worked hard and was very keen to observe some of the practices and malpractices of the management where he worked. He found that his observations could put him in a very positive position when it came to seeking further employment and aided him with logical progression of ideas that could be ‘sold’ to his new employers to guarantee them success of their establishments. By 1806, through all of his contacts he was able to establish his own company, producing soap and shaving products. This really worked well and it was not long before William became one of the most affluent and honoured member of the community.

Rebelling slightly from his Baptist upbringing, he attended and worshipped at the Presbyterian Church when he arrived in New York. William was a little worried as how it father would receive the news so he wrote to him. William and his father then entered into several letters discussing parts of the bible that relating the specific points of his beliefs especially baptism.

With all the money that William was making he gave charitably to educational establishments and founded Colgate University (formerly Madison University), he supported temperance efforts and become the sole supporter of a foreign mission. He became affectionately known as Deacon Colgate through organizing the American Bible Society. When Colgate started to prosper, he initially gave 20& of his profits to charitable endeavours but soon his profits doubled so he started giving 30& of his profits, he felt that the more he gave the more profit he reaped.

In the present day Colgate-Palmolive is one of America’s oldest and most successful companies. It trades worldwide in 221 countries. The products that are offered have moved on from just soap and shaving products they now produce other personal care products as well as household products. Colgate-Palmolive is the company to which several other brand names such as Irish Spring and Ajax also belong. And it all started with an intelligent, observant analyst, William Colgate.