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BetzDearborn Records

  • 1901–1996
  • American
    Created and used at the BetzDearborn corporate headquarters in Trevose, PA
  • 30 linear feet
    Papers, photographs
  • Jack R. Pounds
  • Copyright restrictions may apply (contact CHF archivist).


Includes company histories, minutes and by-laws, annual reports, newsletters, patents, reference manuals, marketing materials, financial records, and photographs.

Background note

The partnership of William H. and L. Drew Betz was formed in October 1925 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The first product was sold under the trade name K-Gel. It was used to treat and purify water in industrial boilers; its basic ingredient was sodium alginate, extracted from kelp.

The research and engineering departments were established in 1933 after moving to the West Wyoming facilities in Philadelphia. In 1939 synthetic "London water" was prepared for the White House to serve their Majesties George VI and Elizabeth of Great Britain on their visit to the United States.

After William and Drew’s partnership dissolved in 1957, Betz Laboratories, Inc., was formed, with services developing in the paper and pulp-processing industries. In 1996 Betz Laboratories acquired Dearborn, and BetzDearborn, Inc., was formed.

In 1887 two Chicago chemists, William H. Edgar and Frank E. Mariner, formed a partnership that prepared chemical compounds for removing and preventing scales in boilers. The following year, Edgar founded Dearborn Drug and Chemical Works. In the 1890s the company concentrated on stationary and marine boilers, but it turned toward the manufacture of water-treatment compounds for railway locomotive boilers in the 1900s and continued this interest for the next three decades. In the 1940s the company turned to the treatment of water-cooling systems in diesel locomotives, using such processes as deionization and zeolite systems. In the last half of the 20th century Dearborn increasingly emphasized industrial water treatment.

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