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The History of Tredegar and Tredegar Film Products

Tredegar Film Products Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tredegar Corporation, a company with a rich history of innovation. Our roots go all the way back to 1887, when the Albemarle Paper Manufacturing Company was started on the banks of the James River in Richmond, Virginia (USA).
At the turn of the 20th century, Albemarle was one of the largest manufacturers of blotter and kraft paper in the world. However, with the arrival of the ballpoint pen in 1945, the popularity of fountain pens began to decline, and so did Albemarle's markets. At the same time, the introduction of plastics as an alternative to paper caused Albemarle to rethink its strategy. In 1962, CEO Floyd D. Gottwald, Sr., successfully launched an attempt to buy Ethyl Corporation, a company that dwarfed Albemarle in size and which was owned jointly by General Motors and Standard Oil. Ethyl was producing the anti-knock additive for gasoline Tetra-Ethyl Lead, also known as TEL. At the time of Albemarle's acquisition of Ethyl, it was the largest leveraged buyout in American history, which prompted the Wall Street Journal heading: "Jonah Swallows the Whale." Mr. Gottwald restructured the company and made Albemarle a division of Ethyl.
The following year, Ethyl acquired Visking, a major producer of polyethylene film for food packaging, subsequently changing the name to VisQueen. However, the prior year (1962) Visking produced the first embossed film for use in baby diapers, announcing a new era for the company in the personal care market.
Ethyl's focus on chemicals, plastics and aluminum intensified when new government regulation restricted and eventually banned the use of Ethyl's lead-based anti-knock compound tetra ethyl in gasoline. By late 1988, Ethyl wanted to focus more on chemicals, which resulted in the creation of a new spin-off company -- Tredegar -- in 1989. Tredegar was named for the Tredegar Iron Works, a famous Civil War era foundry in Richmond, which Albemarle bought in 1957.
Today, Tredegar Corporation is the parent company of Tredegar Film Products Corporation, The William L Bonnell Company, Inc., which focuses on aluminum extrusions, and several other business entities.
Richmond, Virginia skyline
Skyline Richmond, Virginia at James River