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
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
the parent company of Tredegar Film Products Corporation, The William L Bonnell
Company, Inc., which focuses on aluminum extrusions, and several other business