History of 3M Elyria
3M Elyria began as Nylonge Company in 1951, a subsidiary of a large, multi-national rayon company. Nylonge was started by a Czechoslovakian immigrant named Alfred Politzer who was determined to produce and market colored rayon hosiery. After failing to successfully persuade cosmetic companies that women would be interested in colored hosiery, an idea that was deemed too radical for its time, Politzer settled on sponges as an alternative business venture.
Twenty years prior to Politzer and his sponge factory, French scientists invented and attempted to sell cellulose sponges. However, their invention lacked consumer appeal. Politzer’s success was due to three factors. First, he decided to package the sponges in little baggies that were labeled “re-usable”--appealing to the conscientious consumer. The baggies retained the sponge’s moisture and made them soft to the touch. Second, he added colorful pigments to make the sponges aesthetically pleasing. Third, he decided to sell and market his product in grocery stores as opposed to the hardware stores where they were commonly available.
The company grew and prospered through the 1950’s and 1960’s. By 1970, the success of Nylonge attracted the interest of Kimberly Clark. Kimberly Clark decided to purchase Nylonge for its technological developments. Politzer agreed to sell and the company transitioned to its new ownership.
By the late 1970’s, Kimberly Clark lost interest in the Nylonge technology. A few of the Nylonge employees approached the company and made an offer to purchase the business. Kimberly Clark agreed and the business transferred to its new ownership in 1978.
The new owners successfully managed the company through the 1980’s. By 1989, the manufacturing facility where Nylonge operated was determined to be inadequate for future growth. The company management decided to invest in a world-class sponge-making manufacturing plant.
In 1992 the current facility was complete in Elyria, Ohio. The building was initially 120,000 square feet and has since doubled in size.
In October 2006, 3M purchased Nylonge. The 3M Elyria facility includes sponge cloth-making, sponge and scrub sponge manufacturing and block-making capabilities.
Since the acquisition, 3M has invested in infrastructure and operating improvements. The site is looking forward to the increased opportunities through 3M ownership.