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A History of Solomon Colors

2/28/2017

2017 signifies the 90th anniversary of Solomon Colors. For four generations, Solomon Colors has been proudly serving customers, providing the highest quality materials and products. Read on for a brief overview of the company’s history.

Like all great histories, the real story begins before the company was founded in 1927. In 1862, Abraham Lincoln is president and the Second Battle of Bull Run is fought. It was also the year Robert Christopher starts working in a Central Illinois coal mine at the age of 16. Within 12 years, he became the stockholder in the newly opened Co-Operative Mining Company in Springfield, Illinois.

By the turn of the century, Robert Christopher Solomon’s sons, including Robert. C Solomon Jr, had joined him in the mining business. The Solomon family got its first taste of the pigment industry when George W. Solomon helps found the George W. Smith Chemical Works in 1922. This is also the year actress Betty White is born and the United States Navy launches its first aircraft carrier.

In 1927, Robert C. Solomon and his brothers found Solomon Grinding Service. Solomon Grinding Service (ever wonder where the SGS logo comes from?) helped the family increase profits from the mines by pulverizing and selling coal mining byproducts. The company also processed minerals from other sources that were largely sold to the George B. Smith Chemical Works. In the same year, Charles Lindbergh makes his fabled transatlantic flight.

Business continued as normal for Solomon Grinding Service. The company continued to process ore and minerals for various industries and purposes. In 1944, the company’s original plant burnt down, forcing Solomon to relocate to Springfield’s former waterworks and power plant. That is where the company headquarters and primary facility still resides – albeit in a highly upgraded state.

1952 signified and end of an era for the company, the Solomon family, and the Springfield area. Panther Creek Mine #5, owned by Robert C. Solomon Jr. and the last operational coal mine in Springfield, Illinois, closes. Despite this, Solomon Grinding Service continues operations, processing a variety of minerals and ores for diverse industries and applications.

Solomon Grinding Service experiences its most significant shift since its founding in 1972 when the company introduces SGS Mortar and Concrete colors. This is the first time the company self-brands its products and sells directly to the construction industry. To finance the new equipment, packaging, and marketing materials for this transition, Bob Solomon – son of Robert C. Jr – sells his home. At this same time, The Godfather premiers and the last manned trip to the moon is completed.

The modern era of concrete coloring is launched when Solomon Grinding Service develops and introduces ColorFlo liquid color in 1986. The pigment has the highest solids of any pigment in the concrete industry – a distinction it holds to this day. Throughout the 1990s, Solomon continues to introduce new coloring products for colored and stamped concrete. This includes the introduction of concrete stamps and textures in 1997.

In 1998, the ColorSelect automated dispensing system for ready mix and manufactured concrete products applications is introduced. This makes fast and accurate dispensing of pigment easier than ever. The ColorSelect systems continued to develop with the introduction of PC controls in 2000 and the second generation systems in 2003.

Solomon Grinding Service sells the custom grinding operations in 2002. This was part of a shift to focus on producing pigments for the concrete industry. This shift was supported by the opening of a liquid color manufacturing facility in Rialto, CA and changing the company name to Solomon Colors.

Solomon Colors expands more firmly into the decorative concrete market by establishing Legacy Decorative Concrete Systems in 2006 and acquiring Brickform in 2008. To further support quality decorative concrete, Solomon Colors also begins representing UltraFiber 500 in 2009, later acquiring it in 2014. Lythic Solution was also acquired in 2015.

ColorFlo SG Granular pigment is introduced in 2010. The QuickColor Granular System was introduced three years later in 2013. This allowed prepackaged color to be sold without requiring retailers to maintain large stocks of prepackaged dry or liquid color.

In 2016 and 2017, Solomon Colors has invested heavily in upgraded and improved facilities. A new facility in Rialto, CA helps better serve customers nation- and worldwide. State of the art sealer and granular pigment manufacturing plants in Springfield will provide customers the highest quality sealers and granular pigment. New development also include the Brickform StampApp and MyConcreteContractor.com.

 

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