Calgon Carbon and Chemviron History

When the United States entered World War II, coconut shells were the raw material used to produce granular activated carbon, the filtering agent in military gas masks. Faced with a shortage of this crucial war material, the government asked Pittsburgh Coke and Chemical to develop a substitute from a native material. In 1942, the Company produced an activated carbon product using bituminous coal, and that was the beginning of the firm now known as Calgon Carbon Corporation.

Throughout history, Calgon Carbon and Chemviron have been a pioneer in creating new activated carbon products, systems and services from the infancy stages to the current global industry. The Company currently offers carbon technologies used in over 700 distinct market applications from purifying air and drinking water, to purifying foods and pharmaceuticals, to separating gas and removing mercury emissions from coal-powered electrical facilities. As a leader in the activated carbon industry and with ultraviolet light disinfection and oxidation expertise, Calgon Carbon Corporation has originated cutting-edge purification systems for drinking water, wastewater, odor control, pollution abatement, and a variety of industrial and commercial manufacturing processes.


Over 20 years ago, Calgon Carbon introduced an advanced UV oxidation process to remediate contaminated groundwater. In 1998, we followed that up with the first radical breakthrough in the treatment of drinking water in decades, when our scientists invented a process that could be used to inactivate Cryptosporidium and other similar pathogens in surface water, rendering them harmless to humans. This inventive process placed Calgon Carbon on the leading edge of UV disinfection technology. With the Sentinel® line for drinking water, the C3 Series™ for wastewater, and the Rayox®line for groundwater and process water, Calgon Carbon continues to lead the marketplace with innovative UV technologies.

From the use of granular activated carbon (GAC) for taste and odor removal in the early 1960’s, to the development of ultraviolet light technology for pathogen control in the late 1990’s, to the application of ion exchange technology for removing perchlorates starting in 2000, Calgon Carbon continues to be a pioneer in making water safer and cleaner.

A Tradition of Innovation

  • 1942

    Pittsburgh Coke & Chemical Company, Inc. pioneers the development of coal-based granular activated carbon for use in military protection.

  • 1955

    The "Pittsburgh Pulse Bed" system is introduced – the first activated carbon system for sugar decolorization.

  • 1960

    The Activated Carbon Division of Pittsburgh Coke and Chemical pioneers the use of granular activated carbon in drinking water treatment.

  • 1962

    The Activated Carbon Division reaches a major milestone when 40,000 pounds of bituminous coal-based granular activated carbon is installed for the Virginia-American Water Co., a subsidiary of the American Water Works Service Company, setting a new benchmark for drinking water quality.

  • 1965

    Pittsburgh Activated Carbon Company (formerly Pittsburgh Coke & Chemical) is acquired by Calgon Corporation.

  • 1967

    Calgon Corporation is reorganized into six autonomous divisions, including the Pittsburgh Activated Carbon Company, responsible for its own marketing and manufacturing.

  • 1968

    Calgon Corporation acquired by Merck and Co., Inc.

  • 1970

    Chemviron, S.A, headquartered in Brussels, is established to market water pollution control systems, products and engineering services in Europe.

  • 1978

    A joint venture is formed with Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. and Mitsui & Co., Ltd.

  • 1985

    Calgon Carbon, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Merck and Co., Inc., is acquired by its management through a leveraged buyout.

  • 1987

    Calgon Carbon completes initial public offering of common stock.

  • 1991

    Calgon Carbon is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), trading under the symbol CCC.

  • 1993

    In the U.K., Thames Water Utilities, Ltd., grants Calgon Carbon exclusive rights to market its new Sandwich Filter technology for the removal of pesticides and other organic compounds from drinking water.

  • 1996

    Calgon Carbon acquires the perox-pure business operations of Vulcan Peroxidation Systems, Inc., (Tucson, Arizona), and Solarchem Enterprises, Inc., (Toronto, Ontario, Canada). Calgon Carbon also acquires Advanced Separation Technologies Incorporated™ (Lakeland, Florida) and Charcoal Cloth (International) Ltd., a British manufacturer of activated carbon in cloth form.

  • 1997

    Singapore-based marketing subsidiary Calgon Carbon Asia is formed, serving customers in Korea, Taiwan, the People's Republic of China, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand and India.

  • 1998

    Calgon Carbon launches two distinct products: Sentinel® ultraviolet (UV) disinfection system for the inactivation of Cryptosporidium and ISEP® continuous ion exchange system for perchlorate removal.

  • 2002

    french Calgon Carbon Corporation expands in Asia, starting up a manufacturing plant in China and forming a joint venture with Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation of Tokyo, Japan to produce and sell activated carbon and related services throughout Japan.

  • 2004

    The company acquires Waterlink Specialty Products, known as Barnebey Sutcliffe in the United States, and Sutcliffe Speakman in Europe, to enhance capabilities in carbon reactivation, impregnation and on-site services.

  • 2005

    Calgon Carbon Corporation and C. Gigantic Carbon (Gigantic) form a joint-venture company to provide carbon reactivation services to the Thailand market. The new company, Calgon Carbon (Thailand) Ltd. begins operation.

  • 2007

    First contract for FLUEPAC® powdered activated carbon for treatment of mercury in flue gas streams from coal-fired electric power plant is signed and secured.

  • 2009

    The company unveils a new corporate logo, re-positioning the former logo’s distinctive "ellipse" shape into a forward-moving direction to symbolize the company’s anticipated long-term growth.

  • 2010

    Calgon Carbon acquires two companies: the firm Zwicky Denmark and Sweden, service providers and long-term distributors of Chemivron Carbon’s activated carbon products; and purchases the outstanding stock of Hyde Marine Inc., a manufacturer of systems that utilize filters and UV technology to treat marine ballast water. Calgon Carbon’s Blue Lake, California plant is the first in the U.S. to receive certification from NSF International under NSF/ANSI Standard 61: Drinking Water System Components

  • 2011

    The acquisition of Calgon Carbon Japan KK (CCJ), the former joint venture between Calgon Carbon Corporation and Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation is completed. Additionally, the company announces that the City Council of Phoenix, Arizona has selected Calgon Carbon to negotiate a contract to provide reactivation services for a ten-year period, and also includes the construction of a reactivation facility in Maricopa County, Arizona.

  • 2012

    Calgon Carbon’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, John S. Stanik, retires. Randy Dearth is appointed president and chief executive officer.

  • 2014

    Randy Dearth assumes the position of Chairman of the Board.

  • 2016

    Acquisition of CECA Wood Powder Activated Carbon and Filter Aids activities.