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Amway Forever: The Amazing Story of a Global Business Phenomenon by Kathryn A. Jones

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Chapter 9

Clash of the Soap Titans

In 1837 two immigrants, William Procter and James Gamble, formed a business to make candles and soap. Like Amway’s founding families, Procter and Gamble had emigrated from Europe to the United States to escape poverty and seek new opportunities. Procter left London after his woolens shop burned, and Gamble’s family fled famine in Ireland. Both men ended up in Cincinnati, Ohio, nicknamed the “Porkopolis” for its hog-butchering industry. They had married sisters, and their mutual father-in-law convinced them to go into business together. Animal fat and wood ashes produced lye, a raw material used to make both soap and candles. Thus a new partnership, Procter & Gamble, was born. During the Civil War, Procter & Gamble received several contracts to supply candles and soap to soldiers in the Union Army.1

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