James Gamble (1803-1891)
Procter & Gamble is an American multinational company with its headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, and it manufactures a wide range of consumer goods. In 1946 the company introduced a new detergent called Tide and in 1955 it began selling Crest, the first toothpaste to contain fluoride. Another innovation came in 1961 when it began to test-market Pampers, the first successful disposable nappies.
The founders of the company were William Procter, an Englishman, and James Gamble, an Ulsterman, who was born at the Graan, near Enniskillen, on 3 April 1803. He was educated at Portora Royal School and then emigrated from Ulster to America with his parents in 1819.
The Gamble family settled in Cincinnati and James was apprenticed as a soapmaker. He attended Kenyon College and after graduating in 1824 he went into business on his own as a soapmaker.
James married Elizabeth Norris and when William Procter, a candlemaker, married her sister, Olivia Norris, their father-in-law suggested that the two men go into business together. The firm of Procter & Gamble was formed on 31 October 1837 and by 1859 their annual sales had reached $1m.
During the Civil War the company supplied the Union Army with soap and candles and this introduced the company's name and products to men from all over the United States. James Gamble died on 29 April 1891 and was buried in Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati.
His eldest son James Norris Gamble (1836-1932) worked as a chemist in the company and he is credited with accidentally inventing a floating soap, Ivory Soap, which was the company's first really successful product.