The American multinational conglomerate Proctor & Gamble has a history dating back to the company founding in 1837. It was initially the merger of businesses by brothers-in-law William Proctor, a candle maker, and James Gamble, a soap maker.
Proctor & Gamble has been based in Cincinnati, Ohio, throughout its history. It debuted its first branded product, Ivory Soap, in 1883. Billed as the era's purest bar of soap, it was widely and successfully marketed in an massive advertising campaign. The company expanded beyond U.S. borders in 1930 when it purchased Thomas Hedley and Company, a British soap maker. Throughout the mid-20th century, the company continued to expand its lines of products beyond health and hygiene items, producing and marketing goods as diverse as laundry detergent, disposable diapers and pet food.
Additionally, Proctor & Gamble began selling kitchen products in 1911 with the introduction of Crisco, a vegetable-oil-based shortening. In the latter half of the 20th century, the conglomerate purchased brands such as Folgers, Cover Girl, Max Factor and Gillette. As of 2015, the company boasts 83 product brands, 23 of which earn $1 billion or more per year. Overall, the multinational company has revenue of approximately $84 billion and employs more than 121,000 people worldwide.