Inventing & Investing Since 1953
United Paint was founded in 1953 by a John Gabriel Piceu, a coatings chemist from Willy’s Overland Jeep Company. The company initially produced architectural and artist paints out of a small shop near Detroit, Michigan. Due to a friendship and collaboration with the creator of the iconic “Paint by Number” kits, United Paint produced the paint for the kits and for a short period of time became the largest artist paint producer in the world. As business prospered, the company opened its first R&D laboratory and in doing so forged a commitment to development and innovation that would become a large part of its legacy.
By 1961, United was awarded its first patent. Ionoklad, as it was trade named, was the world’s first zinc-rich welding primer. In addition to a number of new markets, Ionoklad introduced United Paint to the automotive industry and ultimately to Chrysler Corporation. At the time, a division of Chrysler named Trenton Chemical developed and manufactured many of its own coatings – including those for plastic and other synthetic substrates. In 1980, United Paint purchased Trenton Chemical. Many of United Paint’s current products have roots that can be traced back to those provided by the Trenton acquisition.
Over the nearly 50 years that have followed, the team at United have maintained their passion for product innovation. In addition, they have developed an entrepreneurial spirit that has resulted in more than two dozen other M&A transactions. The business remains family-held, independent and headquartered near its founding location.