A Look into Pecora’s 160-Year History


This year, we are extremely proud to celebrate the 160th anniversary of Pecora Corporation. As one of the oldest and leading manufacturers of adhesive, sealant, and weatherproofing solutions, Pecora has long been recognized for developing products of unparalleled quality for building construction and maintenance. Proof of this accomplishment lies within the architects, distributors, and contractors who specify, sell, and apply Pecora products in projects all over the world. These professionals rely on Pecora to supply products that will help protect the building’s integrity and maintain their most valuable asset – their reputation. For our second blog post of April 2022, we would like to take a look at the last 160 years of service and highlight some of the major world events Pecora has seen, survived, and thrived through.

By always maintaining a customer-focused strategy and the highest degree of business ethics, Pecora has been able to keep a close rein on operations and watchful eye on the developments of the industry. As a result, we continue to provide customers with the utmost professional and friendly services they have grown accustomed to.

In 1862, in the midst of the Civil War, Smith Bowen and two others founded the Pecora White Lead, Zinc, and Color Company. Located on 150 North 4th Street in Philadelphia, PA, the business was conducted from this small, dark, gaslit, brick building just a few blocks from Philadelphia’s busy waterfront. These three men mixed paint in large vats with their shirtsleeves held by garters. When mixing was done for the day, they put on their porkpie and bowler hats, wing collars, vests and frock coats, and hit the streets as Pecora salesmen.

Within three decades of its founding, Pecora became the major supplied of mixed paints, tinted leads, paint primers, varnishes, oils, and putties. Demand for Pecora products steadily increased and the company outgrew its original space. By 1891, the company grew into a new larger facility in Northern Philadelphia. With the new manufacturing facility, the company could easily and competitively supply its customers.

By 1911, America’s population, geography, and economy were all exponentially growing. Because of this, Pecora’s volume of product traffic also began increasing so rapidly the organization made the decision to become incorporated as the Pecora Paint Company (a major decision in those days).

The next forty years saw many important historical events speed by – World War I, The Roaring Twenties, The Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War. Through all of this, Pecora thrived and intensified their research program for new product advancements. Many new materials were explored, tested, developed, and marketed for the ever-changing construction industry.

Eventually, Pecora once again outgrew its manufacturing space. The Northern Philadelphia building was now ‘again’ far too insufficient to meet customer and product demand. Thus, in 1954 the company expanded facilities on the property to provide more square footage for manufacturing equipment, raw material storage and finished goods, warehousing, and shipping.

Soon after, the marketing of Pecora products began to change. Sealants and adhesives became the leading products while paint slipped from dominance. Therefore, in 1957, Pecora dropped the word “Paint” from its corporate name and became simply, Pecora, Inc. Precast concrete, curtainwall and other new building systems began to mold the country’s building program for high-rise apartment and office buildings. Sealants and adhesives began to play an increasingly important role in the fundamental building and protection of these new structures. Pecora continued to supply the innovative products needed to meet the demands of these new construction materials.  

In 1958, Pecora opened a new ultra-modern manufacturing facility in Garland, TX. This location would allow Pecora to supply more than a hundred products to thousands of customers throughout the world. The facility was an immediate success and steadily continued to increase its production capabilities and sales volume.

By 1966, Pecora determined Pecora, Inc. no longer properly identified the company. The rapid expansion of the company’s research facilities and the accelerated development of chemically formulated Pecora products for the construction industry, brought about a need for a more definite corporate identity. Thus, the name Pecora Chemical Corporation came into being and the company took on a whole new corporate image. Pecora also expanded offices again into the Southeastern U.S. with the opening of a sales/warehouse facility in Atlanta, GA.

Eventually, Pecora outgrew the Northern Philadelphia location and needed to move to a much larger facility. In 1970, the company broke ground on its current location 165 Wambold Rd, Harleysville, PA. Four years later, Pecora made the move from Philadelphia to Harleysville and opened its doors.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Pecora makes impressive strides in the manufacturing of weatherproofing products for the construction industry. During this time, the company introduces silicone sealant to the product line which ultimately becomes the flagship product. In 2004, the current president, Joe Virdone joins the team. Under Joe, the company expands its product offerings as well as consolidates buildings with the closing of the Garland, TX plant. In 2009, Pecora introduces OEM solutions with Thermal Barrier Silicones, silicone narrow joint sealers, and the releases the industry’s first and only complete line of Non-Staining Technology Silicone Sealants (NST).

That same year, to accommodate the storing of all these new products, a nearby finished goods warehouse is opened in Hatfield, PA. A few years later in 2012, Pecora acquired Carlisle Coatings & Waterproofing deck coating line, opening up new doors for company expansion and product diversification. Again, in 2014 Pecora introduced XL-Perm, Air Vapor, and Water-Resistant Barrier System. With the addition of this new product, the company was now focused on marketing these three major product lines – Sealants, Traffic Coatings, and Fluid-Applied Air Barriers.

The future of Pecora is bright, especially if it is to be judged by our past performance. New markets and products are being investigated, and new manufacturing procedures and equipment are being researched. Pecora Corporation will always stand by the notion that quality products and exceptional customer service are the pillars of our success. It is this belief that has allowed us to provide products to the construction industry for 160 years. We want to thank all of those who have worked with and for Pecora as well as those who have purchased and continue to purchase. Our customers and employees are the lifeline of this organization. Here’s to another 160 years!

Check out our website and social media platforms for photos and stories throughout the year.

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