In 1837, William Procter, a candle maker, and James Gamble, a soap maker, formed the company known as Procter & Gamble. The two men, immigrants from England and Ireland respectively, had settled earlier in Cincinnati and had married sisters. They decided to pool their resources to form their own company.
The company prospered during the nineteenth century. In 1859, sales reached one million dollars. By this point, approximately eighty employees worked for Procter & Gamble. During the Civil War, the company won contracts to supply the Union army with soap and candles. In addition to the increased profits experienced during the war, the military contracts introduced soldiers from all over the country to Procter & Gamble's products. Once the war was over and the men returned home, they continued to purchase the company's products.
In the 1878, Procter & Gamble began to market a new soap product. This new soap was inexpensive but of a high quality. Originally James Gamble wanted to call the soap "P&G White Soap," but eventually the company chose the name "Ivory." This soap became an immediate success. Due to an accident during the production of Ivory, air was mixed into the soap mixture. The air actually made the soap lighter than water, causing it to float. Procter & Gamble marketed Ivory as the "Soap that Floats." In the decades that followed Ivory's development, Procter & Gamble continued to develop new products, but Ivory Soap remains in production today and is, perhaps, the company's most well-known product.