William C. Procter

From Ohio History Central

William Cooper Procter was born on August 25, 1862, in Glendale, Ohio. He was the grandson of William Procter, who established Procter & Gamble in 1837, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

During the 1880s, William Cooper Procter assisted his father, William Alexander Procter, in Procter & Gamble's operation. Under their control, the company began to market a new product, an inexpensive, yet high quality, soap. The company called the soap "Ivory." In the decades that followed, Procter & Gamble continued to grow and evolve. The company became known for its progressive work environment in the late nineteenth century. William Cooper Procter established a profit-sharing program -- the first in United States history -- for the company's workforce in 1887. He hoped that, by giving the workers a stake in the company, they would be less inclined to go on strike.

In 1907, upon the death of his father, William Cooper Procter became president of Procter & Gamble. Under his leadership, the company began to build factories in other locations in the United States, because the demand for products had outgrown the capacity of the Cincinnati facilities. Procter began to diversify the company's products as well and, in 1911, began producing Crisco, a shortening made of vegetable oils rather than animal fats. In the early 1900s, Procter & Gamble also became known for its research laboratories, where scientists worked to create new products. Procter also pioneered in the area of market research, investigating consumer needs and product appeal. As radio became more popular in the 1920s and 1930s, the company sponsored a number of radio programs. As a result, these shows often became commonly known as "soap operas."

In 1930, William Cooper Procter retired as president of Procter & Gamble. He died on May 2, 1934, in Cincinnati.

See Also