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Norton Company 1885 and TodayIn the United States of America and Canada, Saint-Gobain Abrasives' roots date all the way back to 1885 when seven Worcester entrepreneurs bought the patent for a grinding wheel from Frank Norton. Mr. Norton was the owner of the Water Street Pottery Shop where the formula for the wheels had been invented for help in the production of pottery art. Not only did they purchase the patent, but they also bought his company name. And, Norton Company was born.

The founders purchased land in the city’s Greendale section, which was then farmland, and built their first grinding wheel plant. The Norton brand has occupied that land ever since.

The tiny start-up company grew rapidly. As it grew, it diversified into other industrial products and became a major multinational corporation for Abrasives manufacturing. As Norton celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1985, they also acquired Canada-based Carborundum Abrasives (formerly Canada Sandpapers) and built their research center in Northboro, MA. Acquisition of US-based Carborundum Abrasives was quick to follow in 1986. The Carborundum Abrasives brand is still well-known for its focused range of stock products for Industrial and Collision Repair applications.

In 1990, Norton was acquired by Saint-Gobain, one of the world’s largest industrial companies, which continues to invest in the growth of the abrasives business. This includes the acquisition of Ernst Winter Abrasives in 1996, the world’s leading brand for delivering highest performance diamond and CBN tools for all precision grinding applications, and the expansion of Norton’s research center in Northboro, MA into the Northboro Research & Development Center (NRDC), which is now Saint-Gobain’s largest research center in the world.

Today, Saint-Gobain Abrasives employs 2,200 employees across 8 manufacturing facilities in the United States and Canada and the NRDC. While many things continue to change and expand, the deep history of the Abrasives business is still headquartered in the Greendale area of Worcester, MA, exactly where the founders started the company over 130 years ago.