1920s - 1940s

1926: Thomas Swan & Co Ltd is founded in Crookhall, six years after Tommy Swan sets up a mixing plant at the Crookhall Works in Consett.

1945: Bitumen, rather than tar, macadam becomes increasingly prevalent after World War 2, but has inherent problems as it is not as adhesive.

1947: Robert Douglas Swan, Tommy’s son, marries the daughter of an American associated with the development of Nostrip, a wetting agent which solves the adhesion problem. Thomas Swan acquire the licence to produce their own version, Wetfix – for their own macadam, other manufacturers and bitumen suppliers like Shell Oil UK.


1960: The Wetfix chemistry leads to the development of synthetic waxes, curing agents for epoxy resins and Slurry Seal – a specialist sealing material for aircraft runways and other surfaces. Alkyl imidazolines and Casamids introduced.

1962: Robert Douglas Swan takes control of the family business. ‘Tommy’ retires in 1966.

1968: Tom Swan, grandson of the founder, joins from Dow Chemicals. The company emerges as a chemical company focusing on performance chemicals, fine chemicals, contract manufacture and technology licensing.


1970: The late 1960s and early 1970s saw the development of a range of unique water dispersible epoxy curing agents with world wide applications. This technology was sold to Air Products (USA)

1976: Tom Swan takes control of the business. He has been largely responsible for its modernisation and diversification into new and innovative technologies. Toll manufacturing is introduced.

1980s - 1990s

1980: Powder compositions begin to evolve as the new ‘green’ technology for coating metal, reducing the use of wasteful and harmful solvents. Thomas Swan enter this market in the early 80s. Since then, products such as Casamids 1416, 1457, OTB and 2228 have been introduced.

1985: Statue of Liberty refurbishment uses Thomas Swan epoxy curing agent Casamid 360.

1990: Semi conductor research equipment products like Epitor, Epifold and Epison become world leaders as innovative semi conductors are used in many areas of electronics. Ink Resins, Casabond rubber adhesion and Pepton rubber peptising agents introduced.


2000: Thomas Swan becomes the first company in the world to gain external verification of its Responsible Care Management system.

2001: 75th Anniversary sees New offices opened, and named a ‘Top 20 World innovator’ by leading American Chemical publication.

2002: Thomas Swan wins Chemical Industries Association 'Responsible Care' Award.

2003: Thomas Swan wins Chemical Industries Association 'Responsible Care' Award.

2004: Carbon Nanomaterials Business launched, with a plant at Consett designed with the University of Cambridge. The company become the first in the UK to manufacture commercial quantities of single-wall carbon nanotubes for use in a wide range of academic and industrial applications.

2006: Harry Swan, great grandson of Tommy Swan, becomes Managing Director.


2015: Swan Chemical Announces Acquisition of Production Systems Inc. A North American distributor of a broad range of products to the rubber industry.

2016: Thomas Swan celebrate their 90th anniversary.

2018: Tom Swan, OBE passes away.

2018: Thomas Swan awarded Gold standard by Ecovadis.

2019: Company embarks on major investment in its plant and facilities.

2019: Thomas Swan announce they will work towards becoming carbon net zero by 2030.

The Future

From 1926 right through to this day we maintain the flexibility of an independent, family-run business despite our growing presence in the UK and international chemicals markets.Thomas Swan continue to go from strength-to-strength, as we build upon our position as a major supplier to the global chemicals market through excellence in service and product quality - and a commitment to innovation.


Find out more about our sustainable practices and how we are creating energy from waste.

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