Mead Corporation

The Mead Corporation was founded in Dayton in 1846, by Colonel Daniel Mead and his partners. Originally named Ellis, Chafflin & Company, the paper company went through a series of buyouts and reorganizations over the next several years, until the Mead Paper Company was established in 1882.

  • 1856 – Mead bought out his original partners and formed Weston and Mead.
  • 1860 – Weston and Mead became Mead and Weston.
  • 1866 – Mead and Weston became Mead and Nixon.
  • 1873 – Mead and Nixon became the Mead & Nixon Paper Company.
  • 1881 – Mead bought out Nixon, and established the Mead Paper Company in 1882.

By the time Daniel Mead died in 1891, the Mead Corporation was one of the largest paper producers in the country, with paper mills in Tennessee, Georgia, and Michigan, as well as the several plant locations in Ohio.

As the Mead Corporation grew, so did the types or products they offered:

  • iron castings and rubber products, by way of the acquisition of the Woodward Company in 1968
  • a pipe valve fittings and electric supply, by way of the acquisition of Gulf Consolidated Services in 1977.

Two of the more interesting acquisitions made by Mead are the Atlanta Paper Company in 1957, and the Data Corporation in 1968.

The purchase of the Atlanta Paper Company in 1957 led Mead into the packaging market and to the eventual introduction of Mead’s packaging division, which then invented the iconic six-pack paperboard carrier for bottled beverages. The Mead packaging division became the largest supplier of beverage packaging in the world.

In 1968, Mead acquired Data Corporation – a company that specialized in electronic record-keeping – and renamed it Mead Data Central. Although Mead was originally interested in the inkjet printing system Data had developed, their focus soon fell on an “information retrieval product” that was in development, and therefore Mead Data Central launched the LEXIS legal research system in 1973. In December 1994, Mead sold the LexisNexis system to Reed Elsevier for $1.5 billion. LexisNexis still operates in Miamisburg as of today.

The Mead Corporation is currently known as WestRock, and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.

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