M. A. Hanna Company History

1301 E. 9th Street
Suite 3600
Cleveland, Ohio 44114-1860

Telephone: (216) 589-4000
Fax: (216) 589-4109

Public Company
Incorporated: 1923
Employees: 6,400
Sales: $1.33 billion
Stock Exchanges: New York Midwest
SICs: 2821 Plastics Materials & Resins; 2891 Adhesives & Sealants; 3087 Custom Compounding of Purchased Plastics Resins; 2952 Asphalt Felts and Coatings; 3069 Fabricated Rubber Products, Nec; 2865 Cyclic Organic Crudes and Intermediates and Organic Dyes and Pigments; 5162 Plastic Materials and Basic Forms and Shapes; 1011 Iron Ores

Company History:

The M. A. Hanna Company is one of the world's top 20 specialty chemicals companies. In the mid-1980s the company transformed itself from a world-class mining company to an influential specialty chemicals conglomerate. Hanna manufactures, augments, and markets plastic and rubber compounds, color and additive concentrates for the plastics industry, and plastic resins and engineered plastic shapes. Hanna also produces specialty polymer products for the printing, textile, construction, and automotive industries. The company ranks among Fortune magazine's list of America's 500 largest companies, with 36 manufacturing facilities and 169 distribution outlets throughout the world. Throughout the 1990s Hanna hoped to "build a focused specialty chemicals company capable of delivering superior growth and a premium stock valuation," according to a revised mission statement.

Company namesake Marcus Alonzo Hanna was born in 1837 on his parents' Lisbon, Ohio, farm. His father, Dr. Leonard Hanna, moved to Cleveland in 1852 after competition from railroads undermined the family investment in a canal project. After trying a grocery business, Dr. Hanna joined with his brother Robert and another investor in a copper and iron trading venture in the late 1850s. The partners soon expanded operations to include coal mining.

When young "Mark" was expelled from Western Reserve College for distributing a risque flyer at a student event, he went to work for his father as a warehouse clerk. Mark worked as a deckhand and purser on his father's Great Lakes ships, then joined the Union Army in the Civil War. Dr. Hanna died in 1862 after a long illness, and his minerals trading firm dissolved. At war's end, Hanna began a courtship with Charlotte Rhodes that launched the company that would keep his name long after it passed from his family's hands.

Hanna's future father-in-law, Daniel P. Rhodes, was a rigid Democrat who initially opposed his daughter's involvement with Hanna, an active Republican. But when Rhodes' son left Rhodes & Co. and Hanna made some ill-fated investments, Hanna joined his father-in-law's pig iron and iron ore business. Hanna aggressively acquired more mines and diversified Rhodes & Co. into lake steamers, docks, warehouses, and shipbuilding. His entry into Rhodes & Co. coincided with a dramatic expansion of the Midwest's commercial and industrial influence. The company stimulated this growth at its very

Further Reading:

  • Gerdel, Thomas W., "Hanna's Last Iron Mine in U.S. to Shut," Cleveland Plain Dealer, May 14, 1985, p. 1E.
  • Gleisser, Marcus, "'60s Caught Hanna in Debate about U.S. Nickel Contracts," Cleveland Plain Dealer, October 8, 1984, p. 14E.
  • Gleisser, "Hanna Family in High and Low Society," Cleveland Plain Dealer, October 9, 1984, p. 14E.
  • Gleisser, "Hanna Has Come Long Way, Marcus," Cleveland Plain Dealer, October 8, 1984, p. 14E.
  • Gleisser, "Hanna Mining Seeks Revival of Old Name," Cleveland Plain Dealer, March 21, 1985, pp. 1C, 2C.
  • Gleisser, "Last Humphrey Leaves Hanna," Cleveland Plain Dealer, September 22, 1984, p. 3B.
  • Gleisser, "Takeover Attempt Tangled Affair," Cleveland Plain Dealer, October 10, 1984, p. 5B.
  • McConville, Daniel J., "M. A. Hanna Prepares for Better Days," Chemical Week, June 19, 1991, pp. 25-26.
  • McGough, Robert, "High Iron," Financial World, April 11, 1992, pp. 26-27.
  • Rose, William Ganson, Cleveland: The Making of a City, Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1990.

Source: International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 8. St. James Press, 1994.