Select a country to shop in:

North America

South America

Asia/Pacific

Detailed Information & Other Countries

Remember my country selection and make that my default destination when visiting vwr.com.

History

With more than 160 years of history, VWR International, LLC has weathered all types of storms – literally – from floods, fires and earthquakes to mergers, acquisitions and name changes.

And in many ways, the early days of VWR and its predecessors closely resemble the present-day VWR – our various incarnations have added many talented individuals and successful organizations to our story over the years. Here is a brief look back at the people and events that have shaped our rich history.

*VWR International, LLC is the holding company for all VWR operating entities throughout the world.

2014

VWR completed a successful IPO and completed the process of integrating its remaining geographies into the global web platform.

2012

VWR transitions its enterprise system to SAP in North America, with the goal of improving core operation processes, using this widely-accepted, proven technology to enhance both the supplier and customer experiences. VWR opened its largest distribution center in the world in Visalia, CA, at 500,000 square feet.

2011

VWR launched a new website in Canada and the U.S. to create a global web platform and consistent experience for customers anywhere in the world.

2010

VWR opened its new global headquarters in Radnor, Pennsylvania. Also this year, VWR opened a 74,000 square foot Regional Distribution Center in Singapore.

2009

The VWR Charitable Foundation was established to provide grants to non-profits aligned with its mission of research, health and well-being and science education.

2007

VWR was acquired by Madison Dearborn Partners, LLC (MDP), a private equity firm based in Chicago, IL. MDP’s global holdings, and experience in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East complemented VWR sourcing and customer service goals.

2006

To better serve the needs of the rapidly-expanding pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, VWR established a full-service, wholly-owned subsidiary in Bangalore, India.

2004

Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) acquired VWR from Merck KGaA. CD&R helped to grow businesses and take VWR to the next level, expanded its business in Europe and into new areas such as Asia.

2000

The then-named VWR Scientific Products Corporation became VWR International, Inc.

1993

VWR became the sole distributor of laboratory chemicals and related products for BDH Ltd. of Canada, a Merck KGaA company. The relationship grew the following year when VWR and Bender & Hobein, another Merck KGaA company, joined forces.

1989

VWR Corporation made the decision to focus solely on the distribution of laboratory supplies and equipment and relocated its headquarters to the Philadelphia area. The company purchased Sargent-Welch which became VWR’s 100% science education supply business.

1988

VWR Corporation was structured into five divisions:

  1. VWR Scientific
  2. VWR Graphics
  3. VWR Textiles & Supplies
  4. Momentum Textiles
  5. Acacia/VWR Electronics
1986

Univar Corporation restructured into two companies: the existing Univar Corporation and the newly formed VWR Corporation. VWR Corporation would own and operate the non-chemical distribution business.

1976

The company continued to expand through acquisitions with the goal of becoming a national distributor. Most important was the acquisition of McArthur Chemical, establishing Univar as a major distributor throughout Canada.

1974

The new name, Univar, was adopted.

1966

Van Waters & Rogers, Inc. and United Pacific Corporation combined to become VWR United Corporation.

1965

Van Water & Rogers, Inc. was operating 31 plants at 22 locations west of the Mississippi River and was organized into five distinct businesses:

  • Industrial Chemicals
  • Scientific Supplies and Apparatus
  • Laundry Supplies
  • Agricultural Supplies
  • Upholstery Supply
  • Natural Fibers
1956

The company strategy was simple: acquire rather than be acquired. By the end of the decade, Van Waters & Rogers had locations in 11 western states, Texas and western Canada and sales climbed from $18 million to more than $80 million.

1953

Combining the histories of these companies, Van Waters & Rogers purchased Braun Chemical Company, formally known as F.W. Braun Corporation.

1950

By the end of the war, Heimann retired and sold his company to George Van Waters and Nat Rogers.

1939

Heimann outlived both Braun and Knecht and was able to successfully navigate B-K-H through World War II and a changing economy.

1920

B-K-H expanded the company’s product offering to include scientific equipment and items relating to oil refinery laboratories.

1908

Frederick W. Braun severed his ties with the F.W. Braun Corporation and merged forces with Gustav Knecht and Richard Heimann to form Braun-Knecht-Heimann (B-K-H).

1906

The F.W. Braun Corporation withstood the Great Earthquake of San Francisco, even though this event destroyed nearly its entire San Francisco branch’s inventory.

1901

Taylor retired and sold his company to Frederick W. Braun. Los Angeles-based F.W. Braun Corporation was a supplier to the mining, assay and laboratory markets, adding modern laboratory supplies as well as industrial chemicals to the company’s offerings.

1899

The 7th edition catalog was published. Now 260 pages, the catalog was a testament to how quickly the business grew.

1883

The first 'real' John Taylor Company catalog was issues and included 116 pages of apparatus and 11 pages of chemicals.

1865

The first catalog of sorts was issued, an 8 page bulletin devoted to current silver and gold values with the back page listing Taylor’s available stock.

1856

Taylor’s business continued to expand and more products were added as various industries thrived in California.

1852

John Taylor discovered a profitable venture – selling products to serve the mining and laboratory markets – and started the John Taylor Company.

1849

The dream started with John Taylor who began his journey from New York to Sacramento, California in the pursuit of gold.

Top

Welcome to VWR's new corporate website!

Browse our site to learn more about our people, products and business. Or, click "Shop VWR Globally" in the upper right hand corner to select your country site and begin shopping.

Continue browsing VWR.com