A History of Leadership

Today, few companies can brag about being in business for more than a century. While our logo has changed over the years, our quality services and values have remained the same. Our history of being privately held and employee-owned has created the entrepreneurial spirit that has allowed us to be completely dedicated to our customers and suppliers for generations.

Muehlstein has continued to expand and grow in size since Herman Muehlstein founded the company in 1911 New York. Over the next few decades, Muehlstein became a leader of the rubber trading industry. This position became clear when they were appointed the U.S. Government’s collection agent for rubber reclamation during World War II.

In the years following the war, Muehlstein became one of the earliest entrants into the plastics industry. The rapid growth of plastics in the 1960s and ‘70s fueled company growth and allowed international expansion, opening offices in Toronto, Montreal, Hamburg, London and trading operations in Singapore. During that time, Herman Muehlstein retired and left his company shares to the Muehlstein employees in order to ensure continued success through the people that were responsible for it.

Muehlstein’s global network and reputation for integrity was spotted by Mobil as a way to build a reliable sales and marketing team quickly and proficiently. Mobil purchased Muehlstein in 1980, combining Muehlstein’s expertise and Mobil’s resources thus undergoing significant international market growth. Muehlstein operations were then renamed Mobil Polymers International, which grew into European and Asian sales offices and the successful entrance into the Latin America market.

In the 1990s, the newly established sales offices in Mexico, Central and South America created a vast amount of growth. From that moment on, all operations outside of the Americas would become Pegasus Polymers. These new implementations were so effective that we completed a buyback of Muehlstein from Mobil in 1996.

Our continued success over the last century is a result of our commitment to consistently bring superior value to suppliers and customers. We do so by being easy to do business with, delivering what we promise and always trying to find a better way. Muehlstein has consistently been able to remain profitable throughout our history, in times of war, economic downturn and would be competition.

By 1960, the split between plastics and rubber had changed dramatically, with plastics accounting for 60 percent of the Muehlstein business.

Groundbreaking deals with now established companies like Sinclair-Koppers, Foster Grant and Tupperware in their early years helped Muehlstein grow and keep those partnerships for decades.

The postwar era ushered in prosperity plus a series of changes that altered the structure of Muehlstein
Herman Muehlstein died in 1962 after leading the company for more than 52 years.

Al Chester’s agreement to take the load off of Dow’s off grade helped Dow solidify their reputation as a producer of the finest product without ruining their prime image. “You don’t need to get into the off-grade business, you need to create an exclusive relationship with Muehlstein.”

In 1990, new sales offices in Central and South America captured a large share of the blossoming plastic manufacturing business in those regions at the time.
Mobil’s acquisition of Muehlstein in 1980 facilitated the transition. The merger significantly increased the quantities of suppliers and numbers of customers, underscoring the need to modernize the outdated record keeping system.

Muehlstein drew upon Mobil’s global IT resources and expertise specialists started to automate order entry, billing and purchasing records. They developed a product code, i.e., an internal identification system, which allowed sales representatives, product managers and other to identify materials.

It allowed Muehlstein to refocus employees tasked with manual operations. It also increased the number of product pounds sold per employee, thus continuing to enhance the competitiveness of the company.to make a quantum leap in our technology platform by upgrading to a world-class ERP system that not created efficiencies internally, but also help expand significantly our ability to service cusomters throughout the world.

Around the time the company bought itself back from Mobil in 1996, the changeover to more automated billing, shipping and receiving ultimately led to improved analytic reporting. The ability for management to access files quickly and easily was absolutely essential if Muehlstein was to remain competitive in its increasingly global business.

“International business units were implemented one at a time. We did the U.S. then Europe, then Latin America, then Asia, and Canada, etc. There wasn’t a big bang and flicking the switch on one Sunday. We phased these interfaces to the old system, which took a lot of time and a lot of cost.” – Dave Ianucci

Today, over a century since our inception, Muehlstein continues it’s heritage of leadership, and focusing on adapting rapidly to changes in the industry so we can continue to add the products, services and other resources necessary to help our customers compete in an ever-increasingly competitive industry.

In 2002, more than 640 active registered customers ordered 280 million pounds of products on Muehlstein’s three e-commerce platforms.

By the early 1990s, Muehlstein had nearly completed its evolution from rubber to plastic sales, from spot supply to guaranteed supply partnerships, from off-grade reseller to an equal balance of prime and wide-specification polymer sales.

Today, Muehlstein continues the tradition of success that has allowed us to remain profitable for the past century, despite market crashes, political unrest, war and would-be competition.