GFS Chemicals Company History Timeline, US Space Program, WWII Perchloric Acid Production

Company History


90+ Years of Manufacturing Specialty Chemicals & Long-term Customer Relationships


Our Founder, G. Frederick Smith, was a Professor of Analytical Chemistry (University of Illinois). His interest in developing both inorganic chemicals and organic ligands as analytical reagents had a profound effect on the development of analytical methodologies from 1930 to the 1950s.

• Many of the insights Smith gleaned from the development of specialty analytical reagents were shared with the broader scientific community in the form of technical monographs and books published by the company and distributed at no charge. Perchlorates and Rare Earth continue to be topics of great interest to this day. The dissemination of technical and safety information on GFS chemical specialties remains among the highest of the company's current priorities.

• Smith used careful engineering practices and sound chemical insight to extend the techniques that he used to develop analytical reagents on a small scale to multi-ton chemical manufacturing capacities. GFS is a primary manufacturer of a surprising variety of difficult-to-source and difficult-to-make specialty chemicals.

• Recognition of the demand for increasingly pure chemical reagents allowed GFS to be one of the first to master the distillation of inorganic acids as well as specialty organics. GFS Trace Metal grade mineral acids provided the semiconductor industry with some of its first acids certified to sub-part per billion impurity levels.

Internal development of GFS chemical manufacturing technologies has consistently been supplemented through the acquisition of outside product lines and business units. Examples include pyridine-free Watermark® Karl Fischer reagents; analytical reagent grade quaternary ammonium salts and solutions; Organic Halogen Reagent; and the Farchan line of acetylenic, olefinic and silyl chemical intermediates.

So it is by design that GFS offers strength in all three segments of chemical manufacturing: Inorganic specialties, Organic intermediates, and Analytical reagents. Such broad capabilities are especially valuable in an age of increasingly interdisciplinary chemical technologies. Combine this with traditional, personal service that you can only find in a family company environment and you have a good understanding of why so many customers regard GFS as their preferred specialty chemical manufacturer. Eighty plus years of chemical manufacturing experience translates into a broad range of benefits for discerning users of specialty reagents and fine chemicals.