History of Osmose, Inc. - Wood Preservatives


During the early 1930s, Dr. Carl Schmittutz of Bad Kissingen, Germany, invented a process and formula for the preservation of wood. He organized the Osmose Wood Impregnating Company of Leipzig, Germany, and obtained patents for this process in many countries throughout the world, including the United States and Canada. The F.W. Woolworth Co. (commonly known as the "5 and 10") had accumulated large reserves of capital in German banks through the highly successful operation of numerous stores in cities all across Germany. In 1932, the German government froze the exportation or transfer of any German currency or profits. To circumvent this government order, the Woolworth Company purchased patents for the Osmose process of wood preservation from Dr. Schmittutz and organized the General Osmose Corporation.


Old Osmose picture


On November 13, 1934, the Osmose Wood Preserving Co. of America, Inc. was organized in New York State to market this patented wood preservation technology in the United States and Canada. In 1940, Osmose sold its Canadian rights to Osmose Wood Preserving Co. of Canada, Ltd. (Montreal), an unrelated company. Woolworth remained the largest stockholder of Osmose until 1953.


The original Osmose patents described a preservative process using sodium fluoride, potassium bichromate, sodium arsenate, and dinitrophenol. This preservative was known in the industry as "FCAP." Penetration of preservatives was achieved through the process of diffusion or "osmosis" into green wood or wood of high moisture content.


One early commercial use of this preservative in the United States was a timber dipping and stacking process used by coal mines. These mines had a plentiful supply of green timbers that could be treated on-site for use as mine timbers. Another early use was the development of a paste formulation of FCAP preservative for in-place treatment of utility poles in the groundline area. Similar formulations and processes are still in use today for the groundline treatment of utility poles.