The Flintkote Company began operations in New England in 1901, manufacturing shingles for roofs as the primary focus of the business. Many of these shingles were asphalt-based. By 1917, the company was fully incorporated in Massachusetts. Flintkote shingles grew quickly in popularity and by the 1920’s the company went international and developed several important clients in Europe. By the end of the decade, Flintkote also expanded their operations into manufacturing not only asphalt shingles, but also asphalt emulsions that were used in the construction and maintenance of roads.
The 1930’s proved to be just as good a decade for Flintkote as the 1920’s. The company once again expanded operations by introducing several new lines of asbestos-based products. These products included cement, siding, shingles, and other building materials. Flintkote was soon operating factories in California, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, and New York. In 1936, Flintkote stock went public.
Flintkote continued to grow through the 1940’s when they introduced a line of folding boxes used for packaging goods for consumers. This was the beginning of a wide-ranging diversification program that continued far into the 1960’s. At this time, the company operated a total of 126 U.S. factories and 21 international factories. Even though Flintkote was highly diversified at this time, building materials remained their primary products and the backbone of the corporation well into the 1970’s. The Flintkote divisions responsible for manufacturing building materials were the Building Products Group, the Pipe Products Group, and the Stone Products Group. The division responsible for manufacturing consumer packaging and boxes was the Packaging Products Group. Another division, The Canadian Group, produced the same products, but raw materials were primarily sourced from Canada.
The 1970’s marked a downturn for the Flintkote Company. In 1970 the company’s books showed $40 million in short-term debt due to factory spending and the need for seasonal capital. By contrast, annual sales were only $29.9 million with a profit of $1.08 million. This decline was attributed to prevailing world and U.S. economic conditions and a steep fall in the market price of wallboard and corrugated packaging. Flintkote also suffered from labor problems in the 1970’s. The company experienced several strikes, stopping production for long periods.
In 1987, Flintkote sold off its building materials manufacturing divisions and relocated to San Francisco, California. In 2004, the company filed for Chalpter 11 bankruptcy, listing $160 million in assets and $70 million in liability unrelated to lawsuits of any kind.