1879 Z.C. Patten establishes Chattanooga Medicine Co. (CMC) as successor to Dr. A.Q. Simmons Liver Medicine Co. and renames its key product Black-Draught. First-year sales total $35,488
1880 CMC introduces what would be the only major line extension for almost a half-century: McElree’s Wine of Cardui, a menstrual preparation for women; company sets up a legendary sales force to market the products and developed a printing empire to turn out Cardui wall calendars and songbooks for churchgoers.
1886 Adolph S. Ochs serves as company president
1891 Zeboim Cartter Patten becomes president
1893 CMC opens its first branch office in St. Louis, Mo.
1901 Branch office in San Francisco opens
1903 Sales top $1 million
1906 CMC becomes a co-partnership of brothers John A. Patten and Zeboim Charles Patten, nephews of the founder.
1916 John A. Patten, company president, dies at age 48; his brother, Zeboim Charles Patten, assumes CMC leadership
1917 CMC becomes a corporation again
1938 At age 31, Lupton Patten becomes the youngest president of the company
1945 Alexander Guerry joins Chattanooga Medicine Co.
1958 Lupton Patten dies at age 58; his nephew, Alexander Guerry Jr., succeeds him as president; Pamprin tablets, a woman’s product developed here, debuts
1962 Mr. Guerry allows employees to buy stock in the company; development of diuretic drug leads to introduction of Pamprin, a menstrual symptom reliever
1964 Selected outsiders buy stock
1966 Chattanooga Medicine Co. changes its name to Chattem Drug and Chemical Co.
1968 The company acquires The DePree Co. of Holland, Mich., maker and franchiser of hundreds of beauty and health care items
1969 First public shares issued
1970 Chattanooga Medicine buys Petrochemicals Co. Inc., a maker of specialty chemicals
1974 Company buys Sun-In hair lightners from Gillette
1975 Chattem buys Mudd facial cleanser
1977 Chattem buys Corn Silk face powder from American Cyanamid
1978 Company name shortens to Chattem Inc.
1979 Forbes Magazine lists Chattem among 300 “small” businesses that have a “promising” track record
1980 Chattem sells DePree subsidiary; buys Love’s Baby Soft line of products from SmithKline Corp.
1981 FDA approves Chattem’s Pamprin line; Maximum Relief Formula Pamprin debuts a year later
Company’s Petrochemicals subsidiary buys a line of specialty chemicals
1983 Chattem buys Quencher line of lipstick and cosmetics from A.H. Robins Co.; Zan Guerry elected executive vice president of the company
1984 Company sells Quencher line of cosmetics
1984 Sells specialty chemicals business to a New Jersey firm for about $25 million
1986 Company sells Love line of fragrances; buys UltraSwim, a shampoo, conditioner, soap and moisturizer that removes chlorine; the Canadian rights for Alegmarin bath additive and Bullo, an odor-control product; also buys Bullfrog, a sunblock, from Oceanside Laboratories
1989 Chattem names Zan Guerry, son of Alex Guerry, chief operating officer
Chattem buys Flex-all 454, a pain-relieving salve; football great Joe Namath becomes spokesman for the product; acquires distribution rights to Norwich Aspirin product line from Norwich Eaton Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Norwich, N.Y.
1990 Alex Guerry dies; his son, Zan, becomes chief executive officer
1991 Chattem purchases IcyHot, a topical analgesic, from Procter & Gable
Company sales exceed $100 million
1993 NFL Hall of Famer “Mean” Joe Greene, who helped the Pittsburgh Steelers win four Super Bowl titles, becomes spokesman for Flex-all Maximum Strength; buys Icy Hot, a dual-action topical analgesic
1994 Company buys the license to pHisoDerm, a line of specialty skin cleansers and a topical oral analgesic Benzodent
1995 Company sells Chattem Chemicals to Elcat
1996 Chattem buys Gold Bond line of medicated powders and anti-itch creams for $40 million; acquires Herpecin-L, a cold sore and lip balm maker
1997 Buys Sunsource line of dietary supplements, including Garlique, Rejuvez, Melatonez and Echinex
1998 — Buys Ban line of antiperspirants and deoderants for $165 million form Bristol-Myers Squibb; buys 68,000-square-foot Double-Cola Co. plant on South Broad Street; sells Corn Silk facial makeup line; pays $95 million for six products, including Dexatrim, Sports creme, Aspercreme and Capzasin-P
2000 Chattem sells Norwich, Ban and Cornsilk
2002 Chattem buys Selsun Blue dandruff shampoo for $75 million from Abbott Laboratories
2005 Chattem sells pHisoderm
2006 Company acquires five brand products from Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson in a $410 million deal: ACT mouthwash, sleep aid Unisom, anti-itch creme Cortizone, anti-diarrhea product Kaopectate and diaper rash reliever Balmex
2007 Sales exceed $400 million
2009 Chattem announces $35 million expansion that includes a facility to house manufacturing of ACT mouthwash.
Source: Newspaper archives; Chattem