Lehman Brothers Collection - Contemporary Business Archives

Harvard Business School Baker Library Historical Collections

Lehman Brothers Collection

Twentieth-Century Business Archives

Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. - Lehman Brothers Collection

Archer-Daniels-Midland Co.

List of Deals

John Daniels founded the Daniels Linseed Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1902. Prior to this venture, he had been crushing flaxseed to make linseed oil since 1878. George Archer, another flaxseed crusher, joined Daniels' company in 1903. A few years later, the company was renamed the Archer-Daniels Linseed Company. Archer and Daniels hired Samuel Mairs as a bookkeeper; he would eventually become the company's chairperson. In those early years, the company consisted of a flax-crushing plant that made three products: raw linseed oil, boiled linseed oil, and linseed cake or meal.

The company grew slowly; however, it never finished a year in debt. In 1923 Archer-Daniels Linseed bought the Midland Linseed Products Company and was then incorporated as the Archer-Daniels-Midland Company. During the 1920s the company began a research and development program, seeking to discover methods by which to alter the chemical structure of linseed oil. During this decade the company continued to purchase oil-processing companies in the Midwest. It also built elevators on Minneapolis loading docks to store grain awaiting shipment down the Mississippi to other ports.

Harvard Business School Harvard Business School Baker Library Histrorical Collections