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A Brief Summary

The Rust-Oleum Corporation was formed in 1921 by Robert Fergusson in the humble town of Evanston, IL, United States,  and ever since then, the business has grown into a worldwide provider of decorative and protective paints & coatings for both home and industrial use.


Rust-Oleum was initially renowned for producing the rust-fighting formula that started the whole venture. It is now equally famous for its aerosol spray and decorative furniture paints. Well known products such as Painter’s Touch and Chalky Paint have proved hugely successful with decorators and DIYers alike.


Formulated using Rust-Oleum’s cutting edge spray paint technology, the products showcased on deliver ground-breaking functionality and performance previously unseen in the UK paint market.


Rust-Oleum History

Robert Fergusson (a sea captain, not the famous poet) noticed that raw fish oil spilled on rusty metal decks stopped corrosion from spreading. He soon incorporated whale oil into the formula, although many changes have been made over the years. Rust-Oleum products no longer contain whale oil, instead using resins derived from Alkyds, polyurethanes, epoxys, latex, etc.


Rust-Oleum remained a family owned company until 1994. Today, Rust-Oleum Corporation is owned by RPM International Inc. In 2015, the company reached one billion dollars in revenue. Key brands include Stops Rust, High Performance, NeverWet, Painter’s Touch, Universal, Varathane, Zinsser, and Watco. The company acquired Synta Inc., in 2012, Krud Kutter, Inc. and Citadel Restoration and Repair, Inc. in 2014, and Seal Krete in 2016 Based on market share, Rust-Oleum holds the top position in the U.S. and Canada in the rust-preventative, decorative, specialty and professional segments of the small-project paint category.


In 1979 the company’s slogan, “Rust Never Sleeps”, was adopted by Neil Young (upon a suggestion by Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo, who had actually invented the phrase for Rust-Oleum when he had previously worked in advertising) as a name for an album.


More Information

Rust-Oleum Corporation’s corporate headquarters are in Vernon Hills, Illinois, a northern suburb of Chicago. Rust-Oleum manufactures product in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin; Hagerstown, Maryland; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and multiple other locations in the United States and Europe.


The corporate headquarters building was designed by Helmut Jahn, and is shaped to give the impression of a steamboat, including pipes adorning the atrium.


The Chicago Tribune has ranked Rust-Oleum among the top mid-sized work places in the region in 2013, 2014, and 2015.


Vernon Hills High School’s football stadium is named Rust-Oleum Field, as the company donated $100,000 in exchange for 20 year naming rights. Additionally, Libertyville High School’s baseball program receives generous[peacock term] sponsorship from the corporation.


The self-proclaimed company culture encourages giving back to the community, and Rust-Oleum is involved in philanthropy in addition to the local high school (see above). The company gives employees a paid volunteer day, matches contributions to non-profits up to $500, and in 2014 raised at least $17,000 by allowing employees to wear jeans in exchange for a $5 donation.

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