History

History

The prime origin of Riga Varnish and Paint Factory lays in 1898, in Daugavgrīvas street 63/65, where the factory is located also today.

On 12 March 1898 the company "Leopolds Kassels un Ko” bought a land plot at Dzegužkalna dyne between Daugavgrīvas (Dinamindes) and Buhtes streets. On 16 April 1898, in this territory, foundations of Russian aniline paint manufactory "Leopolds Kassels un Ko” were laid. The manufactory operated as a branch of German (Frankfurt am Main) chemical factories. The fixed capital of the manufactory composed 1.5 million czar roubles. It produced aniline paints and varnishes.

In 1937 the manufactory with all buildings and equipment was purchased by local entrepreneur, engineer-chemist Mārtiņš Kalniņš. The company operates under name Ķīmiskā fabrika "Mārtiņš Kalniņš” [Chemical manufactory Mārtiņš Kalniņš]. Since that time the capacity of the manufactory increased rapidly and assortment of products expanded considerably. Some manufacturing processes became mechanized. The manufactory started producing of different goods instead of aniline paints: dray ground paints, oil paints, mineral pigments, timber antiseptics, and the popular washing powder “Nitra”. The manufactory employed about 100 workers. The manufactory has its scientific laboratory which conducted researches in building protection, metal protection against corrosion, timber protection, and clothing care and cleaning.

In June 1940, as Soviets took the power in Latvia, the manufactory was taken over by the State. It was renamed to Chemical manufactory "Nitra”. Mārtiņš Kalniņš was appointed as its first director. On 17 April 1941 he was dismissed and arrested. He was in custody in different prisons of the USSR until 1946. The family of Mārtiņš Kalniņš - his wife and three children - were deported to Siberia on 14 June 1941.

During German occupation (1941- 1944), the name of the manufactory was Chemische Werke „Nitra”. Production amounts reduced. Calcined and caustic soda and detergents were manufactured. Some manufacturing equipment was demolished and prepared for sending to Germany.

The manufactory returned to producing of paints after the war and restoration of soviet power (1946-1951). The company was handed over to local manufacturing ministry. Grinding equipment and chemical paint workshop equipment was renovated. The manufactory produced mineral pigments and organic pigments, paint, dry glue paints.

In 1951 the manufactory was subordinated to the Chemical Ministry of the USSR and renamed to "Rīgas laku un krāsu rūpnīca” [Riga Varnish and Paint Factory]. Reconstruction and considerable expanding of the factory was commenced. The company was listed among the biggest ones in the field. It produced a wide assortment: alkyd enamels, primers for agriculture machines and aggregates, polyester and uralkyd enamels, electrophoresis primers for car factories, alkyd and polyester varnishes, dry zinc whites, non-skinning top enamels for ship building and repair factories, etc.

In 1964 the Central laboratory of the factory commenced its operation with pilot equipment.

In 1965-1991 products of the factory were purchased by consumers both in Latvia and other soviet republics. Among them – biggest car factories in Gorky, Izhevsk, Moscow, agriculture machinery factories, television factories in Minsk and Lvov, Riga Radio factory, furniture factories, musical instrument factories, and ship building and repairs factories. In elaboration of new products, the RLKR cooperated with several scientific institutes in Moscow and Leningrad actively.

After regaining of Latvia independence in 1991, the output amount dropped rapidly and the number of employees was reduced due to lack of raw materials and partial loss of eastern market.

In 1992 the RLKR was subordinated to Latvia jurisdiction by terminating any relation with the previous Chemical Industry Ministry and institutes of the USSR. Name of the factory was changed to „Valsts Rīgas laku un krāsu rūpnīca” [National Riga Varnish and Paint Factory].

In 1995-1996 the factory was privatized; and, during this period, it was called “Riga Varnish and Paint Factory under Privatization”.

On 23 February 1996 the company was registered with name SIA "Rīgas laku un krāsu rūpnīca" and became a private enterprise. The company preserved previously manufactured products and elaborated and implemented for manufacture more than 50 new products during coming years.

In 2000 the company implemented its own paint and enamel tinting system. This system enables tinting of more than 20 products. Clients have a possibility to choose any tone from palette which consists of more than 6000 tones.

At the end of 2000 Riga Varnish and Paint Factory was certified according to international quality standard ISO 9001:2000 and obtained a certificate for elaborating, manufacturing and trade of varnish and paint materials. 

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