Our History

The original founder of Brainerd Chemical was Harold W. Brainerd, Jr., who graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1944 with a degree in chemistry. After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he continued his career in the chemical industry as a technical expert on phosphate and detergent chemicals for Monsanto through the early 1950s. He later returned to his chemistry roots and became a research chemist for Standard Oil until the late 1950s, where he specialized in working with detergents for secondary recovery projects for the oil production industry.


Seeking a path of entrepreneurship, Harold founded Brainerd Chemical Company, Inc. in 1959, where he made the production and distribution of detergents the cornerstone and focus of his business. In 1962, his acute knowledge of laboratory research later led him to begin distributing for Mallinckrodt, where he developed a substantial market in reagent grade chemicals for research facilities. When brand naming became popular in the 1960’s, Mr. Brainerd developed his product line, including detergents and agricultural products, under the Brama name. He also developed a well-known laundry detergent that was later trademarked as NuBrite and sold widely to commercial and institutional customers. During his career as a well-known chemist, Harold developed a total of 21 patents for chemicals in the oil production industry.

When Harold turned the business operation responsibilities over to the youngest of his three sons in 1979, he had developed a legacy of integrity and customer commitment. Mathew Brainerd has continued to expand the company and its markets to better serve our customers throughout the United States. Over the last 30+ years, Mathew has transformed the company from a local supplier of chemicals for research facilities, industrial plants and agricultural operations, into a major regional supplier, with over 3,000 customers in 40 states. Brainerd Chemical is now an industry leader in the prestigious Top 100 U.S. Chemical Distributors with a specialized list of chemical products along large-scale packaging, rail terminaling, bulk storage, bulk blending, contract packaging and logistic facilitating for larger organizations.