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Joseph E. Nathan

AKA Joseph Edward Nathan

Born: 2-Mar-1835
Birthplace: Houndsditch, England
Died: 2-May-1912
Location of death: London, England
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Religion: Jewish
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business

Nationality: England
Executive summary: Founder of Glaxo

Sickly in childhood, Joseph Nathan was the sixth son of a struggling London tailor, and worked in his father's shop until he moved to Australia at the age of 18, hoping to strike it rich in the gold rush. He briefly operated a miners' supply shop in Melbourne, almost immediately going bankrupt, then relocated again to New Zealand, where he went into the hardware business with his blind brother-in-law. After several years, the two men had a falling out, and Nathan opened his own Joseph Nathan & Company, a small mercantile shop selling local produce and patent medicines. A strict orthodox Jew, he hosted worship meetings in his home until the local Jewish community could afford to construct its own synagogue. As his shop prospered, he began shipping products back to his native England, and in the 1880s he opened a branch office in London.

The company's evolution from an import-export shop to an international conglomerate began in the early 1900s, when Nathan secured the rights to a new process for drying and powdering milk. He built the company's first dried milk factory in Bunnythorpe, New Zealand, and attempted to sell baby food branded Lacto, but variations on lactose were too common for a dairy product to be trademarked with that name, so Nathan tinkered with the letters and called his product Glaxo baby food. It was anything but an instant success, and sales floundered until the 1908 publication of The Glaxo Baby Book, a purported guide to proper parenting from the "Glaxo Mothers' Help Bureau". It was called "the most successful form of advertising of the present day" by Advertising World magazine in 1915.

In 1919, seven years after Nathan's death, the Glaxo brand was given its own department within the company, and a chemist was hired to oversee its rudimentary laboratory. In 1924 the Glaxo Department started manufacturing a Vitamin D extract from fish oil -- the company's first foray into pharmaceuticals. In 1935 the department was spun off as a separate company, Glaxo Laboratories, and in 1947 Glaxo absorbed Nathan & Co, becoming the conglomerate's parent company. In 1995 Glaxo and Wellcome merged as GlaxoWellcome, and in 2000 it merged with SmithKline Beecham to become GlaxoSmithKline.

Father: Edward Ezekiel Nathan (tailor)
Mother: Rachel Davis Nathan (d. 1852)
Sister: Kate Nathan Joseph
Wife: Dinah Marks Nathan (m. 18-Nov-1857, d. 1893)
Son: Alexander Nathan ("Alec", Glaxo executive)
Son: Charles Nathan (Glaxo executive)
Son: David Nathan (Glaxo executive)
Son: Frederick Nathan (Glaxo executive)
Son: Louis Nathan (Glaxo President)
Son: Maurice Nathan (Glaxo executive)
Son: Phillip Nathan (Glaxo executive)

    High School: Bishopsgate Institute, London, UK (1852)

    Glaxo Laboratories Founder & President (1873-1912)


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