In 1846, Daniel Mead founded the Mead Corporation in Dayton, Ohio. The firm originally manufactured paper, but the company dramatically expanded its product line during the twentieth century. By the time of Daniel Mead's death in 1891, the Mead Corporation was one of the largest paper producers in the United States, with paper mills in Kingsport, Tennessee, Brunswick, Georgia, and Escanaba, Michigan, as well as several plants in Ohio.
During the 1950s and the 1960s, the Mead Corporation experienced tremendous growth. The company began to manufacture corrugated cardboard shipping containers and paperboard in its many recycling plants scattered across the United States. In 1958, the firm purchased Data Corporation. This company specialized in electronic record keeping. Mead Data Control improved the Data Corporations services and also developed new programs such as Lexis and Nexus, two services that allow users to search legal precedents and newspaper and magazine articles. In 1968, the Mead Corporation also purchased the Woodward Company, a firm that manufactured iron castings and rubber products. Further diversifying its product line, the Mead Corporation purchased Gulf Consolidated Services, a pipe valve fittings and electric supply company, in 1977. During the 1970s, the Mead Corporation also spent 1.5 billion dollars to modernize its various plants, allowing the firm to dramatically increase production.
Unfortunately for the Mead Corporation, the company experienced difficult economic times during the 1980s. A national recession during the 1980s caused the company to sell off many of its affiliated industries, including Gulf Consolidated Services and much of the Woodward Company. By the turn of the twenty-first century, the Mead Corporation had returned to a solid financial footing by streamlining its products and services. The company primarily manufactured paper and continued to participate in the electronic storage industry. The Mead Corporation is currently known as MeadWestvaco.