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Johns-Manville: Wikis


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Johns Manville is an American corporation based in Denver, Colorado that manufactures insulation, roofing materials, and engineered products. The stock was included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average from January 29, 1930 to August 27, 1982 when it was replaced by American Express. Berkshire Hathaway bought the company in 2001. Chairman & CEO Jerry Henry retired in 2004; Steve Hochhauser became Chairman, President & CEO. Todd Raba succeeded him in the summer of 2007; Raba came from Mid-American Energy Holdings, another Berkshire Hathaway company.

Manville, New Jersey is named for the company; it had a large plant in the borough.


The company was founded as the H. W. Johns Manufacturing Company in New York City in 1858 as an early asbestos manufacturer of roofing materials.

The Manville Covering Company was founded in Wisconsin in 1885 by C. B. Manville. C. B. Manville's grandson was the much-married socialite Tommy Manville.

H. W. Johns and Manville merged in 1901 to form H. W. Johns-Manville, renamed Johns-Manville in 1926.

Industrialist Lewis H. Brown was president of the Johns-Manville Corporation in the 1930s.

The Canadian branch of the corporation was involved in the extremely violent Asbestos Strike in Canada in 1949.

The company actively marketed its insulation services through a range of materials featuring Rosemary Melcher in 1978.

The corporation also faced major class action lawsuits in the 1980s based on asbestos-related injuries such as mesothelioma. When Manville filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1982, it was the largest company in United States history to have done so.

The bankruptcy was resolved by the formation of the Manville Trust to pay asbestos tort claimants in an orderly fashion by giving the trust the lion's share of the equity in the company. The bankruptcy took over 5 years to process and resulted in protracted litigation. The Manville Trust is still in operation today.


  • Thompson, David; G. Marcus Cole (2007). "The Intersection of Bankruptcy and Mass Torts". in Robert Rammusen. Bankruptcy Stories. Foundation Press. ISBN 1599410184.  

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