The history of Catalytic Combustion Corporation can be traced back to 1944 when two of the company founders connected on an idea to get rid of fumes and odors in the exhaust gases from paint baking ovens. Richard J. Ruff was an industrial heating Vice President of Sales for one of the leading manufacturers of ovens and furnaces. Harold R. Suter was a research chemist for Wyandotte Chemical Corporation. Both had taught college courses together in engineering and chemistry. Suter, being a research chemist, suggested the idea of a catalyst and the pair decided to begin experimentation while retaining their day jobs. What they expected to take several weeks turned into more than four years of experimentation.
In 1948, Norbert C. Ruff, coming out of World War II as a fighter pilot with the Army Air Corps., joined the pair to work toward moving from experimentation to production sized systems. Late in 1948 a trial installation was placed at a company in Fort Wayne, Indiana. That initial installation was replaced several times before reliable results were obtained. During 1949 a new unit was placed in a chemical factory in Detroit. This system provided good reliable results and this company became the first large scale user of the Catalytic Fume Combustion Process.
This led to the formation of Catalytic Combustion Corporation (CCC) in February of 1950. At this same time, the founders were invited to speak at the US Conference on Air Pollution in Washington D. C. and also received invitations from technical societies and universities and industry associations. In 1953 the editor of the General Electric Company’s “General Electric Review” included Catalytic Combustion Corporation with atomic energy, nylon, penicillin, and 15 other items as outstanding developments of the past decade.
The company was headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, due to its proximity to heavy industry. However, the team selected a small town for manufacturing operations where people had adventure, imagination, determinations, willingness to work, and ability to get things done, and Bloomer, Wisconsin was chosen as that location. Bloomer was the home town of the Ruff Brothers.
Initially, Catalytic Combustion operated in rented buildings and sub-contracted manufacturing fabrications operations. One of the first Bloomer locations was on the Bloomer Brewery property.
In 1957-58 a catalyst shop was constructed by the Bloomer Industrial Development Corporation and sold to Catalytic Combustion through a land contract arrangement. Business continued to grow and an addition was added to the original shop. In 1962 a new fabrication facility was built in Bloomer.
Toward the end of 1960, Catalytic Combustion Corporation was purchased by and merged with the Universal Oil Products Company Inc. UOP and CCC continued in the fields of industrial catalyst and air corrections technologies. Over the years core business and market conditions resulted in UOP’s decision to exit the related business, and so an opportunity was created for the employees of the Industrial Products Group to purchase their division of the business from Universal Oil Products. They named the newly formed business entity Catalytic Combustion Corporation.