In the 1920s, P. F. Harris, an entomologist waging a personal war with roaches, had an idea: Instead of following the conventional practice of taking an insecticide to the pest, why not lure the pest to the insecticide?
"I would defeat the roach by appealing to the very sense of nature that gave him his protection –– smell."
From this insight, he developed Harris Roach Chow, an ingenious combination of sugar, flour, and a special lure to attract the critters, and a large dose of boric acid to kill them. The formula was powerful enough to eliminate the roaches but benign enough to use around people.
100 years later, it is still an effective weapon for the PF Harris Manufacturing Co., which remains a leader in pest control. Today, under new ownership, we are America's oldest EPA-registered company. With more than 150 products, we provide everything from roach control to organic fish fertilizer.
Problem-solving has a long heritage at PF Harris. In 1924, two years after its founding, we tackled the Calvin Coolidge White House, which had been overrun for years by roaches and water bugs. Harris's product was so successful in eliminating the scourge that he was described on the front page of the Washington Times as a "vermin slayer who has just fought a decisive, winning battle with a horde of cockroaches which infested the lower regions of the Executive Mansion."
Over the next few months, Harris took "his final feast" to dozens of government buildings, including the Senate Office Building, the Department of Justice, the Supreme Court, and Walter Reed Hospital. Success followed success and "Each superintendent of the various buildings was highly satisfied with the results."
Today we stay nimble enough to respond to changing market demands, leading the way in the development of numerous products, including disinfectant cleaners labeled to kill SARS associated with Coronavirus. Beyond the products we sell, we're able to help customers find easy and economical solutions through helpful labeling, instructive website videos, and personal and professional advice.
We're a brand with a reliable past and an innovative future. We started in Washington and Baltimore and were a prominent force there until the 1940s when we moved to Arkansas by P.F. Harris's sister. In 1960 we moved again, to Jacksonville.
In 2008 our company was purchased, by now in LaGrange, GA. The partners moved our equipment (some of it dating to the 1920s) to Alpharetta, and then in 2014 to Cartersville, which is our current headquarters.
Listening to our customers and dealers has driven our expansion. Our company was built on roach tablets, but quickly found a market in bed bugs when we learned that international travelers had become unwitting importers of the pests, thus opening a market for products in cities with international airports. Even taxis carrying those travelers to downtown hotels would treat their vehicles for bed bugs with our products.
As global commerce brought more containers to U.S. shores, it also brought stink bugs, another market for our products.
Throughout our history, PF Harris has catered to the do-it-yourselfer seeking effective solutions to their pest problems. That approach has proven as successful as the original roach tablet that's still on the market.
The vision and hard work of our team have sustained and expanded a venerable brand as PF Harris continues to be a trusted name among millions of homeowners.
The P.F. Harris Company moves to Cartersville, GA, our current headquarters and production facility.
Biggs and Rhinehart purchased the company and moved P.F. Harris, now based in Georgia, from LaGrange to Alpharetta.
New owner John Owens tries to hire young Jim Biggs as a salesman. Biggs declined the offer, but 33 years later, along with Dave Rhinehart, bought the company.
The company moves to Jacksonville, FL.
P.F. Harris moves the company to Little Rock, AR. His sister Dora Harris Russell took over the company after the founder P.F. Harris passed away in 1946.
The company builds a reputation and sales forces through the years prior to World War II from its base in Washington, and later, Baltimore.
The White House, overrun with roaches, calls on Harris to solve its problem. His success is hailed in the Washington Times, which calls him a "vermin slayer" in the war on bugs.
P.F. Harris introduces Harris Roach Chow, a clever concoction pressed into an easy-to-apply tablet.