Company history

1902 is a year full of hopes for five businessmen in Two Harbors, Minnesota. They founded the Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Company (3M) to operate a mine they think it contains a mineral body ideal for making sandpaper and grinding wheels. But this mineral body turns out poor quality, and 3M share moved to Duluth in 1905 to focus on the manufacture of sandpaper.

After several difficult years, in 1910, 3M is leaving Duluth to St. Paul, Minnesota. The technical and commercial innovations are beginning to bear fruit in 1916, 3M paid its first dividend of 6% per share.

In 1948 Alco SA began importing 3M abrasives directly from the United States. It was in 1964 that 3M (St Paul, Minnesota) opened a subsidiary in Switzerland and that Alco SA became its main distributor for this sector. As a result, Alco has continued to serve as a nursery for 3M, bringing the needs and trends of the market to 1,200 engineers from 3M laboratories.

The watch and medical industries, the latter representing Alco's other historical business sector, with very specific needs in terms of size and quality, Alco and 3M decided to set up an abrasive processing unit And adhesives (so-called converting) in French-speaking Switzerland in the heart of the cradle of watchmaking.