As pure vanilla and flavor specialists, our story is over a hundred years in the making...
1900s - The Founding of Our Company
Founded in 1907 as Massey's, by Otis Kline and Richard Massey in Sterling, Illinois, our company originally focused on the manufacture of aromas for cleaning chemicals.
1910s-1920s - Hello Chicago, Hello Chatfield Nielsen
A decade later our production facility moved to Webster Avenue in Chicago to be near a transportation hub and Chatfield Nielsen, Sr. joined Richard Massey. Under their shared leadership, our company focused on offering a variety of vanillas and flavors to primarily food manufacturers.
1950s-1960s - Passing of The Baton
Upon the passing of Richard Massey, Chatfield Nielsen purchased the company from the Massey family in 1954. Four years later, his son, Chatfield Jr. (Chat), joined the business and by 1963 was appointed vice president. At this time, the Nielsens also changed the name to Nielsen-Massey Vanillas.
1970s - The Pure Vanilla Specialists
Chat succeeded his father as president and focused on becoming the Pure Vanilla Specialists, producing only natural, pure vanilla products. Chat's wife, Camilla, joined him in 1979.
1980s - New Product, New Place, New People
The 80s saw a succession of exciting events. In '81, we introduced our first product for the mass retail market (up to this point we had been strictly working with food manufacturers and some restaurants). In '84, we moved to Lake Forest, Illinois, enabling us to double production. And, in '86, Chat and Camilla's older son, Craig Nielsen, joined the company.
1990s - The International Vanilla Specialists
In June of 1992, we moved to our current Waukegan, Illinois facility. Later that same year, Chat passed away. Camilla took over management, overseeing many incredible leaps forward. This includes such highlights as the creation of several revolutionary culinary products (Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Powder, Organic Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract and Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste) and the opening of Nielsen-Massey Vanillas International, our manufacturing facility in Leeuwarden, Netherlands that improved our ability to cost-effectively distribute our pure vanilla products to Europe. 1994 also saw the addition of Matt Nielsen, Camilla and Chat's younger son, to the family business.
2000s - Bringing Flavor Back
In 2005, we revisited our earlier roots by introducing flavors once again, but this time in the form of new Pure Flavor Extracts, which feature all-natural botanical extractives in an alcohol base. Upon Camilla's retirement, Craig was named CEO and Matt named COO with Camilla remaining chairman of the board. In 2006, we were recognized as one of the first ingredient companies in the US to be Gluten-Free Certified for the production of our pure vanilla and flavor products. Also that year, Beth Nielsen joined her siblings in managing the family company and today has the role of Chief Culinary Officer, Director-International.
2007 and beyond - Third Generation, 2nd Century
Today, over a century later, third-generation owners Craig, Beth and Matt Nielsen carry on the esteemed Nielsen-Massey legacy. Together, we continue to produce only the finest pure vanillas and flavors while looking forward to what the next hundred years hold for our company.