GAF (G.I. Holdings)

GAF started in 1929 as I.G. Dyes, the American arm of a German chemical company which produced photographic materials and film. After various acquisitions/mergers it changed its name in 1939 to General Aniline and Film Corporation, hence the acronym “GAF.”

The German-owned company was seized by the U.S. Government in 1942 and was managed by government-controlled directors until 1965, making films, dyestuffs, pharmaceuticals and various chemicals and earning almost 2000 patents.

It was sold to the public in 1965 with the biggest sale of stock by competitive bidding in Wall Street’s history. In 1967 the company expanded into the roofing materials business with the acquisition of the Ruberoid Corporation. In 1968 the company changed its name to GAF Corporation.

GAF Corporation Products

Until 1981, the company produced and distributed numerous asbestos-containing products under the GAF, Ruberoid and other brand names including boards, cloths, shingles, siding, cements, pipecovering and even raw asbestos fiber product:

  • Wallcovering, Paper, Millboard, Cement Boards, Sheets
  • Textiles, Felts, Cloth
  • Cements, Adhesives, Boiler Coatings
  • Plasters, Coatings
  • Pipe, Pipe Covering and Block
  • Floor Tile
  • Raw Asbestos Fiber
  • Roofing, Shingles, Siding

By the late 1980s the company was diversified into three divisions dealing with chemicals, building materials and broadcasting.

The GAF Materials Corporation was the division that produced roofing materials and construction supplies, continuing the Ruberoid brand. This division also owned and operated an asbestos mine in Virginia until 1975. The mine and the corporation’s numerous asbestos-containing building materials products precipitated the lawsuits which forced the company to file bankruptcy in 2001.

As a result of corporate restructuring, the parent company, GI Holdings, has established a trust to address all asbestos-related claims while the GAF Materials Corporation continues to operate as the largest roofing manufacturer in North America.


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