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William Colgate (January 25, 1783 – March 25, 1857) was an English-born American manufacturer who founded what became the Colgate toothpaste company in 1806.

Born in Hollingbourne, Kent, England, Colgate was the second son of Robert Colgate and his wife Sarah (née Bowles).

Robert Colgate (1758–1826) was an 18th century English farmer, politician and sympathiser with the American War of Independence and French Revolution whose republican ideals impelled him to leave their farm in Shoreham, Kent in March 1798 and emigrate to Baltimore, Maryland, in the United States of America, after which the family settled on a farm in Harford County, Maryland. Colgate formed a partnership with Ralph Maher to manufacture soap and candles, and William helped the two men, but the partnership dissolved after two years.

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