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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

SMITH, ALBERT W. - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

SMITH, ALBERT W. (4 Oct. 1862 - 4 Mar. 1927), chemist, professor, and a founder of Dow Chemical Co., was born in Newark, Ohio to Geo. H. and Mary Smith, graduated from the University of Michigan in chemistry (1885), received a B.S. from Case School of Applied Science (1887), and his Ph.D. from the University of Zurich (1891). Smith was professor of metallurgy and chemistry at Case from 1891-1907, when he became head of the metallurgical engineering department, serving there until 1911, when he succeeded CHAS. F. MABERY† as head of the chemistry department. Smith headed that department until his death. He had a reputation as an informal but dedicated teacher.

As a student at Case, Smith became friends with HERBERT DOW†, with whom he established Dow Chemical Co., providing not only his knowledge but also part of the initial funding. He was an original director and chemical consultant for the firm. Smith also helped establish Midland Corp., a subsidiary of Dow, to develop products from the deep-well brines from which Dow produced bromine. At Midland, Smith developed processes to manufacture chloroform and carbon tetrachloride. Midland was eventually absorbed by Dow. During WORLD WAR I, Smith helped Dow and the war effort by developing machinery to produce mustard gas in large quantities. Smith served on Cleveland's water purification commission under mayor NEWTON D. BAKER† and was influential in having the west side water-filtration plant built. Smith married Mary Wilkinson in 1890. Their 3 sons, ALBERT K.†, KENT H.†, and Vincent K., were among the founders of LUBRIZOL CORP. Smith is buried at LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.

Smalheer, Calvin V. The Story of Lubrizol, (1972).

Last Modified: 22 Jul 1997 02:46:00 PM

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