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Carroll A. Hochwalt

  • Born: April 29, 1900, Dayton, Ohio
  • Died: May 23, 1987, St. Louis, Missouri

  Interview Details

Interview no.: 0024
Interview Date: July 12, 1985
Location: Clayton, Missouri
Interviewers: Jeffrey L. Sturchio and Arnold Thackray
No. of pages: 45
Minutes: 150

  Abstract of Interview

Carroll A. Hochwalt begins with his early years in Dayton, Ohio, including his student days at the University of Dayton. This is followed by his work with Charles Kettering and Thomas Midgley, Jr., at Dayton Metal Products, where Hochwalt was a significant contributor to the development of lead tetraethyl and other antiknock compounds. In the central portion of the interview Hochwalt focuses on the Hochwalt and Thomas Laboratories, its development into a large consulting research operation, the clients it served, and the products it developed. The interview concludes with Hochwalt's association with the Monsanto Company and his role in the company's research management.


1922 B.Ch.E. University of Dayton
1935 D.Sc. University of Dayton

  Professional Experience

Dayton Metal Products Company

1918 - 1920 Laboratory Assistant

General Motors Corporation

1920 - 1924 Research Chemist, Tetraethyl Lead Division

Ethyl Gasoline Corporation

1924 - 1925 Production Manager

Thomas and Hochwalt Laboratories

1926 - 1936 Vice President

Monsanto Company

1936 - 1945 Associate Director, Central Research Department

Monsanto Company

1945 - 1948 Director, Central Research Department

Monsanto Company

1947 - 1964 Vice President of Research, Development, and Engineering

Monsanto Company

1948 - 1950 Coordinator, Research Developments and Patents

Chemstrand Corporation

1949 - 1950 President

St. Louis Research Council

1964 - 1967 Director

St. Louis Research Council

1967 - 1971 Vice Chairman of the Board

St. Louis Regional Industrial Development Corporation

1965 - 1966 President

St. Louis Regional Commerce and Growth Association

1971 - 1973 Director


1956 Midwest Award, American Chemical Society, St. Louis Section
1962 Honorary D.Sc., Washington University
1963 Knight of Malta, Pope Paul VI
1964 Honorary D.Sc., St. Louis University
1967 Distinguished Alumnus Award, University of Dayton
1969 Brotherhood Citation, National Conference of Christians and Jews (St. Louis)
1970 Cardinal Gibbons Award, Catholic University of America
1971 Society of Chemical Industry Medal (American Section)

  Table of Contents

Title and Description Page

Childhood and Early Education 1

German ancestry. Parents, and father's authorship of books on sporting dogs and historical fiction. Brothers. High school education at St. Mary's Institute. Decision to study chemical engineering.

Undergraduate Education 4

St. Mary's Institute (University of Dayton). Professor Wohlleben. Courses and textbooks. Summer work at Dayton Metal Products. Charles Kettering. Thomas Midgley, Jr. T. A. Boyd. Degree in chemical engineering. Ph.D. thesis.

Dayton Metal Products 6

Work on antiknock compounds. Lead tetraethyl. Cyclohexane pilot plant. Catalyst research. Octane number development. Kettering's leadership. Lead poisoning. Marriage. Early personal objectives. Charles A. Thomas. Use of bromides to remove engine lead residues.

Thomas and Hochwalt Laboratories 12

Formation. Development of fire extinguisher. Competitors. Contract with General Motors. Synthetic Rubber. Freon refrigerant. Ad in Fortune. Working relationship with Thomas. Crap game used to get payroll funds. Morton Salt. Lynn Watt. Origin of Monsanto connection as customers. Carbon remover for the Alemite Corporation. Synthetic detergents. Edgar Queeny. Purchase of Thomas and Hochwalt by Monsanto.

Early Work at Monsanto 18

Independence. Service on Executive Committee. Monsanto in the late 1930s. Development of synthetic detergents and fibers. Styrene pilot plant in Dayton. Acrylonitrile pilot plant in Dayton. The detergent All and Westinghouse.

Pre-Monsanto Days at Thomas and Hochwalt 22

Standard of New Jersey. General Motors. Santolube. Mead Paper Company. Ault and Wiborg Printing Company. National Distillers Company and quick-aged whiskey. Orange peel in laquers. Consulting fees. Laboratory fire. Staff recruitment.

Research at Monsanto 27

Moving Monsanto into petrochemicals, detergents, and fibers. Rubber Reserve. Styrene production in World War II. Development of Acrilan. Chemstrand. Comparisons between directing research at Thomas and Hochwalt and Monsanto.

Comments and Personal Thoughts 33

Bikini atomic bomb test. Advice to those entering the chemical industry. Coming importance of biotechnology.

Notes 37

Index 40

  About the Interviewer

Jeffrey L. Sturchio

Jeffrey L. Sturchio is president and CEO of the Global Health Council. Previously he served as vice president of corporate responsibility at Merck & Co., president of the Merck Company Foundation, and chairman of the U.S. Corporate Council on Africa. Sturchio is currently a visiting scholar at the Institute for Applied Economics and the Study of Business Enterprise at Johns Hopkins University and a member of the Global Agenda Council on the Healthy Next Generation of the World Economic Forum. He received an A.B. in history from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in the history and sociology of science from the University of Pennsylvania.

Arnold Thackray

Arnold Thackray founded the Chemical Heritage Foundation and served the organization as president for 25 years. He is currently CHF’s chancellor. Thackray received M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in history of science from Cambridge University. He has held appointments at Cambridge, Oxford University, and Harvard University, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

In 1983 Thackray received the Dexter Award from the American Chemical Society for outstanding contributions to the history of chemistry. He served for more than a quarter century on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was the founding chairman of the Department of History and Sociology of Science and is currently the Joseph Priestley Professor Emeritus.

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