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Henry Earl Lumpkin

Henry Earl Lumpkin

Detail of Image, CHF Collections

  • Born: March 1, 1920, Ingram, Texas
  • Died: July 5, 2012, Round Rock, Texas

  Interview Details

Interview no.: 0194
Interview Date: January 2, 1992
Location: Round Rock, Texas
Interviewer: Michael A. Grayson
No. of pages: 46
Sponsor: American Society for Mass Spectrometry
American Society for Mass Spectrometry

  Abstract of Interview

Henry Earl Lumpkin begins the interview by discussing his family background and how he learned to value education. His family had a tradition of attending Southwestern Texas State University and becoming school teachers. Watching his father's career persuaded him not to be a teacher and Lumpkin decided to major in chemistry and minor in physics and mathematics at Southwestern Texas State University. After graduating in three and a half years, Lumpkin joined the US Army Air Corps. In the Air Corps, he took graduate classes in meteorology at the University of California at Los Angeles. During World War II, Lumpkin was promoted to a captain and served as a Base Weather Officer. After the Air Corps, he went to work for Humble Oil and Refining Company as a mass spectrometrist. He then describes the state of instrumentation during his career at Humble and the innovations that were being made in that field. Lumpkin speaks highly of Humble's professional development program. Humble Lectures in Science Series allowed employees to take time away from work and attend classes taught by esteemed professors. Lumpkin also talks about the freedom he was given by the company's administration when submitting publications to research journals. He feels that the company's encouraging attitude towards scientific pursuit was very important. Along with his many achievements in the development of mass spectrometry, Lumpkin also played key roles in the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and the American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS). He was chairman of ASTM E-14 and Vice President of ASMS. Lumpkin ends the interview with thoughts on his colleagues and the future of mass spectroscopy.


1941 B.S., Chemistry, Southwest Texas State University
1942 Graduate work, Meteorology, University of California, Los Angeles
1944 Institute of Tropical Meteorology (University of Chicago San Juan, Puerto Rico, Campus)

  Professional Experience

United States Army Air Force

1942 - 1943 Second Lieutenant

United States Army Air Force

1943 - 1944 First Lieutenant

United States Army Air Force

1944 - 1945 Captain

Humble Oil and Refining Company

1945 - 1948 Physicist in Research and Development

Humble Oil and Refining Company

1948 - 1960 Research Chemist

Humble Oil and Refining Company

1960 - 1963 Senior Research Chemist

Humble Oil and Refining Company

1963 - 1965 Research Specialist

Esso Production Research Company

1965 - 1968 Senior Research Specialist

Exxon Research and Engineering Company

1969 - 1980 Research Associate


1938 Freshman scholarship, Southwest Texas University
1963 Secretary and Treasurer, ASTM E-14
1964 Director of Analytical Group, American Chemical Society, Southeast Texas Section
1967 Principle Speaker on Mass Spectrometry, Seventh World Petroleum Conference
1972 Chairman, ASTM E-14
1972 Vice President, Data and Standards, ASMS
1982 Organizer and first President, "Young at Heart" Round Rock Social
1985 President, Cedar Park Chapter, American Association for Retired Persons

  Table of Contents

Title and Description Page

Family Background and Education 1

Family's tradition as educators. Education at Southwest Texas State University. Learning to value education. Developing an interest in chemistry.

US Army Air Corps 6

WWII. Being assigned to the United States Army Air Corps. Taking graduate-level courses in meteorology at University of California, Los Angeles. Serving in the Ninth Weather Squadron as a meteorologist.

Career at Humble Oil and Refining Company 9

Humble Research and Development Division and mass spectrometry. Use of Consolidated Engineering Corporation (CEC) and Westinghouse Electric Corporation instruments. Heated inlet systems and other developments in mass spectrometry. Humble's transition from Standard Oil Company to Exxon Mobil Corporation.

Humble Lectures in Science Series 17

Description of courses and professors. Joe L. Franklin. Going to lunch with Linus and Ava Helen Pauling.

Publications 19

Humble's corporate process for approval for publication. Analytical Chemistry. Earl Lumpkin on Mass Spectrometry. Working for Exxon Production Research Company. Thomas Aczel. Process of obtaining and using mass spectrometers. Technical development of mass spectrometers.

American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS) 26

ASMS's predecessor the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and its meetings. Camaraderie between Texans and the singing of "The Eyes of Texas." Attending the Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (PittCon). Starting the ASTM E-14 Conference. Conference in Montreal.

Colleagues 32

Archie Hood. Jean Futrell. Burnaby Munson. John Waldron. John Beynon. Nigel Bean. Martin Elliot.

Conclusion 37

Notes 39

Lumpkin and Thomas Aczel using an Associated Electrical Industries (AEI) MS-9 mass spectrometer, June 1974.

Photograph 40

Lumpkin and Thomas Aczel using an Associated Electrical Industry [AEI] MS-9 mass spectrometer, June 1974

Index 41

  About the Interviewer

Michael A. Grayson

Michael A. Grayson is a member of the Mass Spectrometry Research Resource at Washington University in St. Louis. He received his B.S. degree in physics from St. Louis University in 1963 and his M.S. in physics from the University of Missouri at Rolla in 1965. He is the author of over 45 papers in the scientific literature. Before joining the Research Resource, he was a staff scientist at McDonnell Douglas Research Laboratory. While completing his undergraduate and graduate education, he worked at Monsanto Company in St. Louis, where he learned the art and science of mass spectrometry. Grayson is a member of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry (ASMS), and has served many different positions within that organization. He has served on the Board of Trustees of CHF and is currently a member of CHF's Heritage Council. He currently pursues his interest in the history of mass spectrometry by recording oral histories, assisting in the collection of papers, and researching the early history of the field.

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