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Thomas W. Mastin

  • Born: December 19, 1913, New Castle, Indiana
  • Died: May 31, 1998

  Interview Details

Interview no.: 0118
Interview Date: November 14, 1994
Location: Waitehill, Ohio
Interviewer: James J. Bohning
No. of pages: 21
Sponsor: Society of Chemical Industry
Society of Chemical Industry

  Abstract of Interview

Thomas Mastin begins this interview by discussing his childhood in Indiana and the untimely death of his father. He then explains the origins of his interest in chemistry, his early career at Lubrizol, and his transition from research into management. Mastin shares his opinions on management philosophy and the place of research in the chemical industry. Finally, Mastin reflects on the changes in the industry, his receipt of the Society of Chemistry Award, and his continued interest in photography and nature study.


1938 B.S., Chemistry, Wabash College
1939 M.S., Organic Chemistry, University of Illinois
1942 Ph.D., Organic Chemistry, University of Illinois

  Professional Experience

Gelatin Products Company

1940 - 1941 Chemist

The Lubrizol Corporation

1942 - 1943 Research Chemist

The Lubrizol Corporation

1943 - 1953 Director, Chemical Research Laboratories

The Lubrizol Corporation

1953 - 1954 Assistant Director, Research and Development

The Lubrizol Corporation

1954 - 1956 Director, Research and Development

The Lubrizol Corporation

1956 - 1972 Vice President, Research and Development

The Lubrizol Corporation

1957 - 1982 Member, Board of Directors

The Lubrizol Corporation

1968 - 1972 Executive Vice President

The Lubrizol Corporation

1972 - 1978 Chief Executive Officer

The Lubrizol Corporation

1972 - 1976 President

The Lubrizol Corporation

1976 - 1982 Chairman of the Board

The Lubrizol Corporation

1982 - 1998 Retired


1973 Honorary Doctorate, Wabash College, Indiana
1977 Honor Award, Commercial Development Association
1978 Honorary Doctorate, Heidelberg College, Ohio
1981 Chemical Industry Medal, Society of Chemical Industry

  Table of Contents

Title and Description Page

Family Background and Early Education 1

Childhood in Indiana and death of father. Influence of high school chemistry teacher. Matriculation at Wabash College.

College and Graduate Studies 2

Financing college during the Depression with farmwork. Research project, under supervision of Dr. Howell, making a metal acetylide. The University of Illinois and association with Carl Marvel. Beginning of lifelong interest in birds.

Early Career at The Lubrizol Corporation 6

Research position with Cleveland Industrial Research, research arm of Lubrizol. Starting job as head of new research lab. Improving lubricants with additives. Rapid growth of Lubrizol during World War II.

Research and Development at The Lubrizol Corporation 8

Supervision of research lab. Lubrizol's philosophy towards research. Relationship with Kelvin Smith. Smith family's ties with Dow Chemical. Foreign expansion of Lubrizol.

Management Career at The Lubrizol Corporation 12

Personal opinions on management training. Continuing interest in research. Becoming a shareholder in Lubrizol. Scientific teamwork at Lubrizol.

Later Career and Retirement 15

Response to environmental concerns as CEO. Perspectives on changes in the chemical industry. Society of Chemical Industry Medal and "Intellegence of Life" speech. Continuing interest in photography and naturalism.

Notes 19

Index 20

  About the Interviewer

James J. Bohning

James J. Bohning is professor emeritus of chemistry at Wilkes University, where he was a faculty member from 1959 to 1990. He served there as chemistry department chair from 1970 to 1986 and environmental science department chair from 1987 to 1990. Bohning was chair of the American Chemical Society’s Division of the History of Chemistry in 1986; he received the division’s Outstanding Paper Award in 1989 and has presented more than forty papers at national meetings of the society. Bohning was on the advisory committee of the society’s National Historic Chemical Landmarks Program from its inception in 1992 through 2001 and is currently a consultant to the committee. He developed the oral history program of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and he was the foundation’s director of oral history from 1990 to 1995. From 1995 to 1998, Bohning was a science writer for the News Service group of the American Chemical Society. He is currently a visiting research scientist and CESAR Fellow at Lehigh University. In May 2005, he received the Joseph Priestley Service Award from the Susquehanna Valley Section of the American Chemical Society.

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