Aaron Martin received his Ph.D. in chemistry from Pennsylvania State College (now Pennsylvania State University) in 1953. He joined DuPont’s R&D division and became a supervisor in 1958. He did not work specifically with gas chromatographs, but he quickly recognized the potential of this new technique. Among those he supervised was Frank Martinez, Jr., who was, at that time, a glassblower, making DuPont’s in-house analytical and process instruments, including gas chromatographs. Martinez soon obtained permission to manufacture his own gas chromatographs and founded his own business, K&M Scientific Glassware.
When Martin and his friend C. Eugene Bennett decided to go into the scientific instruments business themselves, they wanted to buy Martinez’s fledgling enterprise, but Martinez refused to sell. Eventually the three men agreed on a partnership. At the newly named F&M Scientific Corporation, Martin became vice president and director of research. F&M grew rapidly. Initially it sold chromatographs only in the United States, but the company soon found it necessary to expand across the Atlantic. In 1963 it opened a factory in Amsterdam, and within seven years the company had four hundred employees and sales of $7 million. In 1965 F&M was bought by Hewlett-Packard to beef up that company’s move from being a producer of measurement equipment to being a chemical analytical instrumentation company.
After the sale Martin became the manager of research and engineering in the F&M Scientific Division of Hewlett-Packard, and in 1969 he left Hewlett-Packard to become president of Marlabs, a position he retained until his retirement in 1989.