Frank Martinez, Jr.

Frank Martinez, Jr., began his career as a glassblower, making scientific instruments for DuPont. During the 1950s DuPont marketed analytical and process instruments developed by Martinez for in-house use. One of the key instruments that Martinez produced was the gas chromatograph. It was in this capacity that he first worked for Aaron Martin.

Martinez was much more than a glassblower or technician. One of his colleagues developed the concept of temperature programming, but DuPont did not consider it an important improvement and so chose neither to patent the process nor to pursue commercialization. Martinez saw potential in the new idea and obtained permission to manufacture chromatographs himself. The result was K&M Scientific Glassware, which Martinez initially operated out of his basement. Thanks to a successful magazine advertisement in Analytic Chemistry, the new company was soon receiving large numbers of orders. In 1958 Martinez resigned from DuPont to manufacture chromatographs and run K&M.

The following year Aaron Martin and C. Eugene Bennett decided to leave DuPont to venture into the scientific instrument business. They made an offer to buy K&M Scientific Glassware, but Martinez refused. Instead Martinez agreed to a partnership and became head of the new company—F&M Scientific Corporation—because as Martin later put it, he was the owner of the original company and the only partner with appreciable business experience.

Within seven years F&M Scientific Corporation was producing $7 million in sales and employing four hundred people worldwide. In 1965 F&M was sold to Hewlett-Packard, enabling that company to gain a cutting-edge presence in the chemical analytical instrumentation industry.


F&M Scientific's model 17a gas chromograph. Courtesy of Hewlett-Packard.

Arnold O. Beckman

CHF’s Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry was started with a generous grant from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation in 1987.


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