Out of Thin Air: A History of Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., 1940-1990

By Andrew J. Butrica; Deborah G. Douglas | Go to book overview

PART I
THE ROOTS OF ENTERPRISE

For almost four centuries Americans have been launching new enterprises to provide products and services needed in this country and in foreign markets. Far more of these ventures have failed than have succeeded. Those that have survived and flourished have without exception been led in their early years by men or women of unusual energy and determination, entrepreneurs with a vision and the ability to convert ideas into successful businesses. So it was with Air Products, a multinational, high-tech corporation today, but initially only one man's dream.

To understand this transformation, it is necessary to understand the man, Leonard Pool--his origins, family, and ideas. Out of those roots in the early decades of this century came the complex enterprise we know today. Our story also grows out of the realities of the industrial gas business in the years prior to World War II. By 1940, the American oxygen industry was well established, with several large and prosperous firms. Air Products was a latecomer to the ranks of that industry. However, its precarious situation changed with the onset of war. If the beginnings were humble and the risks were great, Pool and his colleagues knew how to make opportunity their ally.

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Out of Thin Air: A History of Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., 1940-1990
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures and Tables ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Introduction xv
  • PART I THE ROOTS OF ENTERPRISE 1
  • 1: The Entrepreneur and the Engineer 3
  • 2: Air Products at War 25
  • PART II COMING OF AGE 49
  • 3: Survival and Strategies 51
  • Notes 82
  • 4: Air Products Comes of Age 83
  • 5: The Technological Enterprise and Its Culture 109
  • PART III THE MODERN FIRM EMERGES 137
  • 6: Charting a New Course 139
  • Notes 169
  • 7: Investing in the Future 171
  • 8: Triumphs and Troubles 199
  • PART IV A FORTUNE 500 CORPORATION 231
  • 9: Maturity 233
  • Notes 261
  • 10: Planning for Growth 265
  • Notes 292
  • Technical Appendix 295
  • Note 301
  • Bibliography 303
  • Index 307
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