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

2
Air Products at War

While Leonard Pool's first focus was on assembling the engineering team he needed, he was beset by other problems. To move ahead he would have to build an effective organization, gather capital, and perfect his product. Above all, he had to find customers and create a secure niche in the market. In the helter-skelter of responding to available opportunities, the young firm would move far beyond the initial vision of leasing on-site oxygen generators. Pool's ambition drove him to pursue every opportunity--and many opportunities were presented by the unusual demands of a wartime economy.


Chancing It

Of the numerous problems Pool faced, the easiest to solve was that of incorporation. He simply walked down the street to a local firm of lawyers and announced that he wanted to organize a company. The lawyer who handled the business was James Spencer, who would play an important role in the Air Products story. The papers of incorporation were signed on September 30, 1940 and filed on October 1: the Industrial Gas Equipment Company was born. The stated purpose of the concern was "to manufacture, produce, rent, lease, sell, and service equipment for the production of gases and to manufacture, produce, and sell gases of all kinds; and to own, lease, hold, and acquire real estate and property and equipment useful thereto." 1 Pool's venture, of which he became President and Treasurer and his

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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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