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.
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