Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mallinckrodt's Harold Thayer Remembers It All

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mallinckrodt's Harold Thayer Remembers It All

Article excerpt

In Harold Thayer's self-mocking words, the reason he took a double major at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was that "I knew I wasn't brilliant enough to win a Nobel prize as a scientist. So I took a combination of chemical engineering and business administration. I thought I might be able to do something with that."

Head of Mallinckrodt Chemical Co. from 1957 to 1986, he had a manner suited for the job, an elemental personality. He seemed to be the perfect guy to run a company famous for producing clean chemicals, the company whose production of uranium helped usher in the atomic age.

One of Thayer's fondest memories is of the meeting between physicist Arthur Holly Compton and Edward Mallinckrodt Jr. that resulted in the company's commitment to uranium processing. Compton told Mallinckrodt that he thought the Germans were perhaps as much as two years ahead developing the ultimate weapon. Would Mallinckrodt get involved?

"Mallinckrodt said he would, and they shook hands on it," Thayer recalled. …

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