Charting a New Course
In the late 1950s, Air Products was still experiencing occasional financial troubles. There were Black Friday layoffs, a three-month strike, and an aborted stock offering. But these setbacks proved temporary. By 1962 the company had crossed a major watershed in its history. Sales exceeded $100 million for the first time. The stock was listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and Leonard Pool appeared on the cover of Business Week. 1
Along with these visible symbols of success came a changed corporate name, registration, and strategy for growth. In 1961 the company shifted its charter from Michigan to Delaware, a state more attuned to the requirements of corporations, and the name of the firm was changed to Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. The new name was chosen as the result of a company-wide contest. The winner was Leonard Pool! The company also adopted a new corporate logo, a stylized version of the alchemist's symbol for air. The company's home remained in the Lehigh Valley, where operations were slowly being centralized on a "green-field" site in Trexlertown, outside of Allentown. In 1958, the first elements of the new corporate center were opened, an office building and a large fabricating and machine shop.
These developments reflected deeper changes in structure and strategy. Legal, financial, and human resource issues began to receive more careful attention. In technology and in sales, the company played fresh tunes on the by-now familiar themes of expansion and diversification, pushing the growth of its industrial gas business in the United States and overseas and diversifying in a substantial man-