Carroll A. Hochwalt

Born: April 29, 1900 | Dayton, OH, US
Died: May 23, 1987 | St. Louis, MO, US

Carrol A. Hochwalt studied at the University of Dayton, where he received a PhD in chemical engineering. After his university studies, Hochwalt got a position at Dayon Metal Products, where Hochwalt worked with Charles Kettering and Thomas Midgley, Jr., on lead tetraethyl and other antiknock compounds. Hochwalt moved on to Monsanto Company, where he oversaw research development.

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Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0024
No. of pages: 45
Minutes: 117

Interview Sessions

Jeffrey L. Sturchio and Arnold Thackray
12 July 1985
Clayton, Missouri

Abstract of Interview

Carroll A. Hochwalt begins with his early years in Dayton, Ohio, including his student days at the University of Dayton. This is followed by his work with Charles Kettering and Thomas Midgley, Jr., at Dayton Metal Products, where Hochwalt was a significant contributor to the development of lead tetraethyl and other antiknock compounds. In the central portion of the interview Hochwalt focuses on the Hochwalt and Thomas Laboratories, its development into a large consulting research operation, the clients it served, and the products it developed. The interview concludes with Hochwalt's association with the Monsanto Company and his role in the company's research management.


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1922 University of Dayton BChE
1935 University of Dayton DSc

Professional Experience

Dayton Metal Products Company

1918 to 1920
Laboratory Assistant

General Motors Corporation

1920 to 1924
Research Chemist

Ethyl Gasoline Corporation

1924 to 1925
Production Manager

Thomas and Hochwalt Laboratories

1926 to 1936
Vice President

Monsanto Company

1936 to 1945
Associate Director, Central Research Department
1945 to 1948
Director, Central Research Department
1947 to 1964
Vice President of Research, Development, and Engineering
1948 to 1950
Coordinator, Research Developments and Patents

Chemstrand Corporation

1949 to 1950

St. Louis Research Council

1964 to 1967
1967 to 1971
Vice Chairman of the Board

St. Louis Regional Industrial Development Corporation

1965 to 1966

St. Louis Regional Commerce and Growth Association

1971 to 1973


Year(s) Award

Midwest Award, American Chemical Society, St. Louis Section


Honorary DSc, Washington University


Knight of Malta, Pope Paul VI


Honorary DSc, St. Louis University


Distinguished Alumnus Award, University of Dayton


Brotherhood Citation, National Conference of Christians and Jews (St. Louis)


Cardinal Gibbons Award, Catholic University of America


Society of Chemical Industry Medal (American Section)

Table of Contents

Childhood and Early Education

German ancestry. Parents, and father's authorship of books on sporting dogs and historical fiction. Brothers. High school education at St. Mary's Institute. Decision to study chemical engineering.

Undergraduate Education

St. Mary's Institute (University of Dayton). Professor Wohlleben. Courses and textbooks. Summer work at Dayton Metal Products. Charles Kettering. Thomas Midgley, Jr. T. A. Boyd. Degree in chemical engineering. PhD thesis.

Dayton Metal Products

Work on antiknock compounds. Lead tetraethyl. Cyclohexane pilot plant. Catalyst research. Octane number development. Kettering's leadership. Lead poisoning. Marriage. Early personal objectives. Charles A. Thomas. Use of bromides to remove engine lead residues.

Thomas and Hochwalt Laboratories

Formation. Development of fire extinguisher. Competitors. Contract with General Motors. Synthetic Rubber. Freon refrigerant. Ad in Fortune. Working relationship with Thomas. Crap game used to get payroll funds. Morton Salt. Lynn Watt. Origin of Monsanto connection as customers. Carbon remover for the Alemite Corporation. Synthetic detergents. Edgar Queeny. Purchase of Thomas and Hochwalt by Monsanto.

Early Work at Monsanto

Independence. Service on Executive Committee. Monsanto in the late 1930s. Development of synthetic detergents and fibers. Styrene pilot plant in Dayton. Acrylonitrile pilot plant in Dayton. The detergent All and Westinghouse.

Pre-Monsanto Days at Thomas and Hochwalt

Standard of New Jersey. General Motors. Santolube. Mead Paper Company. Ault and Wiborg Printing Company. National Distillers Company and quick-aged whiskey. Orange peel in laquers. Consulting fees. Laboratory fire. Staff recruitment.

Research at Monsanto

Moving Monsanto into petrochemicals, detergents, and fibers. Rubber Reserve. Styrene production in World War II. Development of Acrilan. Chemstrand. Comparisons between directing research at Thomas and Hochwalt and Monsanto.

Comments and Personal Thoughts

Bikini atomic bomb test. Advice to those entering the chemical industry. Coming importance of biotechnology.


About the Interviewer

Jeffrey L. Sturchio

Jeffrey L. Sturchio is president and CEO of the Global Health Council. Previously he served as vice president of corporate responsibility at Merck & Co., president of the Merck Company Foundation, and chairman of the U.S. Corporate Council on Africa. Sturchio is currently a visiting scholar at the Institute for Applied Economics and the Study of Business Enterprise at Johns Hopkins University and a member of the Global Agenda Council on the Healthy Next Generation of the World Economic Forum. He received an AB in history from Princeton University and a PhD in the history and sociology of science from the University of Pennsylvania.

Arnold Thackray

Arnold Thackray founded the Chemical Heritage Foundation and served the organization as president for 25 years. He is currently CHF’s chancellor. Thackray received MA and PhD degrees in history of science from Cambridge University. He has held appointments at Cambridge, Oxford University, and Harvard University, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

In 1983 Thackray received the Dexter Award from the American Chemical Society for outstanding contributions to the history of chemistry. He served for more than a quarter century on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was the founding chairman of the Department of History and Sociology of Science and is currently the Joseph Priestley Professor Emeritus.