Thomas W. Mastin

Born: December 19, 1913 | New Castle, IN, US
Died: May 31, 1998 | Lake County, OH, US

Thomas Mastin begins this interview by discussing his childhood in Indiana and the untimely death of his father. He then explains the origins of his interest in chemistry, his early career at Lubrizol, and his transition from research into management. Mastin shares his opinions on management philosophy and the place of research in the chemical industry. Finally, Mastin reflects on the changes in the industry, his receipt of the Society of Chemistry Award, and his continued interest in photography and nature study. 

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Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0118
No. of pages: 21
Minutes: 69

Interview Sessions

James J. Bohning
14 November 1994
Waitehill, Ohio

Abstract of Interview

Thomas Mastin begins this interview by discussing his childhood in Indiana and the untimely death of his father. He then explains the origins of his interest in chemistry, his early career at Lubrizol, and his transition from research into management. Mastin shares his opinions on management philosophy and the place of research in the chemical industry. Finally, Mastin reflects on the changes in the industry, his receipt of the Society of Chemistry Award, and his continued interest in photography and nature study. 

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1938 Wabash College BS Chemistry
1939 University of Illinois at Chicago MS Organic Chemistry
1942 University of Illinois at Chicago PhD Organic Chemistry

Professional Experience

Gelatin Products Company

1940 to 1941
Chemist

Lubrizol Corporation

1942 to 1943
Research Chemist
1943 to 1953
Director, Chemical Research Laboratories
1953 to 1954
Assistant Director, Research and Development
1954 to 1956
Director, Research and Development
1956 to 1972
Vice President, Research and Development
1957 to 1982
Member, Board of Directors
1968 to 1972
Executive Vice President
1972 to 1978
Chief Executive Officer
1972 to 1976
President
1976 to 1982
Chairman of the Board
1982
Retired

Honors

Year(s) Award
1973

Honorary Doctorate, Wabash College, Indiana

1977

Honor Award, Commercial Development Association

1978

Honorary Doctorate, Heidelberg College, Ohio

1981

Chemical Industry Medal, Society of Chemical Industry

Table of Contents

Family Background and Early Education
1

Childhood in Indiana and death of father. Influence of high school chemistry teacher. Matriculation at Wabash College.

College and Graduate Studies
2

Financing college during the Depression with farmwork. Research project, under supervision of Dr. Howell, making a metal acetylide. The University of Illinois and association with Carl Marvel. Beginning of lifelong interest in birds.

Early Career at The Lubrizol Corporation
6

Research position with Cleveland Industrial Research, research arm of Lubrizol. Starting job as head of new research lab. Improving lubricants with additives. Rapid growth of Lubrizol during World War II.

Research and Development at The Lubrizol Corporation
8

Supervision of research lab. Lubrizol's philosophy towards research. Relationship with Kelvin Smith. Smith family's ties with Dow Chemical. Foreign expansion of Lubrizol.

Management Career at The Lubrizol Corporation
12

Personal opinions on management training. Continuing interest in research. Becoming a shareholder in Lubrizol. Scientific teamwork at Lubrizol.

Later Career and Retirement
15

Response to environmental concerns as CEO. Perspectives on changes in the chemical industry. Society of Chemical Industry Medal and "Intellegence of Life" speech. Continuing interest in photography and naturalism.

Notes
19
Index
20

About the Interviewer

James J. Bohning

James J. Bohning was professor emeritus of chemistry at Wilkes University, where he had been a faculty member from 1959 to 1990. He served there as chemistry department chair from 1970 to 1986 and environmental science department chair from 1987 to 1990. Bohning was chair of the American Chemical Society’s Division of the History of Chemistry in 1986; he received the division’s Outstanding Paper Award in 1989 and presented more than forty papers at national meetings of the society. Bohning was on the advisory committee of the society’s National Historic Chemical Landmarks Program from its inception in 1992 through 2001 and is currently a consultant to the committee. He developed the oral history program of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and he was CHF’s director of oral history from 1990 to 1995. From 1995 to 1998, Bohning was a science writer for the News Service group of the American Chemical Society. In May 2005, he received the Joseph Priestley Service Award from the Susquehanna Valley Section of the American Chemical Society.  Bohning passed away in September 2011.