Brush Wellman Inc.

Brush Wellman Inc. in short: beryllium, copper, alloy, rod, tube, Brush Wellman

Brush Wellman Inc.

As the holder of more than 100 patents, the founder of Brush Electric and later Brush Laboratories still tops an inventors’ hall of fame list displayed at the University of Michigan, where he obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Brush also held an honorary Ph.D from Case Western Reserve University.A Euclid, Ohio, native, he began scientific tinkering as a Cleveland public high school student in 1863. With an extremely refined apparatus of his design, he demonstrated that certain kinds of matter, when allowed to fall freely under the influence of gravity, fell faster than others under identical conditions, thus proving the ratio of mass to weight was not the same for all kinds of matter.Interested in the inventions of Dr. Carol Little, who extracted oxygen from liquid air, he became the founder of the Linde Air Products Co. in 1905, which merged in 1917 to become Union Carbide and Carbon Company.In 1921, Brush helped his son, Charles, Jr., and Charles Baldwin Sawyer establish the Brush Laboratories on the family property. It became a significant research organization, specializing in the commercialization of beryllium and the acoustic use of Rochelle salt crystals. The crystal work was closely tied to the growing sound industry of the day, particularly in motion pictures and radio. Sadly, the younger Brush died in 1927 from blood poisoning from complications of a blood transfusion he was giving to his daughter, who also died of blood poisoning. Brush passed on in 1929 during a bout of pneumonia, at the age of 80.Brush Laboratories became the Brush Beryllium Co. in 1931 under the leadership of Charles Baldwin Sawyer. He and fellow scientist, Bengt Kjellgren, developed a process of extracting beryllium from beryl ore by thermal shock techniques.The company’s sales of beryllium steadily grew through war and peacetime applications. Beryllium contributed to the development of atomic energy and high-speed aircraft. It was also used to form the heat shield for the reentry vehicle in the Project Mercury manned space flights. By 1960, the sales of beryllium metal, alloys, oxides and ceramics quadrupled.And the rest, as they say, is history.

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