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CRC PRESS, INC., an internationally known and respected publisher of scientific handbooks, texts, and reports, was begun in Cleveland in 1903 as the Chemical Rubber Co. Three brothers--Arthur, Leo, and Emanuel Friedman--formed the company as a means of financing their college educations. Operating in the back of their father's west side clothing store, they started out making rubber aprons to sell to fellow chemistry students. With the rubber sheeting left over, they made aprons and sleeves to sell to chemistry students in other high schools and colleges. Soon their list of customers numbered 3,500 high school and college chemistry departments, and the brothers expanded their product line to include rubber stoppers and tubing. Twice yearly--in Sept. and Feb.--the Friedmans solicited orders for their products.

Chemical Rubber Co. continued to grow and its product line expanded to include scientific instruments, lab supplies, and chemicals. In 1913 the Friedmans decided to advertise their products by publishing a free handbook containing useful tables and formulas. By 1952 the company was publishing annually 50,000 copies of its Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, which had become a basic reference book for scientists and students. In 1964 the company decided to emphasize publishing rather than the manufacturing of supplies and instruments; in 1973 Chemical Rubber was renamed CRC Press, Inc., and its apparatus business became the separate Lab Apparatus Co. In 1974 the multimillion dollar CRC Press, still a family-owned business, employed 125 people, had its own art and photography departments, and published about 130 titles a year and 10 quarterly journals. In 1967 the Chemical Rubber Co. moved from its 2310 Superior Ave. location to a new facility at 18901 Cranwood Pkwy. in WARRENSVILLE HTS. By 1979 CRC had left the Cleveland area.