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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History



SMITH, ALBERT KELVIN (5 Jan. 1899 - 15 Nov. 1984), a founder of LUBRIZOL CORP. and philanthropist, was born in Cleveland to Mary Wilkinson and ALBERT W. SMITH, who with HERBERT DOW founded Dow Chemical Co. Kelvin shared his father's interest in chemistry, graduating from Dartmouth College with a bachelor's in physics in 1920, and with a bachelor's in chemical engineering from Case School of Applied Science in 1922. He worked 4 years as a chemist for Dow before becoming research director of France Mfg., and later chemical engineer for McGean Chemical Co.

In 1928, Smith and his brothers KENT H. and Vincent K. (4 June 1896-9 Mar. 1980) joined Alex Nason to form Graphite Oil Prods. Co., Lubrizol's predecessor. Smith was a leading stockholder and director of research. He founded Cleveland Industrial Research, Inc., in 1935, serving as its president until 1945. He was president of Lubrizol from 1951-62, establishing manufacturing subsidiaries in 5 foreign nations, expanding domestic operations, becoming a publicly owned company, and more than doubling its sales and earnings. Smith was chairman of the board of directors from 1964-66 and director of the company until 1971.

Smith amassed a fortune, much of which he donated to institutions and agencies in whose works he had an interest. He endowed a chair for the music director of the CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA, was a major contributor to the development and

construction of Blossom Music Ctr., and was also a trustee of the MUSICAL ARTS ASSOC. He was a trustee of Case Institute of Technology, where he funded the Albert W. Smith Merit Scholarships, and of Lake Erie College, where he helped establish an equestrian program. He endowed a professorship in physics at Dartmouth and, with his brothers, established a professorship in chemistry there.

Smith College, his wife's alma mater, also received his support. Smith gave to the CLEVELAND SOCIETY FOR THE BLIND Sight Ctr., the CLEVELAND CLINIC FOUNDATION, and the Garden Center of Greater Cleveland (see CLEVELAND BOTANICAL GARDEN), and served as a trustee of UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS and the Cleveland Health Museum. Smith served as an officer in the Ohio Mfrs. Assoc. and the Chemical Industrial Council of Ohio, and held memberships in the American Chemical Society and the Franklin Institute.

Smith married Eleanor Armstrong in 1923 and had two children: Cara and Lucia.

Smalheer, Calvin V., The Story of Lubrizol (1972).