Oral history interview with Thomas W. Mastin

Oral history interview with Thomas W. Mastin

  • 1994-Nov-14

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.

Property Value
Place of interview
Original file type PDF, MP3
  • 21 pages
Rights Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Rights holder
  • Science History Institute
Credit line
  • Courtesy of Science History Institute

About the Interviewer

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.

Physical location


Interviewee biographical information

  • December 19, 1913
  • New Castle, Indiana, United States
  • May 31, 1998
  • Lake County, Ohio, United States


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


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

Cite as

Oral history interview with Thomas W. Mastin. Philadelphia: Science History Institute, n.d. Oral History Transcript 0118. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/7p88ch78f.

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PDF — 167 KB

The published version of the transcript may diverge from the interview audio due to edits to the transcript made by staff of the Center for Oral History, often at the request of the interviewee, during the transcript review process.

Complete Interview Audio File Web-quality download

3 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads