Oral history interview with Paul S. Greer

Oral history interview with Paul S. Greer

  • 1985-Nov-13

Paul Greer begins his interview with a short description of his upbringing in western Pennsylvania, where his father operated a successful business college. Greer studied chemistry at the small Grove City College, but with one year at Carnegie Institute of Technology, and then continued further studies in chemical engineering at Case. The years up to the outbreak of World War II were spent with Union Carbide, working on the early development of petrochemicals. Greer then moved to Washington, D.C., to join the War Production Board, but soon after transferred to the Office of the Rubber Director where he played an important role in process development and product quality of the butadiene-styrene rubber, GR-S. During this section of the interview technical details of the wartime program are discussed and the contributions of individuals assessed.

Greer stayed in Washington after the war, eventually becoming head of research and development for the Office of Synthetic Rubber. He elaborates on the balance between natural and synthetic rubber and the effect of the Korean War. The roles of cold rubber, oil- extended rubber and masterbatch rubber are explained as well as the patent actions with General Tire & Rubber Company. Greer reviews the lessons of the government rubber program and mentions the important individual and corporate contributions. After the wind-down of the government program, Greer joined the U.S. Army Research Office and he describes his functions during this final stage of his working life.

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Extent
  • 51 pages
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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

Peter J. T. Morris is currently at the Department of the History of Science and Technology of the Open University, where he is Royal Society-British Academy Research Fellow. Morris was educated at Oxford University receiving his BA, chemistry in 1978; DPhil, modern history in 1983, and he was a research fellow at the Open University from 1982 to 1984. During the period 1985–1987, Peter Morris was Assistant Director for Special Projects at the Beckman Center. He was the Royal Society–British Academy Research Fellow at the Open University, Milton Keynes, between 1987 and 1991, and Edelstein International Fellow in 1991–92. He is author of the monographs, Archives of the British Chemical Industry, 1800–1914 and Polymer Pioneers; his volume The American Synthetic Rubber Research Program was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in December 1989. Morris also co-edited Milestones in 150 Years of the Chemical Industry in 1991 and The Development of Plastics in 1994.

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Interviewee biographical information

Born
  • November 28, 1904
  • Braddock, Pennsylvania, United States
Died
  • June 11, 2006
  • Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1925 Grove City College BS Chemistry
1927 Case Institute of Technology BS Chemical Engineering
1932 Case Institute of Technology ChE

Professional Experience

Carbide and Carbon Chemicals Corporation

  • 1927 to 1942 Chemical Engineer

United States. War Production Board

  • 1942 to 1943 Senior Industrial Specialist

Reconstruction Finance Corporation

  • 1943 to 1950 Chief, Polymer Development Branch, Office of Synthetic Rubber
  • 1950 to 1955 Chief, Research and Development Division, Office of Synthetic Rubber

National Science Foundation (U.S.)

  • 1955 to 1957 Engineer

United States. Army

  • 1957 to 1974 Physical Science Administrator, U.S. Army Research Office

Cite as

Paul S. Greer, interviewed by Peter J. T. Morris in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on November 13, 1985. Philadelphia: Science History Institute, n.d. Oral History Transcript 0021. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/jw827c59m.

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PDF — 227 KB
greer_ps_0021_FULL.pdf

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

7 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads