Oral history interview with Gordon A. Cain

Oral history interview with Gordon A. Cain

  • 1992-Feb-18

Gordon A. Cain begins the interview by discussing his early influences from the chemical and engineering disciplines. He next recounts his undergraduate education at Louisiana State University during the Great Depression. He describes his first jobs in the chemical industry and his first patents. He enlisted during World War II as a captain and served in the Pacific with an Army heavy mortar company. After the war he worked in scientific intelligence in Germany.

Returning to the United States, Cain shifted the direction of his career away from chemical engineering and into management, consulting and ownership of various chemical and high technology concerns. Cain then discusses his experiences as head of Vista, Cain Chemical and the Sterling Group and the impact of venture capital and leveraged buyouts on his career and on the chemical industry. He describes his philosophy and standards for running these large companies, including employee ownership and the Deming system. Cain concludes the interview with a discussion of his family and hobbies and an analysis of the changing business climate.

Place of interview
Original file type MP3, PDF
  • 50 pages
Rights In Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted
Rights holder
  • Science History Institute
Related URL
Credit line
  • Courtesy of Science History Institute

Physical location


Cite as

Gordon Cain, interviewed by James J. Bohning in Houston, Texas on February 18, 1992. Philadelphia: Science History Institute, n.d. Oral History Transcript 0101. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/sn009z640.

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Transcript (Published Version)

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

6 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads