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Arthur Dehon Little

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Arthur Dehon Little (1863-1935), Chairman of Arthur D. Little Inc., of Cambridge mass, USA


1935 Obituary [1]

DR. ARTHUR DEHON LITTLE died suddenly at Northeast Harbor, Maine, U.S.A., on August 1, 1935, while on holiday.

Born in Boston on December 15, 1863, he was trained at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and began his professional work as chemist to the Richmond Paper Company, Rumford, R.I., the first mill in the United States to manufacture wood-pulp by the sulphite process.

In 1886 he opened a laboratory in Boston in partnership with R. B. Griffin for the general commercial practice of chemistry, and when his partner was killed in an accident in 1893, Dr. Little carried on the business alone for 7 years.

He formed a new partnership with Dr. William H. Walker in 1900 which continued until 1909 when the business was incorporated. In 1917, the laboratories were moved to their present address in Cambridge, Mass. The early years of the enterprise were of a pioneer nature, and it met with much opposition. Throughout these years it was only Dr. Little's unfailing optimism and faith in his profession which led to his future success.

Dr. Little took out patents for the manufacture of chrome tanned leather, potassium chlorate and cellulose acetate, and invented processes for smoke filters, for the production of newsprint from Southern woods, and for the recovery of naval stores from lumbering wastes, and his laboratory was responsible for many important inventions and processes covering a wide industrial field.

During the Great War he acted as consultant to the Chemical Warfare Service and the Signal Corps. He was in charge of special research on aeroplane dopes, acetone production, smoke filters, &c., and was the inventor of the so-called "sucked-on" gas filter, which became part of the standard equipment of the United States Army.

Dr. Little was Chairman of the Advisory Committee of National Exposition of Chemical Industries and served as a member of the Division of Engineering and Industrial Research, National Research Council, and also the Advisory Board of Superpower Survey, U.S. Geological Survey. He was President of the Alumni Association of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1921- 1922, and was made a life member of the Corporation of that Institution in 1923. He also founded the School of Chemical Engineering Practice.

Dr. Little was the author of many technical papers. In 1931 he was awarded the Perkin medal. In 1918 the University of Pittsburg conferred on him the honorary degree of Doctor of Chemistry. In 1929 he received the Honorary Associateship of the College of Technology, Manchester (England), and the University of Manchester made him honorary Doctor of Science. Corresponding degrees were conferred on him by Tufts College in 1930 and by Columbia University in 1931.

Dr. Little was a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Society of Chemical Industry, the Societe Industrielle (New York Section), the American Electrochemical Society, the American Petroleum Institute, the Institution of Petroleum Technologists (London), the Institute of Fuel (London), the American Gas Association, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Franklin Institute, and the Royal Society of Arts (London).

Dr. Little was elected a member of the Institute of Metals on May 10, 1912.


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