William Meriam Burton (1865-1954), an American chemist and oil industry executive who developed a thermal cracking process that doubled the yield of gasoline from crude petroleum. This evolved into the first commercially-successful process for converting crude oil into motor gasoline and other products. He started work at the Standard Oil Company in Cleveland, Ohio as a chemist, and transferred to Standard Oil of Indiana in 1890. There, he worked his way up to Superintendent of the refinery, and later to Director, Vice Pesident, and ultimately President of the corporation in 1918. His organizational model for research institute infrastructure accelerated the advent of corporate research & development (R&D) centers in the oil, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries.
Inventor Profile: William Meriam Burton (National Inventors Hall of Fame)