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1950s

1950s

In the post-war years, abundant oxygen was transforming the gas industry. Company founder Leonard Parker Pool was determined to compete in this "tonnage" gas market, and his plan proved as inventive as his on-site concept. Liquid hydrogen, a substance considered a laboratory curiosity, became an in-demand product in the later years of the decade, offering the company a new opportunity.

In support of America's emerging missile and space program, Air Products builds plants capable of producing tonnage quantities of liquid oxygen and nitrogen.

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Pictured: The Santa Susana Plant, featuring four 75-ton-per-day oxygen generators. It was, as Leonard Pool told his employees, "the largest single contract in [the company's] history."
With the launch of Sputnik in 1957, Air Products wins the competition to make a new rocket propellant–liquid hydrogen–for the Air Force and later NASA at the legendary "three bears" plants.

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Pictured: Aerial view of the Air Force tonnage liquid hydrogen facility at West Palm Beach, Florida. Papa Bear is in the foreground, while Mama Bear and storage tanks are visible in the distance.
The marketing concept known as "piggy-backing" is introduced—building extra gas liquefaction capacity into the on-site plants.

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Pictured: Spencer Chemical 200-ton-per-day oxygen-nitrogen plant, Vicksburg, Mississippi, U.S.
In 1957, Air Products enters the international market for industrial gases through Air Products (Great Britain), Ltd., a joint venture with the Butterley Company.

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Pictured: Members of the board of directors leaving Coombe House, New Maiden, head office of APL in UK.

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