"You are one of the very few who have had the opportunity to obtain a preparation that should fit you to take a relatively higher station in life then your less-favored fellows a preparation that should place you among the leaders of men. You should go forth from your college prepared for, and with the determination, to take such part in the affairs of the world, that all men will be better off, morally, intellectually, or materially, for your having lived. You have a real mission to perform." Dr. Edward Goodrich Acheson, grandfather of Dr. James C. Acheson, in an address to Case School of Applied Opportunity in Cleveland, June 1, 1911.
His contemporaries recognized Port Huron inventor Dr. Acheson as a chemical genius. In 1908, he founded the worldwide business that still bears his name, Acheson Colloids Co.
> A former laboratory partner of Thomas Edison, he held more than 150 U.S. and foreign patents for engineering and chemical processes.
> He was a Charter member and past President of the Electrochemical Society
> Among his most important inventions was carborundum, an abrasive hard
enough to cut diamonds.
> His patents included ones for making artificial graphite and purifying carbon; a
boring machine used to mine coal and iron ore; and telephone wires which he later
sold to George Westinghouse.
Howard Archibald Acheson, Dr. James C. Acheson's father, was born in Buffalo, New York, April 1, 1900. Howard A. Acheson received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering in 1923 at Cornell University. He pursued advanced studies at Cornell for six months. In 1926 he became associated with his father's company, the Acheson Oildag Co., Port Huron, Michigan, as a sales engineer. He served as sales manager and general manager of Acheson Oildag from 1928 to 1940. In July 1940, he acquired the assets of the company and the name was changed to Acheson Colloids Corporation. The directors elected him President and Chief Executive Officer. In early 1952 the name of the company was changed to Acheson Industries, Inc., and Acheson continued as President, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of the Board to 1971, and remained Chairman of the Board until his death in 1975.
Howard Acheson's civic activities included serving as one of the founders of the Port Huron District Foundation, an organization that supported capital funds campaigns in the area, and continues as the Community Foundation of St. Clair County. He was also a donor, together with other members of the Acheson families, to help build and support the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida, and he contributed funds that assisted with the construction of the Acheson Hall of Chemistry at the University of Buffalo.