June 28, 1901
Smyrna, Ottoman Empire
|Died||July 10, 1996
|Occupation||Businessman, entrepreneur, industrial engineer|
|Children||Louise and Richard Manoogian|
Alexander "Alex" Manoogian (Armenian: Ալեք Մանուկեան, June 28, 1901 – July 10, 1996) was an Armenian-American industrial engineer, businessman, entrepreneur and philanthropist who had most of his career in Detroit, Michigan. He and his wife Marie donated their home to the city, which uses the Manoogian Mansion as the mayoral residence. In addition to donations to local universities, the Manoogians donated substantial monies to churches, educational institutions and charities of the Armenian Diaspora, to preserve and continue their culture.
Early life and education
Born into a Christian Armenian family in Smyrna, Ottoman Empire (modern-day Izmir, Turkey), Manoogian was 19 when he immigrated to the United States. He was a refugee from the Armenian genocide in the wake of the collapse of the empire during World War I and the rise of the Turkish nationalist movement.
Arriving in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1920, Manoogian began working as a machinist. He also worked for short periods in Rhode Island and in Massachusetts. In time he was joined by his parents, two brothers and two sisters.
Manoogian and his family moved to Detroit, Michigan in 1924, attracted to opportunities in the booming auto industry. After gaining more experience, in 1929 he founded the Masco Screw Company, later known as Masco Corporation. By 1936, in the midst of the Great Depression, Manoogian had expanded Masco to the point that it was listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Manoogian's redesign and production of the Delta faucet, which allowed one-handed use, resulted in best-selling status for the plumbing fixture and generated substantial profits for his business wealth. In 1995 his company had $3 billion in sales and had 38 percent of the domestic market for faucets.
Marriage and family
Manoogian married Marie Tatian (1902 - 1993), also an Armenian immigrant. They had a family: their daughter Louise Manoogian Simone (b. 1933) succeeded him as President of AGBU (see below). Their son Richard A. Manoogian (b. 1936) has been CEO of the family business Masco and is a major collector of American art.
Philanthropy and civic organizations
Manoogian contributed generously to charitable organizations and educational institutions, especially to the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU). In recognition, he was voted Life President in 1970 and Honorary Life President in 1989. Manoogian was also active in the Knights of Vartan; in 1940 he was elected its Avak Sparapet (National Commander).
In 1968 he established the AGBU Alex and Marie Manoogian Cultural Fund. The fund, seeded with a $1 million endowment, is devoted to the publication and translation of Armenian scholarly and literary works, and Armenian cultural material worldwide.
Through the AGBU, the Manoogians funded schools for ethnic Armenians in Southfield, Michigan; Los Angeles, California; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Sydney, Australia; Beirut, Lebanon; Zahle, Lebanon; Egypt; Tehran, Iran; Montreal, Quebec; Toronto, Ontario; and Montevideo, Uruguay (all are named for the Manoogian family). Manoogian also funded numerous Armenian churches, cultural centers, university chairs for Armenian studies and museums worldwide. He donated generously to Wayne State University in Detroit.
Legacy and honors
- Manoogian Hall, Wayne State's center for international language and linguistics, is named after him.
- In 1966 the Manoogians donated their mansion to the city of Detroit. It is used today as the mayoral residence.
- In 1982 Alex and Marie Manoogian donated funds for the construction of a museum in their name, the Treasury House Museum, on the grounds of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin in Armenia.
- 1990, was awarded the Ellis Island Medial of Honor.
- 1993, Alex Manoogian was named a National Hero of Armenia and a citizen of Armenia by President Levan Ter Petrosian, the first person outside the country to be so honored.
- 2007, at the invitation of the government of Armenia and the Armenian Apostolic Church, the remains of Marie and Alex Manoogian were moved and reinterred with full state honors on the grounds of Holy Etchmiadzin, in front of the Treasury Museum. The Archbishop, national officials and Louise Manoogian Simone, Richard Manoogian and others of their family attended the ceremony; the two children were among the speakers.
- Alex Manoogian streets in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia; in Montreal, Canada; and in Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, were named in his honor.
- Van Gelder, Lawrence (1996-07-13). "Alex Manoogian, 95; Perfected Design of Single-Handled Faucet". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-12.
- Tutag, Nola Huse with Lucy Hamilton (1988). Discovering Stained Glass in Detroit. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-1875-4., p. 99.
- "Alex and Marie Manoogian Museum", The Armenian Church, accessed 25 March 2011.
- "Alex and Marie Manoogian Interred in Holy Etchmiadzin", Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin Information Services, 17 July 2007
- Steve Takesian, "Alex Manoogian", Find A Grave