Samuel Andrews (chemist)

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For other people of the same name, see Samuel Andrews (disambiguation).

Samuel Andrews (1836–1904) was a chemist and inventor. Born in England, he immigrated to the United States before the American Civil War, and settled in Cleveland, Ohio. He is best known as a partner in the oil refining firm of Rockefeller, Andrews & Flagler, the major predecessor company of the Standard Oil corporate empire. When the first unit was formed in 1870, Andrews owned 16.67% of Standard Oil stock.

He had already had some experience in shale oil production in the newly discovered oilfields of western Pennsylvania when in 1862 he approached two Cleveland produce merchants to become stockholders in a new enterprise. One was John D. Rockefeller, who saw the potential in Andrews' plan and invested in the venture. With this capital, Andrews designed and began a small refinery in Cleveland.

Ida M. Tarbell, an early investigative journalist and the author of The History of Standard Oil, described Andrews as "a mechanical genius" who "devised new processes" to create a better product. He is credited with inventing the chemical process called fractional distillation, which is the separation of crude oil into its components.[citation needed]

His better-known partners, Rockefeller and Henry Morrison Flagler, are credited with the marketing strategies and schemes that capitalized on Andrews' technical expertise. Both Andrews and Flagler soon took a back seat to the aggressive Rockefeller. Flagler's wife's ill-health turned his attention to Florida, where he founded the Florida East Coast Railway and helped develop many resort communities, most notably the cities of Palm Beach and Miami. While Flagler began a new career in Florida, Andrews remained in Ohio and New Jersey. He died at a hotel in Atlantic City in 1904 and his will was executed in Lakewood, dissolving his still sizeable estate.

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