Fred Olsen

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See Fred. Olsen & Co. for the Norwegian shipping firm.
Fredrich Olsen
Born (1891-02-28)February 28, 1891
Newcastle upon Tyne
Died November 2, 1986(1986-11-02) (aged 95)
Guilford, Connecticut
Citizenship  United States
Nationality  United Kingdom
Fields chemistry
Institutions Picatinny Arsenal
Western Cartridge Company
Olin Corporation
Alma mater Washington University in St. Louis
Known for ball propellant

Fredrich Olsen (1891–1986) was a British-born American chemist remembered as the inventor of ball propellant[1] and as a donor to the art antiquities collections of Yale University, the University of Illinois, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[2]

Professional chemist[edit]

Olsen was born 28 February 1891 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Following education in Canada, he began his professional career in 1917 as chief chemist for the Aetna Explosives Company of Gary, Indiana. When Aetna went out of business following World War I,[2] Olsen worked at Picatinny Arsenal from 1919 to 1929 devising a remanufacturing process to preserve deteriorating military inventories of smokeless powder in artillery ammunition manufactured during World War I. He was then employed by the Western Cartridge Company of East Alton, Illinois, where he patented the Ball Powder® manufacturing process in 1933. Western Cartridge Company became an Olin Corporation subsidiary in 1944, and Olsen was appointed Olin's vice president for Research and Development in 1952.[3]

Art antiquities[edit]

Olsen and his wife, the former Florence Quittenton, were collectors of Coptic art, Pre-Columbian art, African Art, Modern Art and early Chinese art. He commissioned a house designed by Tony Smith in Guilford, Connecticut that was completed in 1953. He was also the original purchaser of Jackson Pollock's "Blue Poles." Following his retirement from Olin Corporation in 1956, they purchased a winter home in Antigua from which they explored the ancient Arawak realm. They traveled the rivers of Suriname, Guyana and Venezuela in dugout canoes. They also found Arawak artifacts on 22 of 27 Caribbean islands they visited.

Olsen received an Honorary Doctorate from Heriot-Watt University in 1985 [4]

Olsen died in Guilford, Connecticut on 2 November 1986; and much of his art and artifact collection was preserved at American universities.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "A Brief History of Winchester Smokeless Propellants". Winchester. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Saxon, Wolfgang. "Dr. Fred Olsen, Industrial Chemist, Art Collector and Scholar, is Dead". New York Times. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  3. ^ "Dr. Fred Olsen appointed Vice President of Olin Industries, Inc." (PDF). Ecusta Paper Company. Retrieved 20 February 2015. 
  4. ^ webperson@hw.ac.uk. "Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh: Honorary Graduates". www1.hw.ac.uk. Retrieved 2016-04-05.