Smith, G. Frederick (George Frederick) (1891-) | University of Illinois Archives

Name: Smith, G. Frederick (George Frederick) (1891-)

Historical Note:

George Frederick Smith (1891-1976) was professor (1927-56) and professor emeritus (1956-76) of analytical chemistry at the University of Illinois (UI). He was a renowned analytical chemist best known for his work with perchlorates and his contributions to applied science.

Smith was born in Lucasville, Ohio, in 1891, and grew up in Columbus, Ohio. He earned a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D., from the University of Michigan, specializing in analytical chemistry and perchlorates. He joined the chemistry faculty at UI in 1921, rising to the rank of professor in 1927. Over the course of his career, he published more than 170 papers, a majority on his primary research interest in perchloric acid and perchlorate salts, but also in other areas such as phenanthroline and cerium compounds. He made magnesium perchlorate for industrial use from his home garage before expanding and opening the G. Frederick Smith Chemical Company in Columbus, Ohio, in 1928, which is still in existence today. During the Great Depression, Smith and his student, Charles Getz, used nitrous oxide to develop the first spray-can product, a whipped cream called Instantwhip.

Smith died in 1976.


"G. Frederick Smith Memorial Lecture Series Fund," Department of Chemistry (UIUC), accessed May 13, 2020,

Ralph H. Müller, "G. Frederick Smithâ??Distinguished Chemist," Analytical Chemistry 39, no. 1, (January 1967): 115A. Accessed May 13, 2020,

"Smith, George Frederick (1891-1976)," Department of Chemistry (UIUC), accessed May 13, 2020,

Wikipedia, s.v. "G. Frederick Smith," accessed May 13, 2020,

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