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Building on Air
The International Industrial Gases Industry, 1886–2006

  • Date Published: November 2015
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107033122


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About the Authors
  • The industrial gases industry originated in 1886, when a London-based company began producing high-purity oxygen. Initially, purified oxygen was a solution in search of a problem, but demand for it soared early in the twentieth century with the emergence of welding technology. By then, dramatic technological improvements in air separation and purification had emerged, as had most key firms dominating the industry today. Building on air in the decades that followed, the firms expanded their product range and geographical reach to create applications that were essential to every manufacturing process in the modern world, from semiconductor production to oil refining, waste water treatment, and steel-making. This is the first scholarly history of this vital but invisible industry from its origins to the present. Based on unparalleled access to company and public archives, the book explores business and technological development, industrial evolution, and the industry's local roots and international and global reach.

    • The first scholarly history of the industrial gases industry
    • Traces innovation in production, distribution, transport, storage systems and applications
    • Based on extensive archival research in company and public archives
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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107033122
    • length: 479 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 160 x 33 mm
    • weight: 0.83kg
    • contains: 46 b/w illus. 31 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Defining an Industry, 1886–1914:
    1. From oxygen to industry
    2. Competition and cooperation in expanding markets to 1914
    Part II. Seeking Equilibrium in an Age of Turbulence, 1914–60:
    3. Strategy and structure: from the Great War to the 1930s
    4. The Great Depression, the Second World War, and the industrial gases industry
    5. Reinventing the industry starting in the 1950s
    Part III. Mass Production, Specialization, and Internationalization, 1960–80:
    6. Internationalization of the industry: the UK and the European continent in the 1960s and 1970s
    7. Internationalization of the industry: the US market and the re-entry of the Europeans in the 1970s
    8. Broadening the stage
    Part IV. Concentration, Consolidation, and Competition, 1980–2006:
    9. Contested markets and industry challenges in the 1980s
    10. Globalization and growth through the turn of the twenty-first century

  • Authors

    Raymond G. Stokes, University of Glasgow
    Since 2005, Raymond G. Stokes has held the Chair of Business History at the University of Glasgow, where he also serves as Director of the Centre for Business History in Scotland. His book The Business of Waste: Great Britain and Germany, 1945 to the Present (with co-authors Roman Köster and Stephen Sambrook) was published by Cambridge University Press in 2013.

    Ralf Banken, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt
    Ralf Banken is a Privatdozent at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt and a researcher in the Department of History at the University of Cologne.

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