Hall of  

John Motley Morehead III (Nov. 3, 1870 - Jan. 7, 1965)
Inducted 1988
   Born on November 3, 1870, in Spray, NC, John Motley Morehead III would was the third in a line that included for former NC Governor (John Motley Morehead 1841-1845) and Railroad President (grandfather) and pioneering chemical manufacturer (father, James Turner Morehead). 

 Junior Achievement
   John Motley Morehead III carved his own niche becoming a successful inventor and businessman. He founded one of the world's leading chemical companies -- Union Carbide. He was a chemist, engineer, inventor and author of scientific works.  
   He attended and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1891. He became a chemist for the Willson Aluminum Company, which Thomas L. Willson and Morehead's father had founded to try a new process to produce aluminum. They failed at the aluminum process, but created a new aluminum alloy.  While he and his father were experimenting to find an inexpensive method to manufacture aluminum, when they discovered calcium carbide, which with water produced acetylene gas, at their mill in Spray (now Eden).
   The initial market for the aluminum alloy and calcium carbide was limited. So while Morehead's father and Willson continued the firm's operations, John Motley Morehead III left to find work at a New York bank and then, at Westinghouse Electric in 1895. In 1894, Morehead's father and Willson formed Electro-Gas Company to further develop the calcium carbide product as well as creating the first ferrochrome for armor plating just before the Spanish-American War.
   In 1897 J.M. Morehead III bacame associated with American Calcium Carbide Interest to built plants for the calcium carbide gas producing process.
In 1898, the Peoples Gas Light and Coke Company of Chicago took over Electro-Gas and those firms worked with American Calcium Carbine Interests. Union Carbide Company was created at the turn of the century (Virginia 1898 and Chicago 1900 captialized). 
   In November 1917, the the firms consolidated to create Union Carbide & Carbon Company, which reflected the multi-companies and their products. In 1957, the named was changed to Union Carbide Corporation, which had grown to 73,000 employees and more than 600 products by the time of Morehead 's death on January 7, 1965.
   In 1915, Morehead III married Genevieve Margaret Birkhoff. He volunteered for the service in World War I, and although overage, he was commissioned as a major in the army. After the war, he moved to Rye, NY, to be nearer the Carbide Corporation's main laboratories in that state.
   Morehead III served as mayor of Rye for three terms between 1925-1930, when he was appointed by President Herbert Hoover as envoy and minister to Sweden, serving from 1930 to 1933. In 1926, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of North Carolina. In 1931, he received the gold medal from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the only foreigner at the time to receive this award.
   In 1945, he created the Morehead Foundation to fund the Morehead Award. More than 2,300 Morehead Awards have been given to deserving college-bound students in North Carolina since its creation. At UNC at Chapel Hill, the Foundation funded the construction of The Morehead Building, dedicated in 1949. It houses the Morehead Planetarium, the Genevieve B. Morehead Art Gallery, the Morehead Observatory and other facilities. His community efforts included contributions in his hometown area (Spray, Leaksville and Draper) for high schools and hospitals.
   After his first wife's death in 1945, he married Leila Duckworth Houghton in May 1948. There were no children from either marriage.
   In September 1999, Dow Chemical and Union Carbide merged.

John Motley Morehead III

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J.M. Morehead III at the UNC planetarium

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