Bibliography of Articles on Thomas Midgley Consulted

Articles negatively mentioning Midgley’s role in placing lead in gasoline:

environmental damage than anyone else in human history

environmentally disastrous

inventor of two deadliest substances 

poison on the day it was invented.

Wired Loony gas article

responsible for climate change


More conciliatory article about Midgley:

Jonathan Edwards argues “we should still remember him for being a pioneer with his heart in the right place. “Which chemist's work has touched the most lives? Marie Curie? Louis Pasteur? Joseph Lister?” By Jonathan Edwards, Chemistry World, 30 June 2008. 

Articles about Midgely’s life:

National Academies biography:  Kettering, Charles; "Biographical Memoir of Thomas Midgley, Jr.", 1947. 

Article on Midgley’s death, entertaining the possibility it was a suicide: Giunta, Carmen; "Thomas Midgley, Jr., And The Invention of Chlorofluorocarbon Refrigerants:  It Ain't Necessarily So", Bull. Hist. Chem., Volume 31, Number 2 (2006), pgs 66-74. 

From the Periodic Table to Production: The Life of Thomas Midgley, Jr., the Inventor of Ethyl Gasoline
and Freon Refrigerants
, by Thomas Midgley IV (Stargazer Publishing Company: August 1, 2001). 
ISBN-10: ‎ 0964385309   ISBN-13: ‎ 978-0964385306

 Inventor hall of fame

Dayton, Ohio writeup on legacy of Thomas Midgley.  

Edelmann, Frank T.; "The Life and Legacy of Thomas Midgley, Jr.", Papers and Proceedings fot he Royal Society of Tasmania, 150(1), 2016, pages 45-49.

Midgley’s articles:

Midgley’s description of the development of leaded gasoline and FREON.   Midgley Jr, Thomas. "From the periodic table to production." Industrial & Engineering Chemistry 29, no. 2 (1937): 241-244.

Midgley’s description of safety testing done for lead.  Midgley, Thomas, Jr; "Tetraethyl Lead Poison Hazards", Industrial and Engineering Chemistry, August 1925, pages 827-828. 


History of leaded gasoline:

Rise and Fall of Tetraethyllead.  Seyferth, Dietmar. "The Rise and Fall of Tetraethyllead. 2." Organometallics 22, no. 25 (2003): 5154-5178.    This article contains an estimate of total consumption of lead over the majority of years it was sold.  209 gigatons (metric) of leaded gasoline cumulatively sold with 8 million tons (metric) of lead.

History from a public health perspective.   William (Bill) Kovarik,, “Milestones: leaded gasoline”, INT J OCCUP ENVIRON HEALTH 2005;11:384–397, VOL 11/NO 4, OCT/DEC 2005 •

More history with an emphasis on the discovery.  Bill Kovarik.  “Charles F. Kettering and the 1921 discovery of tetraethyl lead”, Paper to the Society of Automotive Engineers, Fuels & Lubricants Division conference, Baltimore, 1994.

Bill Kovarik Ph.D. dissertation on leaded gasoline.   Lots of historical detail and more recent interviews and writings of the author. 

A study of the politics and technology of leaded fuel. “The Secret History of Lead”, By Jamie Lincoln Kitman, The Nation Institute, March 2, 2000.

NRDC report stating no amount of lead can be considered safe.  July 08, 2021 report on lead in infrastructure.  Not focused on lead in fuel applications. 

Fuel for piston-engine aircraft still contain lead.  National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Options for Reducing Lead Emissions from Piston-Engine Aircraft. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Jamie Kitman's last in a series on gasoline.  Very negative on the science surrounding the invention.  Links to several other pieces on gasoline. 

Bill Kovarik piece on leaded gasoline from December 2021.