Percy Julian was one of the first African American inventors admitted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.Percy Julian specialized in making drugs and medications from plants. During his lifetime, he earned more than 138 patents for his work. As a young college student bound for DePauw Percy Julian watched his family standing on the station's platform. His grandfather, a former slave freed by the Thirteenth Amendment, waved a hand missing two fingers, cut off as punishment for learning to write. It was a painful reminder of the past for Julian, and an image that would inspire him in the years ahead. After graduating from Depauw and two years at Fisk, he won an Austin Fellowship to Harvard University and earned a master's degree in 1923. During World War II, the fire-extinguishing Aero-Foam - the U.S. Navy's "bean soup" - was Julian's brainchild. This soy protein foam was used to smother oil and gasoline fires that erupted on aircraft carriers, before the flames could engulf the ships. In 1954, Julian left the Glidden Company to establish Julian Laboratories which specialized in producing his synthetic cortisone. When he discovered that wild yams in Mexico were even more effective than Soya beans for some of his products, he opened the Laboratorios Julian de Mexico in Mexico City, Mexico. He founded The Julian Laboratories, Inc., with labs in the U.S. and Mexico (both purchased by Smith Kline French in 1961) and another chemical plant in Guatemala (owned by Upjohn Company since 1961). Julian Laboratories which specialized in producing his synthetic cortisone. When he discovered that wild yams in Mexico were even more effective than Soya beans for some of his products, he opened the Laboratorios Julian de Mexico in Mexico City, Mexico. In 1961 he sold the Oak Park plant to Smith, Kline and French, a giant pharmaceutical company and received a sum of 2.3 million dollars, a staggering amount for a Black man at that time.
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