This Week’s Kent County History Quiz Answer: Dr. Robert Lee Anderson

Dr. Robert Lee Anderson’s invention of a synthetic oil made the Mustang P-51’s success in WWII possible. Source: Smithsonian Air & Space Museum website

This Week’s Kent County History Quiz Question: Name the Kent County resident who invented Anderol?

A. James Anderson

B. Robert Lee Anderson

C. Joseph McLain

D. None of the above

This Week’s Answer: Robert Lee Anderson

Anderol was invented by Dr. Robert Le Anderson who developed the world’s first approved synthetic lubricant for airplanes in 1941. A graduate of Lehigh University, Anderson opened Lehigh Chemical Co. where he started manufacturing soap products.

During World War II, he developed oils and instrument lubricants that permitted high altitude, low temperature flights and to permit sustained firing of guns until white hot. With mineral oil in short supply during the build up to the war, the development of synthetic solutions was revolutionary: military planes could fly longer distances without catastrophic engine over-heating and machine guns could work at maximum capacity.

In the post-war era, Anderol helped to revolutionize synthetic lubricant solutions. Anderol is now manufactured by a Dutch company.

Anderson started Lehigh Chemical Co. in Pennsylvania, but eventually moved the business to Kent County – first to a site on Flatland Road and then to Worton. The chemical plan site is now owned by Eastman Chemical Co.

Dr. Anderson and his wife Jeannette lived on the Chester River in Quaker Neck for many years.

The Kent County History Quiz is a weekly local brainteaser sponsored by The Peoples Bank. Kent County historian and author Joan Horsey contributes to the quiz’s development. Our goal is to create an opportunity for local learning and discussion. If you have a quiz idea, send it to steve@kentpilot.org.

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