, Volume 46, Issue 4, pp 437–462

The U.S. Radium Industry: Industrial In-house Research and the Commercialization of Science


DOI: 10.1007/s11024-008-9111-1

Cite this article as:
Rentetzi, M. Minerva (2008) 46: 437. doi:10.1007/s11024-008-9111-1


A fierce debate ensued after the announcement in 1913 in the U.S.A. that all rights and ownership of radium-bearing ores found on public land would be reserved by the government. At stake was the State monopolization of radium that pitted powerful industrialists with radium claims, mainly in the Colorado area, against the Bureau of Mines and prestigious physicians who wished to reserve radium for medical uses. This article describes the strategies of one of the biggest U.S. radium industries that dominated the radium market, created huge customer bases, and legitimized their role within the scientific community. In contrast to the European “radium situation,” radium extraction, production, and marketing in the United States was controlled by the industry; and industrial in-house research was clearly separate from that done in academic circles. The production of knowledge was ready-made in the factory and was entangled with commercial orders and advertising patterns.


Radium industryCommercialization of scienceStandard Chemical CompanyIndustrial in-house researchRadioactivity

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law, School of Applied Mathematics and Physical SciencesNational Technical University of AthensAthensGreece