Ralph E. Ablon dies at 105

Editor’s Note — The original story is below. We’ve added more details about Mr. Ablon’s career in the following.


Pioneering industrialist and corporate dynast, Ralph E. Ablon, founder of Ablon Corp., has died at the age of 105.

He passed away on Monday, April 9, after spending his final days in his Brentwood, California home, according to a family statement.

Bolstered by his wife, Isabel Stein Ablon, and his 11 children, Ablon grew Ablon to be the largest privately-held American industrial conglomerate.

In 1952, he set up the privately-held Ablon Corp, and during his more than 80 years in the family business he became one of America’s most well-known industrialists.

A landmark aircraft body

Ablon actually transformed two major American industries, aviation and agriculture.

He founded Ablon Corp. with seed purchase records in 1915 and rebuilt it into the largest privately-held American industrial conglomerate.

In 1923, Ablon Corp. built the world’s first fixed wing aircraft body, the PT-19. It became a standard civil and military aircraft, and he designed a number of pieces of new technology.

The first power washing machine, a process so complex that Ablon had to invent a way to wash for several hours.

Ablon also patented the first permanent vegetal cover, called fiber-reinforced brick. It is still used on most barracks built after World War II.

‘A brilliant manager’

In 1939, Ablon Corp. contracted with the US Army to manufacture windmill gears for the aircraft crop dusters. In 1946, the company was awarded a contract to manufacture aircraft parts. By 1959, they were shipping more than 25,000 parts a month to aircraft manufacturers in the United States and Europe.

The acquisition of the Steir Co. in 1980 was a turning point for Ablon. With Ablon’s investment, the company acquired the largest network of cotton mills in the country and the largest network of sugar cane mills in the country.

Ralph E. Ablon https://t.co/IgfQYgQDmt — Ablon Corp. (@alphangrassmill) January 12, 2017

And when Ablon Corp. bought two oil refineries in 1986 and 1986, they were the largest petroleum refinery in the world.

The company remains in a position to control any large network of refineries.

“Ralph was a highly respected industry figure, not only for his family fortune but for his role as the founder of Ablon Corp., which went on to become one of the largest industrial conglomerates in the world. His empire-building ability, which helped Ablon reach the same heights that his family achieved, has inspired his children to follow in his footsteps,” the family said in a statement.

And they offer their condolences to his wife, Isabel Ablon: “It was a privilege to know and work with Isabel, a woman who was both a pioneer in the family’s business ventures and a dedicated matriarch and a pillar of the community. She and her husband shared a love of life and their vision for a great world.”

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