Smith, as he was more commonly known, received all his degrees from the
University of Michigan, culminating in a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry
in 1922 under the guidance of H. H. Willard. Smith had joined the faculty
of the University of Illinois the year before to teach analytical chemistry.
At Michigan Smith had learned about perchlorates and, after his arrival
at Illinois, he published an article on the analysis of steel in which
he pointed out the advantages of magnesium perchlorate as a super drying
agent. Smith had prepared his own magnesium perchlorate for his tests.
Chemists in steel laboratories started asking him for some for their own
trials and Smith told them to buy it commercially, only to learn later
there was none for sale. A. H. Thomas Company then financed Smith to make
magnesium perchlorate for them, marketing it as "Dehydrite."
Smith made it in his garage laboratory for years, finally establishing
in 1928 a small perchlorate company in Columbus, Ohio, the G.H. Smith
Chemical Company. Smiths company became the largest manufacturer
of perchloric acid and perchlorate salts in the world.
During the depression one of Smiths students, Charles Getz, who
was working his way through college, learned that milk would foam if CO2
were forced into it and then the pressure released. This led to the idea
of producing whipped cream by the release of gas under pressure. Getz
and Smith found that nitrous oxide was the gas that worked best and they
developed Instantwhip, the first aerosol product to be marketed in a returnable
container. Smiths returnable container and filling system made a
process invented and patented by Getz for whipping cream under pressure