Dr. Eugene A. Markush Manufacturing Chemist and Dyestuff Industry Pioneer
Dr. Eugene A. Markush (1888-1968) Founder of Pharma Chemical Corporation Photo: 1947
Dr. Eugene A. Markush was the founder and president of Pharma Chemical Corporation of Bayonne, New Jersey, the predecessor of Verona Dyestuffs Corporation, a leading manufacturer of dyes in the US for many years. He held over 20 patents in synthetic dyes and related fields.
Dr. Markush was born in Budapest in 1888, attended various Hungarian universities, and obtained a Ph. D. degree. He emigrated to America in 1913 and did post-graduate work at Columbia University in New York. He was employed as a chemist by Lederle Laboratories, a division of American Cyanamid Corporation. He became a US citizen in 1920.
In 1917 Dr. Markush established the Pharma Chemical Corporation of Bayonne, New Jersey and began the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, chemical intermediates and dyes. The plant was located at 169 West 52nd Street. A second plant was built in the early 1950s at East 2nd Street, also in Bayonne. Administrative offices were located in New York.
In 1924 Dr. Markush was awarded a patent on pyrazolone dyes (USP No. 1,506,316) in which he claimed generic chemical structures in addition to those actually synthesized. Structures of this type were permitted after a ruling in 1925 by the US Patent Office and became known as “Markush structures”. The “Markush Doctrine” of patent law greatly increases flexibility in the preparation of claims for the definition of an invention.
Pharma Chemical Corporation merged with the Verona Chemical Company of Newark, New Jersey in 1957, forming the Verona- Pharma Chemical Corporation, a subsidiary of Bayer AG. Dr. Markush continued as president and director until his retirement in 1958.
When he died in New York in 1968, Dr. Markush was survived by his wife, the former Elizabeth Lynch, a daughter, Mrs. Gordon Wiedenkeller, and five grandchildren.
1) "Eugene Markush, Chemist, 80, Dies", New York Times, April 22, 1968 2) "In Memory of Dr. Markush", Editorial in Bayonne Facts, April 26, 1968 3) Helen Cooke, "A Historical Study of Structures for Communication of Organic Chemistry Information Prior to 1950", Org. Biomol. Chem., 2004, 2, p. 3182