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At 47, grey -haired, jut-jawed Alvin George Brush sometimes feels like the old-woman-in-the-shoe. As board chairman of American Home Products Corp., he runs one of the biggest and the fastest-growing drug, food and household goods companies in the U.S. Its 5,000 products range from auto paint to penicillin.

So far this year, A.H.P. has gobbled up seven companies, may still top its ’41 record, when it picked up nine. But last week kinetic Mr. Brush had his mathematical mind firmly fixed on the postwar world: he had just completed a dicker with Metropolitan Life for a $7,500,000 loan to rebuild, reorient and expand further his scattered $8,400,000 plant at war’s end.

Chemicals and Beauty. Brooklyn-born, educated at New York University (’21), Alvin Brush started as an accountant with National Aniline, watched it merge into mighty Allied Chemical & Dye. But Mr. Brush did not like the chemical business, quit to found his own accounting firm. He would probably be running it yet if a blonde Follies girl named Hazel Forbes had not sidled into his life.

In 1931, Miss Forbes married Paul Richmond, president of the R. L. Watkins Co. (Dr. Lyon’s Tooth Powder). Seven months later, Mr. Richmond died and left her his control of the company.* Mr.

Brush who had been handling the company’s accounting, was called in to manage it for her.

When Sterling Drug bought Watkins in 1934, Mr. Brush moved to Affiliated Products (Louis Philippe cosmetics). He did such a bang-up job that American Home, looking around for new blood, decided on him. The quickest way to get him was to buy his company. It did.

Buy and Profit. At the time, American Home was still making a fat $2,000,000 a year, but profits had been slipping ominously. New Board Chairman Brush skimmed over the company history, thought he saw the reason. When A.H.P. was formed in 1926, it promptly started buying up smaller companies and boosted profits in the process. When the buying stopped in ’31, the profits steadied, then dropped. Mr. Brush’s solution: start buying again.

In the next eight years, American Home picked up 34 drug and food companies for $7,642,556 in hard cash, 307,528 shares of stock (worth $18 million). It ended with a list of products that sounds like an inventory of a housewife’s cupboards: Clapp’s Baby Foods, Anacin, Black Flag insecticides, Old English Floor Wax, 3-inONE Oil; BiSoDol, Kolynos Tooth paste, G. Washington Coffee. The com pany also spread into sulfa drugs, serums, vaccines and, recently, into large-scale production of penicillin.

Cradle to Grave. All this smart, fast buying did what it was supposed to do —zoomed profits. For the first nine months this year, sales hit an alltime high of $62,000,000, with an estimated net profit after taxes of $3,200,000 ($3.50pershare).

For the year, sales will probably top $80,000,000. In the face of this, American Home has good reason not to merge into one tightly knit company. The reason: the excess-profits tax.

But now American Home is about finished buying. It has all the drug com panies it can handle without competing with itself. With a few more food com panies, Alvin Brush can achieve his post war ambition to supply the U.S. citizen’s household wants from the cradle to the grave.

* On Oct. 30 Hazel Forbes, who later married and divorced Singer Harry Richman, married Captain Charles Eberly Jr. in Kingman, Ariz.

She long ago sold out her Watkins holdings for $3,500,000.

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