1897 – 1963
During summer vacations from college, Gene Abson worked with Lester Kirschbraun, founder of the Chicago Paving Laboratory. Upon his graduation, he joined the laboratory as a chemist. In 1922, Mr. Kirschbraun left to become director of research for the Flintkote Company. At that time, Abson and Hugh Skidmore, first President of the Association of Asphalt Paving Technologists, began operating the laboratory under a joint partnership and later changed the name to the present Chicago Testing Laboratory, Inc.
Abson was one of the founders and a charter member of the Association of Asphalt Paving Technologists, served on the Board of Directors from 1937 to 1942 and was President in 1940. He was also a member of the American Institute of Chemists, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Highway Research Board, American Chemical Society, Chicago Chemist Club and the American Society for Testing and Materials. He served for many years as an active member of many ASTM committees. He is probably best known as the originator of the Abson Recovery Test.
He had an international reputation and was considered an authority on bituminous materials and construction. His advice and counsel were major contributions in the rapid growth and advancement of the asphalt paving industry. He was the author of many articles on asphalt paving and construction and was granted a number of U.S. patents on bituminous materials and processing methods. He was also a contributor to several books on asphalt, including “Asphaltic and Coal Tar Bitumens” edited by Dr. Arnold Hoiberg and published by Interscience Publishing Company.
Mr. Abson was held in high esteem by all who were interested in the field of bitumenology. He had been a consultant to the Michigan State Highway Department for many years, the Corps of Engineers Waterways Experiment Station and to numerous other state, county and city highway organizations as well as many outstanding business companies. His leadership gained a nation-wide reputation for the Chicago Testing Laboratory as a specialist in the testing of paving materials and design inspection of bituminous pavements.