BY S. L. MEISEL
DAYTON H. CLEWELL, retired senior vice-president for Mobil Oil Corporation's research and engineering portfolio, was born December 15, 1912, in Berwick, Pennsylvania, and died November 11, 1992, in San Gabriel, California.
Elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1976, Dr. Clewell was recognized for his accomplishments in petroleum research and development as well as his public role as a defender of the energy industry.
Dr. Clewell's career, which spanned an era of great changes in society and in the energy industry, is filled with technological and managerial achievement—from his invention of a gravity meter used for oil prospecting to his general direction of the massive research effort that produced the first commercial zeolite catalyst for the refining industry.
The Great Depression was not easy on young Dayton Clewell's family, but a wealthy philanthropist recognized Dayton's potential and loaned him the money to study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where his talents in both science and communications took root. He served as managing editor of MIT's newspaper while earning his B.S. in physics in 1933, and as science correspondent to the Boston Globe until he obtained his Ph.D. in physics in 1936.
His first job, in optical research for a paint company in Pennsylvania, turned out to be ''interesting but not glamorous.''