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Notable People

James Rand - Inventor & Entrepreneur

12725 Lake Shore Boulevard
James Rand 1950
James Rand 1950

In 1947, James Rand moved to Bratenahl from Connecticut to set up a laboratory in an old carriage house at 12720 Lake Shore Boulevard across the street from his Bratenahl home. He set up the Rand Development Company in 1950 with the primary aim to devise medical devices to benefit patients. The first artificial larynx was developed at the old carriage house. The first person to receive it was an East Cleveland policeman who was reinstated in his job afterward.

He was the inventor of the mechanical respirator, a tank respirator that replaced the bulky iron lung, an oxygen regulator for aircraft, a pulsating air mattress to eliminate bedsores, a plastic shoe sole, and a completely mechanized wheelchair that could be operated by mouth.

Rand also invented the Bendix automatic washer, the original Remington shaver, a non-leaking faucet valve and a metal-impregnated cloth called Milium, which was used to line coats. He was co-inventor of a defibrillator and a respirator for chest surgery. By 1951, at age 38, Rand had 100 inventions to his credit.

Rand Development prospered with James Rand featured in a cover story in Business Week magazine in 1956.

James worked in the mid-1960s on a controversial cancer vaccine and began marketing it in 1966. In 1967, the federal government took his firm to U.S. District Court and won a ban due to not enough testing on animals first and manufacturing they determined was done under unsanitary conditions. They banned the vaccine’s manufacture and use in the United States. The cancer vaccine never came available to the public. The trial was fraught with desperate cancer patients pleading for continued use of the vaccine.

In 1968, a federal grand jury indicted Rand on charges of stock manipulation and mail fraud. Those charges were later dropped in 1970 because they were based on the 1967 vaccine ban case that Rand had testified in and violated his right against self-incrimination.

An improved version of the vaccine was later tested in Mexico and showed some good results, Rand said in a 1977 interview. The results of the tests have been published in Austria, but have never been accepted in this country.

Rand Development went bankrupt in 1972 and the assets, contents of labs and offices were sold at auction.

James Henry Rand III was born on February 23, 1913, in Pelham, New York to James Henry Jr. and Miriam Rand. He was a brilliant young boy for whom conventional schooling was inadequate. At age thirteen, Rand ran away from Peekskill Military Academy in New York where he felt he would not learn anything new in science. He jumped a freight train and emerged from the boxcar in Cleveland where he spent two weeks living at the Salvation Army before he was caught and returned to his family.

He returned to the military academy, which he completed in two years instead of the usual four. He spent a year in Europe, first at the University of Vienna and the University of Berlin. Henrolled at the University of Virginia at age 16 using two names: H. J. Rand and James H. Rand, in order to complete both his freshman year and his first year of Medical School.

James selected not to work at his father’s business, Remington Rand. While in his early twenties, he put together a chain of fifty-eight radio stations, that was later taken over by a larger company. His first invention was an instrument to mix the cabin atmosphere in the airplane with hydrogen enabling pilots to get the correct mix of oxygen while flying. He sold this to the Bendix Corporation who also hired him where he worked out several inventions including the automatic washing machine and the Remington electric shaver for Remington Rand, his father’s firm.

James married Mary Ann Page on February 11, 1936, in Pound Ridge, New York. They had three daughters: Miriam (Dunn) born on July 6, 1938, Deborah (Cochran) born on November 18, 1939, and Pamela (Dodson) born on April 12, 1942.

James Rand had a distinguished World War II record. He worked as a spy with the French underground until 1942 when he joined the Army Air Corps and the Office of Strategic Services. He worked in the White House map room until presidential aide Harry Hopkins discovered that he was the son of a prominent Republican and was banished.

He then became assistant chief of guided missiles, assigned to the guided missiles section in Sicily and Italy, he captured several enemy radar stations. Before the capitulation of Berlin, Rand, as a member of a secret mission, entered the city and brought out several German scientists to America.

As a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, Rand flew the first plane to carry guided missiles in combat and received many decorations, including the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, 10 battle stars in the European Theater and the Merit Ribbon.

Rand was past president of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and chairman of the 1949 heart campaign. Bethany College gave him an honorary doctorate degree and the Cleveland Jaycees named him 1949 Young Man of the Year. He founded the Cleveland Heart Society in 1953 and a founding member of the National Inventors Council.

Mary filed for separation in 1969 stating that her husband was guilty of gross neglect of duty. Rand had not paid her support money or given her funds to operate the home. James later married Martha Osborne who was born on September 19, 1924. They had a daughter Mary (Angulo).

James, a diabetic since the age of 38 and also using a heart pacemaker since 1974, died on November 6, 1978, of abdominal cancer, the disease he tried to conquer. He had used his cancer vaccine on himself. Martha died on January 25, 2011. Both are buried in Lake View Cemetery.