Notable People

James Rand - Inventor & Entrepreneur

12720 Lake Shore Boulevard
James Rand 1950
James Rand 1950

In 1947, James Rand moved to Bratenahl from Connecticut to set up a laboratory in a carriage house and gardener’s cottage built in 1885 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. Rand developed the first artificial larynx at the 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 mechanized wheelchair for quadriplegics that could be operated by mouth.

Rand also invented the Bendix automatic washer, the first Remington shaver, a non-leaking faucet valve, and a metal-impregnated cloth called Milium, 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. Business Week magazine featured him in a 1956 issue.

Rand testified before a House Government Operations subcommittee about the cancer-producing effects of tobacco products. Testifying with Rand was Dr. Samuel Z. Cardon, chief chemist of the corporation. Dr. Cardon testified that the corporation had produced a cigarette paper that had dropped the cancer-producing material by 60%. The cigarette paper was not on the market, but a company in France was making cigarettes with it.

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 performed under unsanitary conditions. They banned the vaccine’s manufacture and usage 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.

It was thought by some that the American Medical Association was behind the lawsuits.

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 excellent results, Rand said in a 1977 interview. The results of the tests were published in Austria, but not accepted in this country.

Rand Development went bankrupt in 1972, and the assets, contents of labs, and offices 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. Next came a year in Europe, first at the University of Vienna and the University of Berlin. He enrolled at the University of Virginia at age 16 using two names: H. J. Rand and James H. Rand, to complete 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 sold to 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 to work 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. Mary was born on November 9, 1909, in Massachusetts. They had four daughters: Mary Ann, Miriam (Dunn), born on July 6, 1938; Deborah (Cochran) born on November 18, 1939, and Pamela Sterling (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, ten 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, and the Cleveland Jaycees named him 1949 Young Man of the Year. He founded the Cleveland Heart Society in 1953 and was a founding member of the National Inventors Council.

Mary Rand 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 Maud Osborne on July 8, 1975. She was born on September 19, 1924. Martha had worked at Bonwit Teller and then as a secretary for Rand Development. James Rand’s family stated that Martha married James while he was in a coma and later woke to the news that he was married.

James, who had diabetes since age 38 and was 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. Mary died in April 1994. Martha died on January 25, 2011, and was buried alongside James in Lake View Cemetery.