Army & Navy - Death of an Inventor

From an ice-coated sun deck on a suburban Evanston, Ill. home, a half-paralyzed chemist last week slipped and fell to his death. Thus prosaically ended the life of Winford Lee Lewis, 64, who invented one of the deadliest weapons of chemical warfare: lewisite.

Working at Catholic University in 1917, Lewis compounded lewisite from a poisonous black tar, produced it in quantity and turned it over to the Army's Chemical Warfare Section. A lewisite plant was erected at Willoughby, Ohio, surrounded by a high fence and heavy guards. So secret was the process that no workers were allowed to leave the premises....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!