Quentin R. Skrabec, Ph.D., a business professor at The University of Findlay, recently published a reference book that focuses on the nation’s most devastating economic occurrences.
Titled “The 100 Most Important American Financial Crises: An Encyclopedia of the Lowest Points in American Economic History,” it identifies downturns from the Colonial era to the present.
One section focuses on Findlay during the late 1800s, when it and other communities were adversely affected by Ohio’s natural gas industry collapse.
Findlay’s boom lasted about eight years before the wells began to run dry, said Skrabec. “Pipelines to Toledo were built to supply the gas industry, but by the time they were finished, the pressure was too low. Libbey Glass had to switch to oil,” he said.
“There had been about 50 natural gas companies in Findlay” when the region’s industry was booming, Skrabec explained, which is why glass bottle collectors from all over the world now come to the area to hunt at former factory sites.
The book is filled with other facts that many may not know about. For instance following the 1918 influenza epidemic and WWI, the nation’s labor force was so devastated that tens of thousands of Mexicans, along with some Canadians, were brought in to fill the gaps, Skrabec said.
Despite the negative subject matter, there are positive trends to be found and lessons to be learned from repeated economic failures, Skrabec said. Tantamount is the fact that the nation has always recovered, he pointed out. Resiliency is a constant.
The book took Skrabec three years to write. He conducted most of his research at the University of Michigan’s library system; at the Carnegie Mellon University Libraries in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and at the Henry Ford Museum’s Benson Ford Research Center in Dearborn, Michigan.
Skrabec’s first encyclopedia, titled “The 100 Most Significant Events in American Business,” won the American Library Association’s Most Notable Business Reference Award for 2013. “The 100 Most Important American Financial Crises” has been nominated for 2015.
Skrabec, an expert in the American system of capitalism and the path to restore American enterprise, also specializes in writing books and biographies on American industrial history and capitalism. Some of those have focused on titans such as Michael Owens, George Westinghouse and H.J. Heinz. He has also published more than 80 articles about management, business, fair trade, immigration, labor and globalization.
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