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KOBE, KENNETH ALBERT (1905–1958). Kenneth Albert Kobe, chemical engineer and professor, was born in Osakis, Minnesota, on March 19, 1905, the son of Albert M. and Mildred (Stillwell) Kobe. At the University of Minnesota he earned a B.S. in 1926, an M.S. in 1928, and a Ph.D. in 1930. He joined the chemical engineering faculty of the University of Washington at Seattle as instructor in 1931, then rose to the rank of assistant professor in 1934 and associate professor in 1939. Kobe married Jeneva K. Holm on July 6, 1932, and they became the parents of two children.

Kobe was hired by the University of Texas as professor of chemical engineering in 1941. After 1946 he was also associate director of the Bureau of Industrial Chemistry. In addition to his university career he served as consultant to several oil and chemical companies, among them the DuPont Ammonia Corporation, the Seattle Gas Company, the Manganese Products Corporation, and the Submerged Combustion Corporation; he was also consultant to the Conselho Nacional do Petroleo of Brazil. He was a major in the Chemical Warfare Service from 1942 to 1944 and later served as a lieutenant colonel in the United States Air Force Reserve.

He held seven patents on tear gas, submerged combustion, and the recovery of manganese and sodium sulfate. He also discovered a way to improve synthetic rubber and was part of a team that developed a new method for concentrating fruit juices. He wrote four books, among them Inorganic Process Industries (1948) and Petroleum Refining with Chemicals (1956), and more than a hundred articles for scientific, technical, and trade publications. He held membership in several professional organizations and served as national president of Omega Chi Epsilon from 1955 until his death. Kobe died in Austin on November 2, 1958, and was buried in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Who's Who in America, 1950–51.

Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl, "KOBE, KENNETH ALBERT," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed November 27, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.