John H. Dessauer

John H. Dessauer
John H. Dessauer
Aschaffenburg, Germany
Associated organizations
Fields of study
IEEE Frederik Philips Award


John H. Dessauer was born May 13, 1905, in Aschaffenburg, Germany. Receiving his early education abroad, he went on to the Albertus Magnus University in Freiburg for liberal arts studies. He then took up chemical engineering at the Institute of Technology in Munich where he obtained the equivalent of a bachelor of science degree. He received his master's and doctor's degrees in engineering sciences at the Institute of Technology in Aachen, Germany, both magna cum laude.

Dr. Dessauer came to the United States in 1929 and first joined the research department and later the photographic paper manufacturing department of Agfa Ansco Company in Binghamton, New York. He became associated with the Rectigraph Company in 1935, shortly before the firm was purchased by The Haloid Company, forerunner of Xerox.

It was in 1938-nearly a decade before the firm turned its attention to xerography that Dr. Dessauer organized The Haloid Company's research effort which later became the Xerox Corporation Research and Engineering Division. He has directed the activities of this division since its inception, becoming executive vice president in 1959. In January 1966 Dr. Dessauer became vice chairman of the board of directors and executive vice president in charge of the Research and Advanced Engineering Division of Xerox Corporation. He was a director of Xerox from 1946 to 1973.

When The Haloid Company found itself faced with limited-growth prospects in the early 1940's, Dr. Dessauer searched for new technologies. He learned of a process called electrophotography, later to be named xerography. The first public demonstration of xerography took place in Detroit before the Optical Society of America in November 1948.

Dr. Dessauer was instrumental in the planning, building and equipping of Xerox's first multi-million dollar research facilities in Webster, New York, and has been in the forefront of advances made recently by the firm. He has been awarded 11 xerographic and photographic patents and is the author of many articles in these areas. His book, "My Years With Xerox," was published in 1971 and in 1965 he was co-author of "Xerography and Related Processes," the first text book in xerographic technology. The proceeds of his book "My Years With Xerox" go to the handicapped children. Dr. Dessauer has made significant contributions to scientific, charitable and academic institutions.

He is a member and councilor of the National Academy of Engineering and received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Le Mayne College in 1963. He is a trustee of the Rochester Museum and Science Center and of Fordham University. He is a fellow of the New York State Academy of Sciences and the American Institute of Chemists.

Dr. Dessauer is on the board of overseers of the chemistry visiting committee, Harvard College, and a member of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's visiting committee for chemical engineering. After Dr. Dessauer retired he formed J. D. M. Associates, a non-profit, charitable organization.

He and his wife, Margaret, have three children, Margot, John, and Thomas. He and Mrs. Dessauer reside in Pittsford, N. Y.