Sabin Arnold von Sochocky

public profile

Is your surname Sochocky?

Research the Sochocky family

Sabin Arnold von Sochocky's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Sabin Arnold von Sochocky

Birthplace: Ukraine
Death: November 14, 1928 (44-45)
East Orange, New Jersey, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Reverend Josyp Sokhotsky and Emilia Petrushevych
Husband of Martha Chornij
Father of Private
Brother of Volodymyr Sokhotsky; Julian Sokhotsky; Teofil Sokhotsky and Reverend Izydor Nikon Sokhotsky

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Sabin Arnold von Sochocky

The eldest son of Rev. Josyp Sokhotsky and Emilia Petrushevych was Savyn Sokhotsky.

Dr. Savyn Sokhotsky completed his medical studies and obtained a PhD in Europe and was a chemical scientist and inventor. He came to the United States in 1906 and worked in his own established company "Radium Luminous Corporation" in New York. He died on November 14, 1928 at his home in East Orange, New Jersey after a long and difficult ailment, and as one of the first victims of radium poisoning.

Sabin von Sochocky discovered a luminous paint formula that included radium. In 1913, in order to finance his medical research he developed a radium paint and sold some 2,000 radium dial watches. Dr. Sochocky is quote as saying in 1921 that "the time will doubtless come when you will have in your own house a room lighted entirely by radium. The light, thrown off by radium paint on walls and ceiling, would in color and tone be like soft moonlight."

From 1917 to 1926, the U.S. Radium Corporation was located at the intersection of High and Alden Streets in Orange, New Jersey. Dr. Sabin Arnold von Sochocky and Dr. George S. Willis founded the company in 1917. The Radium Corporation was engaged in the extraction and purification of radium from carnotite ore to produce luminous paints, which were produced under the brand name 'Undark'. As a defense contractor, U.S. Radium was a major supplier of radioluminescent watches to the military. Their plant in New Jersey employed over a hundred workers, mainly women, to paint radium-lit watch faces and instruments.

In the US, the first company to produce radioluminescent paint was the Radium Luminous Material Corporation in Newark New Jersey (Changed their name to United States Radium Company in 1921). It was founded in 1914 by Sabin von Sochocky and George Willis, both physicians. Their operations expanded tremendously when the United States entered World War I, and in 1917 they moved from Newark to Orange, New Jersey. They also got into the business of mining and producing radium. In 1921, they changed their name to the U.S. Radium Corporation.

The brand name for the radioluminescent paint produced by US Radium Corporation was "Undark." Standard Chemical Company used the name "Luna" and the Cold Light Manufacturing Company, a subsidiary of the Radium Company of Colorado, made "Marvelite."

During World War I, the U.S. Radium Corporation was a major supplier of luminous watches to the military. However, a major setback for the Corporation occurred when a number of dial painters died from what appeared to be a variety of unrelated health causes. It was later learned that the deaths were due to radiation contamination associated with exposure to radium, one of the prime ingredients of the luminescent paint. A major route of exposure was ingestion, as the dial painters used their mouths to form a point on the radium-tainted paintbrushes, enabling them to paint the small numbers on the watches. The dial painters were some of the first victims of radioactive poisoning. Earlier, Marie Curie, who first discovered radium in 1898, died from leukemia, which in all probability was caused by her long exposure to radium. Sabin Von Sochocky discovered a luminous paint formula that included radium and founded a company that sold luminous clock and watch dials. He died from aplastic anemia, also likely caused by radium exposure.

He died November 14, 1928 at the age of 45 at his house in East Orange, New Jersey after a long and difficult illness with his teeth and fingers all gone, as one of the first researchers and victims of radium poisoning. He became poisoned still in 1925 with his own invention of painting the dial numbers and indicators on watches with radium paint, that made them visible even in complete darkness. It was used in "glow-in-the-dark" paint for many years in the early part of the 20th century, until about 1960 or so.

Ingested radium was responsible for the deaths of many dial painters (people who painted the dials on watches and clocks) during the 1920s and 30s. These dial painters were using their lips and tongues to "point" the brushes they were using to paint the dials, and thus repeatedly swallowed a small amount of the radioactive paint.

Ingested radium is extremely dangerous, as elemental radium behaves much like calcium and thus is a "bone seeker"; it goes straight into the bones, and from there causes bone cancer. Many of the painters suffered from massive jaw cancers, as the radium tended to go into the teeth and jaw areas. Bone sarcomas were quite common, and the bones also became very brittle over time.

In the Radium Corporation company, five women and Dr. Edward Lehman, a U.S. Radium's chemist,

(a partner with Dr. Sokhotsky) were poisoned. The Radium Girls, as they became to be known as, were women subjected to radiation exposure at the United States Radium Corporation factory, in Orange, New Jersey, beginning during World War I, five of whom gained notoriety for their efforts in challenging their employer in court. The five women, and many of their co-workers and radium paint plant workers from across North America, died from radiation exposure during the course of the litigation.

Dr. Harrison Stanford Martland, who treated Dr. Sochocky, confirmed that large doses of radium had gone straight to his bones, and that there was no known cure for this ailment. Nevertheless, Dr. Sochocky, who was himself a medical doctor, believed that he would gradually get better. The infusion of blood (13 times) did not produce any positive results, and furthermore, with radium poisoning came other additional ailments and complications that hastened his tragic end.

During summer holidays, Dr. Sochotsky would travel every year for a few weeks of rest to Placerville, Colorado, where he conducted intense terrain research with the aim of uncovering an iron ore that would be complimentary with the production of radium. And indeed, he was successful in uncovering such a property and purchased it quite inexpensively. The minerals, that he found in Colorado, he would send for recasting in laboratories at the Radium Corporation in New Jersey.

Leading up to his illness, Dr. Sochocky was a wealthy man, but the ensuing tragedy as a result of the poisoning of his workers, of Dr. Lehman and eventually of himself, and the 3-year medical treatments swallowed up all of his wealth. The five "Radium Girls" agreed that each would receive $10,000 and a $600 per year annuity while they lived, and that all medical and legal expenses incurred would also be paid by the company. The agreement also stipulated payment for all future medical expenses, which would be determined by an impartial panel of physicians.

The right of individual workers to sue for damages from corporations due to labor abuse was established as a result of the Radium Girls case (though the combined settlement for the Radium Girls was only $10,000). In the wake of the case, industrial safety standards were demonstrably enhanced for many decades. The case led to passage of a congressional bill, in 1949, which made all occupational diseases compensable, and extended the time during which workers could discover illnesses and make a claim.

Dr. Sochocky took an active role in the life of the Ukrainian colony in New York, in an environment that espoused the formation of a Ukrainian State in Europe. Within this community came the idea of creating a Ukrainian bank for future trade transactions between Ukraine and the United States. Dr. Sochocky was enraptured with this possibility, and readily joined the action by heading the committee that took on the project of realizing a Ukrainian Bank in the U.S. The treasurer of this committee was Dr. Semen Demydchuk who looked after the payment of membership dues. The action dragged on for a long time and finally ended with nothing, as Ukraine's independence dreams were defeated. Dr. Sochocky had extensive ties and friendships with influential Americans and with the press and on many occasions would inform them about Ukrainian issues. He was highly regarded by the American inventor Thomas Edison, who because of his stinginess did not believe in giving Christmas presents, but would always send Dr. Sochocky a little something during the Christmas Holidays.

Dr. Savyn Sochocky was married to Martha Chornij and had one daughter Stefania, who married Gury. she also has an only child daughter Savyna, who married Ropke.

The story of the workers was immortalized in the poem "Radium Girls" by Eleanor Swanson, and is included in her collection, A Thousand Bonds: Marie Curie and the Discovery of Radium (2003).

Writer D.W. Gregory also reincarnated the story of Grace Fryer through her award-winning play Radium Girls, which premiered in 2000 at the Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey in Madison, New Jersey.

Note: The Rodovid I notes that Dr. Savyn Sokotsky died "immediately upon arrival in America" but this note is wrong.

view all

Sabin Arnold von Sochocky's Timeline

November 14, 1928
Age 45
East Orange, New Jersey, United States