| Arthur Vining Davis as painted
by Sir William Orpen in 1919
Any roster of the most innovative and successful contributors to American industrial growth and Florida land development during the first half of the twentieth century would necessarily include Arthur Vining Davis. The son of a Congregational minister, Mr. Davis moved with determination into the business world immediately after graduating at the top of his class from Amherst College in 1888.
Mr. Davis joined the Pittsburgh Reduction Company soon after completing college. Starting as a shop helper and a bookkeeper, he quickly rose through the ranks, becoming president and de facto chief executive officer of the company in 1910.
By that time the company had expanded and had been renamed the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa). During Mr. Davis' presidency, Alcoa became one of the country's most successful corporations. Under his leadership as president and later as Chairman of the Board for nineteen years, the company grew in size, profitability and influence.
Mr. Davis' activities were centered in Pittsburgh and New York until 1949 when, at the age of 82, he moved his residence to Florida. Instead of "retiring," he embarked on a new career. While leading Alcoa and serving as director of numerous major corporations, he had become interested in Florida and the Bahamas. During his residence in Florida, he invested in land and other enterprises such as banks, airlines, shipping companies and hotels. When Mr. Davis died in 1962 at age 95, he was one of the best known and respected businessmen in the Southeastern United States.