Lawrence Katzman

Time of Service:


Place of Service:

Riverside Memorial Chapel

Burial Location:

Mount Eden Cemetery
Cartoonist, Inventor, Entrepreneur Lawrence (Larry) Katzman Lawrence Katzman, who built a small family company into the world’s largest manufacturer of vaporizers, humidifiers, heating pads and other electric health appliances, and also found time to become one of America’s leading magazine cartoonists, died on March 26. Alvin Lawrence Katzman was born in Ogdensburg, NY on June 14, 1922, to the Max Katzman, inventor of the electric vaporizer, and the former Lillian Goldfarb. He grew up in Utica, New York and Brooklyn. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1944 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering, Mr. Katzman served in the US Army Signal Corps during World War II. After service in Germany with the 3118th Signal Service Group, in 1946 he joined his father at the Kaz Manufacturing Company. The small company’s only products at the time were electric vaporizers and Kaz Inhalant medication. Ten years later he purchased the company from his father and founded Kaz, Incorporated. In 1955 he married Shirley Potash, who predeceased him in 2006. He is survived by his sons Richard and John, daughter Julie, six grandchildren, and his partner Claudia Zipkin. Kaz, Incorporated grew to manufacture vaporizers, humidifiers, heating pads, thermometers, medications, air cleaners, steam inhalers and other health and beauty products under the Kaz, Vicks and Honeywell labels. In 1999, after 54 years heading the company, he retired and passed its leadership to his son Richard. The company’s sales reached half a billion dollars and was sold to Helen of Troy in 2010. By day an electrical engineer, inventor and President and CEO of Kaz Incorporated, on evenings and weekends he could be found moonlighting as one of the leading magazine cartoonists. His cartoons, signed Kaz, appeared in The Saturday Evening Post, Esquire and other national magazines. He became the leading cartoonist of medical/doctor/hospital cartoons with the creation of his nurse character, Nellie Nifty, RN in 1950. Nurse Nellie cartoons appeared in newspapers and magazines in 21 countries. His twenty-sixNellie Nifty, RN book collections and greeting cards in five languages sold over three million copies. He was awarded the Palma d’Oro, the highest prize in international cartooning at the 19th International Salon of Humor in Bordighera, Italy. A long-time director and officer of the National Cartoonists Society and its charity arm, The Milt Gross Fund, he was awarded the Silver T-Square Award for service to the organization and, in 2005 its highest Gold Key/Hall of Fame Award. Larry set up an Internet website,, presenting weekly cartoons and his HeadLines, GagLines and A La Une acrostic-type puzzles. Apps of his puzzles and ebooks of his cartoons may be found online. Larry was also active in and served on the board of directors of The World Presidents Organization and a number of business organizations.
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