DuPont Company

/DuPont Company
DuPont Company 2016-12-06T05:35:22+00:00

Site of the Experimental StationThe DuPont Company was founded in July 1802. Its original factory, located along the Brandywine River near Wilmington, Delaware manufactured high-quality gunpowder. By the 1850s it was recognised as the most extensive powder-mill in the world.  After a century in business, the company began to focus on research, diversification and acquisitions, all of which moved the organisation towards becoming a chemical company. Among these early acquisitions were nitrocellulose solvents and lacquers. The famous DuPont oval trademark was also introduced around this time.

After World War 1, DuPont acquired the rights to manufacture Cellulose film from a French company and then discovered a method for moisture-proofing the material which was to revolutionise the packaging of food and other consumables. About this time, DuPont also formed a joint venture with the French firm Pathe Cinema Societe Anonyme for the production of 35mm movie film.

In the 1920s, building on what was by now its world class base in chemistry, DuPont established its "Experimental Station", a university-like site for both fundamental and applied research and development. Among its earliest discoveries were Neoprene synthetic rubber invented in 1931 and Nylon – the first truly synthetic fibre in 1934. A rapid development programme introduced this new "synthetic silk" in 1939 where it quickly set in motion the modern synthetic fibres revolution.

Other products followed including Teflon (polytetrafluorethylene or PTFE) – a remarkable substance used initially for gaskets but later to become a household name for "non-stick" cookware. Dacron and Orlon fibres (based on polyacrylonitrile) were developed as was Mylar, a strong transparent film made from polyethylene terephthalate. By the 1960s it was apparent that new innovations would be required and two-thirds of the 60 new ventures were commercialised, the most successful of which were Lycra, Kevlar a polymer based on polyimide and Tyvek. In more recent years, the Company has concerned itself with protein plastics based on corn and soyabean.

Today, DuPont defines itself as one of the world’s premier science companies, committed to care of the environment and sustainable growth. It has formed five market- and technology- focussed business groups (as well as Textiles and Interiors subsidiary) and operates in 70 countries with more than 80,000 employees. Its turnover is more than 20 billion dollars. A comprehensive history of the company was published to mark its 200th anniversary – DuPont – From the Banks of the Brandywine to Miracles of Science by Adrian Kinnane.