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Herbert H. Dow papers


Held at: Science History Institute Archives [Contact Us]315 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Science History Institute Archives. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

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Herbert Henry Dow was born in Belleville, Province of Ontario Canada on February 26, 1866. He attended Cleveland Central High School and the Case School of Applied Science. An early interest in the chemical composition of brine led Dow to concentrate on improving processes for bromine extraction from brine. A new and more efficient "blowing-out" process for bromine extraction resulted in Herbert Dow's being issued his first patent in 1889. The following year with the backing of several investors he organized the Midland Chemical Company, but internal disagreements involving research and development costs led Dow to create the Dow Process Chemical Company in Navarre, Ohio. By 1897 he was back in Midland Michigan and the assets of the Dow Process Company had been absorbed by the newly-founded Dow Chemical Company. By 1900 the new firm was profitable enough that Dow was able to merge his Dow Chemical Company operations with the Midland Chemical Company. With the outbreak of World War I and a cut-off of German-manufactured chemicals, Dow expanded into the production of calcium chloride, aniline, salicylic acid, acetic anhydride, monochloracetic acid, monochlorobenzene, phenol and magnesium in addition to bromine. Due to increased demand by manufacturers of automobiles and aircraft, magnesium proved to be an extremely profitable product during the post-war period. Herbert Dow held numerous patents by the time of his death while undergoing treatment at the Mayo Clinic on October 15 1930.

The material covers all aspects of Herbert Dow's professional career and so serves as a commentary on the early growth of Dow Chemical Company from its founding through to the beginnings of the Great Depression.

Brandt, E. N., The papers of Herbert H. Dow : a guide for the scholarly, Midland Michigan, Post Street Archives, 1990.

This is a collection of Herbert H. Dow's correspondence arranged chronologically. This collection is section 3 of the Dow Chemical Historical Collection.

This material was formerly house at the Post Street Archives in Midland, Michigan.

Selected materials from this collection have been digitized and are available online in our Digital Collections:

Source of acquisition--Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation. Method of acquisition--Gift;; Date of acquisition--2008..

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