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Advertisements from the Dow Chemical Historical Collection


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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In 1897, the Dow Chemical Company was founded by chemist Herbert H. Dow in Midland, Michigan. The company initially produced bromide, employing Dow's process that oxidized the brine by electrolysis. Dow expanded during World War I by replacing Germany as a supplier of explosives, aspirin, magnesium, and synthetic indigo. During World War II, Dow flourished as a manufacturer of magnesium and synthetic rubber and later with inventive consumer products like Saran Wrap and Ziploc bags. Through innovation and constant reinvention, Dow has endured as a multinational corporation providing products for both industries and consumers.

For a more detailed inventory, please view this record in our library catalog:

The bulk of this material consists of domestic print advertisements for various brands of the Dow Chemical Company, primarily taken from magazines published between 1921 and 1993. The loose advertisements primarily feature prominent Dow Chemical Company brands, such as Dowflake, Dowmetal, Magnesium, Plastics, Saran, Styron and Ziploc and are generally grouped together by product line. A subset of ephemera consists of leaflets for the Dowflake and Dowmetal Pistons products, ranging in date from 1921-1927. Notably, one of the advertisements and a magazine article in the collection feature the work of two prominent artists, Arthur Lidov and A.H. Knighton-Hammond. The posters within this collection largely consist of internal communications campaigns, such as the "Know More in 74" campaign for the advancement of women employees at Dow and the "Life is Fragile" campaign encouraging safety in the workplace. Of particular note are two booklets of rhyming verse about the Dowflake product entitled "The Two Wise Men and the Wonder Bag" (1931) and "Peter and Peggy visit the Dust Imps" (1932), which include full color illustrations aimed towards children. There is also a considerable amount of material from a 1980s campaign entitled "Dow lets you do great things" which includes print advertisements and full color storyboards from television commercials created for the campaign.

Gift of the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, 2008.

Selected materials from this collection have been digitized and are available 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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