Guide to the DuPont Nylon Collection
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.0007
Creators:
DuPont (E. I.) de Nemours & Company
Dates:
1939-1977
Languages:
English
Collection text is in English.
Physical Description:
1 cubic foot
4 boxes
Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Promotional booklets and pamphlets, 1940-1963, regarding nylon; catalogues on the industrial use of nylon; 25th anniversary book on nylon; photographs, and a variety of other documents. Includes memo to DuPont employees concerning the company's wartime involvement in the development of the atomic bomb.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The collection consists of promotional booklets and pamphlets, 1940-1963, regarding nylon; catalogues on the industrial use of nylon; a 25th anniversary book on nylon; World War II Christmas card of the Nylon Division of Dupont; pamphlets describing the wartime uses of nylon; technical reprints, a cartoon and a plant magazine about the Martinsville, Virginia nylon plant, 1941-1946; an employee handbook, Dupont Nylon Division, circa 1940; newsclippings and historical material for the Chattanooga plant, 1948; news clippings, initial production orders for nylon and typescript on uses and manufacture of nylon at Seaford plant, 1939-1947; publications concerning Delrin Acetal Resins; and photographs of machines for making nylon plastics of the Washington Works, 1947, with a letter from 1977 explaining this material.

Arrangement
Arrangement
Collection materials are divided into three series.
Series 1: Nylon Production, 1939-1948
Subseries 1.1:Seaford, Delaware Plant, 1939-1940
Subseries 1.2: Martinsville, Virginia, 1941-1946
Subseries 1.3: Chattanooga, Tennessee Plant, 1948
Subseries 1.4: Nylon in War, circa 1942-1945
Subseries 1.5: Photographs, 1940-1977
Series 2: Publications, 1940-1963
Subseries 2.1: Dupont Public Relations Department, 1940-1963
Subseries 2.2:Technical Reprints, News clippings and Magazine Articles About Nylon, 1940-1945
Series 3: "Delrin" Acetal Resin, 1957-1962

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
The E.I. DuPont De Nemours and Company was founded on July 19, 1802, by Eleuthere Irenee DuPont on Brandywine Creek for the purpose of manufacturing gunpowder. In 1804 the first DuPont powder went on public sale. In 1902 a new corporation was formed by three great grandsons of the founder, to more effectively compete with the changing technical field and the expanding scale and complexity of business.
During the twentieth century the corporation moved into the research and manufacture of thousands of products and processes, and consequently developed and expanded within many markets. Synthetic fibers is one of a family of products of the Dupont Corporation. In 1930, Dr. Wallace H. Carothers, working with Dr. J.W. Hill in DuPont's Fundamental Research Laboratory at Wilmington, produced the first synthetic fiber forming "superpolymer." This was the forerunner of nylon.
In 1938, the development of nylon was announced. It's first use was in brush bristles. Hosiery filaments were developed in 1939, and offered commercially in 1940. In 1941, nylon was applied to the molding industry. From l942 to 1944, nylon production was allocated completely to war uses. The best known outgrowth of the company's resarch progress, nylon is one of the most important developments in Dupont's long history. It was the result of the chemical industry's first large scale fundamental research program. And it proved to be the first of a whole family of synthetics for consumer consumption. The product was bought into commercial production at a new plant in Seaford, Delaware.
No other major chemical development had the spontaneous reception accorded to nylon. It not only changed the hosiery market but was soon developed into a multiplicity of textile applications including: tooth brushes, hair brushes, household brushes, tennis racquet strings, catheters, surgical sutures, fishing leader material, musical strings, wire insulation, self lubricating bearings for machinery, umbrellas, undergarments, shower curtains, parachutes, and rope.

Administration
Processing Information
Processed by Robert S. Harding, archivist, 1982; revised by Robert Harding, March 2000.
Author
Robert S. Harding
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Immediate source of acquisition unknown.

Digital Content
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Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
DuPont Nylon Collection, 1939-1977, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning intellectual property rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Custodial History
Custodial History
Transferred from the Division of Physical Sciences (now the Division of Medicine and Science) on April 5, 1983.

Other Finding Aids
Other Finding Aids
Inventory available.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Electric insulators and insulation -- Nylon Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gunpowder Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nylon Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Textile fibers, Synthetic Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Chemistry Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Clippings -- 20th century Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
World War, 1939-1945 -- Economic & industrial aspects -- United States Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Memorandums Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs -- 20th century Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bulletins Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
DuPont, Eleuthere Irenee Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
archivescenter@si.edu