E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company. Experimental Station
Hagley Museum & Library
Manuscripts & Archives Department
P.O. Box 3630
Wilmington, DE 19807-0630
80 linear ft.
In 1903 the Du Pont Company's Executive Committee established the Experimental Station, a research facility located on the banks of the Brandywine Creek across from Du Pont's first black powder works. Initially, the Experimental Station was to be a small laboratory to screen inventions which were coming into the company from outside independent inventors, but soon its mission was altered. Both the Army and Navy, major consumers of Du Pont powder, were being pressured to develop their own experimental capabilities as well as to build their own manufacturing plants. Du Pont's executives saw this as a major threat to the company's smokeless powder business. They resolved to make the Experimental Station an instrument to keep the Company well in front of the military. The Executive Committee also intended that the Experimental Station serve as a general laboratory for research on black powder, smokeless powder, and dynamite. During the Du Pont Company's 1921 reorganization the Experimental Station became part of the Explosives Department. Scope & Content Note: The collection includes correspondence of Francis I. du Pont (1873-1942) director of the Experimental Station and Fin Sparre (1879-1944) chief chemist, research reports and test data which documentthe research, development, manufacture, testing, and storage of dynamite, stabillite, smokeless powder, nitroglycerin, and cellulose. The records also document the ballistic research which was conducted in cooperation with the government. The collection contains annual reports, reports on patent matters, construction projects, divisional weekly reports, and reports on accounting practices and analytical methods. There are also reports from the Black and Smokeless Powder Divisions, which were part of the Experimental Station files.