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Repauno Works photographs

1895-1975
 Collection
Identifier: 1976-309

Abstract

DuPont Company Repauno Works manufactured high explosive dynamite. The company began as the Repauno Chemical Company on June 7, 1880, by Lammot du Pont (1831-1884), a chemist working for the family business, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, a chemical company which originally produced gunpowder. This collection of photographs includes numerous views of the buildings, facilities, employees, and plant operations and activities.

Dates

  • 1895-1975

Creator

Extent

6 Linear Feet

Physical Description

1 album containting 66 photographic prints: b&w ; 7 x 11 in. Approximately 1,650 photographic prints : b&w ; 8.5 x 11 in. or smaller. 1 photographic print : color ; 20.5 x 15.5 in. 6 negatives : b&w ; 4 x 5 in. or smaller. 7 items.

Historical Note

DuPont Company Repauno Works manufactured high explosive dynamite. The company began as the Repauno Chemical Company on June 7, 1880 founded by Lammot du Pont (1831-1884). Lammot du Pont was a chemist working for the family business, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, a chemical company which originally produced gunpowder. Additional subscriptions were secured from E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company (DuPont Company), the Laflin & Rand Powder Company, and the Hazard Powder Company, the latter already controlled by the DuPont Company. Initially, the DuPont Company did not get involved in dynamite production directly; it felt the product too new and dangerous, but supported Lammot du Pont in his efforts. The company built its works at a remote site on the Delaware River near Gibbstown, New Jersey, taking its name from nearby Repaupo Creek Explosions claimed a number of lives over the course of dynamite production, including Lammot du Pont’s in an explosion in 1884.

The Eastern Dynamite Company was incorporated in New Jersey on June 28, 1895, for the purpose of acquiring the stocks of the Repauno Chemical Company, the Hercules Powder Company in California, and the Atlantic Dynamite Company and operating them in the interest of the big three gunpowder producers. In 1902, the cousins Alfred I. du Pont (1864-1935), Pierre S. du Pont (1870-1954) and T. Coleman du Pont (1863-1930) acquired control of DuPont, Laflin & Rand and Hazard, and in the following year they vested all operations in the E.I. du Pont de Nemours Powder Company. The Repauno Chemical Company was merged into the Eastern Dynamite Company in May 1904. In 1902, the du Ponts built the Eastern Laboratory, one of their first research facilities, at the Repauno Works.

In 1912, DuPont was ruled in violation of the antitrust laws, and to restore competition, parts of its assets were transferred to two new, independent firms, the Atlas Powder Company and the Hercules Powder Company. Under this plan, the Eastern Dynamite Company was dissolved, and its plants distributed among the new companies. The Repauno Works stayed with E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company as part of its Explosives Department.

The Eastern Laboratory was responsible for bringing production of TNT to Repauno. After the TNT manufacturing process was refined, production moved from the Eastern Laboratory to Repauno. Despite following strict safety procedures, the Repauno Works experienced another devastating explosion on May 15, 1916. The explosion killed fourteen people and destroyed two buildings. The explosion stood for nearly fifty years as the worst in DuPont Company history. The TNT plant was not rebuilt at Repauno. Following World War I, chemists at the Eastern Laboratory began to explore acid production. Throughout the interwar period and following World War II, acid production was refined. In 1954, dynamite production was phased out in favor of the production of commodity chemicals, primarily acids, especially nitric acid.

Scope and Content

The collection consists of materials, primarily photographs, relating to the Repauno Dynamite Works and Eastern Laboratory of the E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, located near Gibbstown, New Jersey. Included are numerous views of the buildings, facilities, employees, and plant operations and activities, especially from the late nineteenth century and mid-twentieth century. Of particular note are approximately 300 photographs documenting the dismantlement of Eastern Laboratory in 1971 and 1972; in many instances, both before and after photographs of the dismantlement are included. Additionally, there are many photographs which document damage from explosions, fires, etc.

This collection also contains a large number of photographs used in the Repauno newsletter Dynam-Item, which was published monthly from 1939 to 1970. Among these photographs are images of employees receiving awards, employee dinners & luncheons, construction projects at Repauno and recreation & leisure activities, including the annual company picnic at Clementon Lake Park in Clementon, New Jersey. Also present are photographs used in the Dynam-Item safety column and in "Pensioner's Corner," the monthly column on Repauno pensioners. Many individuals pictured in these photographs are identified by name.

Related Material

E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company. Repauno Works historical files (Accession 2387), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library

Repauno Works Miscellany (Accession 0631), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library

A number of the photographs in this collection were used in "Repauno Works: 75th anniversary, 1880-1955," a special issue of the "Dynam-Item" (May 1955), a publication for the employees of the Repauno Works. A copy of this item is located in the Published Collections Department of the Hagley Library (PAM).

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Additional Description

References

  • E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company. Repauno: The First Hundred Years. Wilmington, Del: E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co, 1981. [available in Imprints Department of Hagley Library]

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
Repauno Works photographs
Status:
Author:
Judy Stevenson
Date:
2013
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin
Language of description note:
English

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Audiovisual Collections Repository

Contact:
PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA
302-658-2400