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James R. Thomen collection of Experimental Station building and site photographs

circa 1900-1951
 Collection
Accession: 2012-210

Abstract

James R. Thomen (1926-) was manager of the Experimental Station from 1975 to 1985 when he retired. The DuPont Company's Experimental initially, was to be a small laboratory to screen inventions which were coming into the company from outside independent inventors specifically for research on black powder, smokeless powder, and dynamite, but soon its mission was altered and it became a large industrial research facility focused on innovative advancements in chemistry. This collection consists primarily of photographs of buildings at the Experimental Station in Wilmington, Delaware taken between 1910 and 1950.

Dates

  • circa 1900-1951

Creator

Extent

0.25 Linear Feet

Physical Description

56 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 10 in. or smaller. 17 negatives : b&w; safety film ; 4 x 5 in.

Historical Note

E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company was established in 1802 by Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours (1739-1817) and his son Éleuthère Irénée du Pont (1771-1834). The du Ponts purchased a mill site on the banks of the Brandywine River just North of Wilmington, Delaware. During wartime the company was a major supplier for the United States government. During peacetime, the company marketed their product towards sportsmen and hunters.

In 1903 the DuPont Company's Executive Committee established the Experimental Station, a research facility located on the banks of the Brandywine Creek across from DuPont'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. Both the Army and Navy, major consumers of DuPont powder, were being pressured to develop their own experimental capabilities as well as to build their own manufacturing plants. DuPont'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. Soon its mission was altered and it became a large industrial research facility focused on innovative advancements in chemistry.

Biographical Note

James R. Thomen (1926-) was manager of the Experimental Station from 1975 to 1985 when he retired. Thomen earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from Rice University in 1945. A Master of Business Administration in Statistics and Finance from University Texas in 1948. And his Doctorate degree in Industrial Engineering from Columbia University in 1955.

Thomen began working at the DuPont Company as a research engineer in 1953 in Richmond, Virigina. He worked in a variety of supervisory postions, then as plant and site managers at plants in Richmond, Virigina and Florence, South Carolina. He worked as a safety management consultant after his retirement.

Scope and Content

This collection consists primarily of photographs of buildings at DuPont's Experimental Station in Wilmington, Delaware taken between 1910 and 1950. Most photographs are labeled with the building name or number; a list of buildings on the Experimental Station campus, circa 1915, is included with the collection. In addition, there are three copies of a map of the Experimental Station site, dated 1919.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

The 4 x 5 safety film negatives stored in remote storage; please contact staff in advance of research visit to request retrieval of items.

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
James R. Thomen collection of Experimental Station building and site photographs
Status:
Author:
Judy Stevenson and encoded by Laurie Rizzo
Date:
2013
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Audiovisual Collections Repository

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