Hardy Jefferson Bowen papers1948-1993
Hardy Jefferson Bowen (1913-2003) was an engineer and scientist. He was founder and president of Industrial Models Inc., a company which built scale models as an aid in the construction of oil refineries and chemical plants. This small collection of his papers primarily consist of materials documenting his modelmaking business.
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Hardy Jefferson Bowen (1913-2003) was an engineer and scientist. He was founder and president of Industrial Models Inc., a company which built scale models as an aid in the construction of oil refineries and chemical plants.
Bowen was born March 24, 1913 in Owensboro, Kentucky, to Robert Mitchell Bowen (1882-1950) and Helen Jefferson Bowen (1882-1974). Bowen attended secondary schools in Dallas, Texas and New Rochelle, New York and graduated from Yale in 1941 with a B.S. in chemical engineering. He also received a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Delaware in 1970.
While working at DuPont Engineering, Bowen invented 3-dimensional design of process plants, which became standard engineering practice worldwide. He was founder and president of Industrial Models Inc. This company had operations in the United States, England, Holland, France, and Germany. It was first established in the old Robin Hood Theatre in Arden, Delaware in 1947. In late 1946 Bowen was visiting one of his neighbors, Frank Starr (1915-1969), and noticed a simple scale model of a chemical laboratory that Starr had built. Bowen realized that the design and construction of plants could be aided by using models.
They tested the idea by building a model, using blueprints of a distillation plant that Bowen was working on. Bowen showed it to his boss, who arranged a meeting of twenty design supervisors. While the idea wasn’t received well at the meeting, another DuPont employee, Burt Carter (dates unknown) heard about the activity. Carter had the responsibility of starting a new pigment plant at Edgemoor, and had begun construction of a crude model in his basement, believing it would be useful in training operators. Carter offered to let them build an accurate model for a fee. With a DuPont order for $4000, Bowen got a loan from Wilmington Trust and started Industrial Models, Inc. with Frank Starr as his partner. Some of the company’s catalogs also used the name Industrial Model Supplies, Inc.
He had been a resident in the Wilmington, Delaware area since 1945. Bowen died on April 30, 2003, and was survived by his wife Pauline “Polly” Bowen (1925-2015). The couple was married fifty-seven years, and had a son, two daughters, and three grandsons.
Scope and Content
The Hardy Jefferson Bowen Papers primarily consist of materials documenting his modelmaking business. They include trade catalogs from Bowen's and other modelmaking firms, financial statements from his European subsidiaries, a policy manual, and a manual on the design of process plants. There are also photographs, magazine clippings, and a statement before the Senate Finance Committee on the pending tax bill (1962), as well as material from the American Engineering Model Society.
No restrictions on access; this collection is open for research.
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- Hardy Jefferson Bowen papers
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