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DuPont Performance Elastomers, L.L.C. historical files on Neoprene

1931-2006
 Collection
Identifier: 2436

Abstract

DuPont Performance Elastomers, LLC manufactures and supplies general purpose and specialty elastomer products. Neoprene is the generic name of an artificial rubber developed by the DuPont Company in 1930 to 1931. The records consist of a mix of historical and contemporary documents assembled to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of neoprene in 1981, enlarged to cover the seventieth anniversary in 2001, and kept up with subsequent additions.

Dates

  • 1931-2006

Creator

Extent

1.5 Linear Feet

Historical Note

DuPont Performance Elastomers, LLC manufactures and supplies general purpose and specialty elastomer products. An elastomer is an elastic polymer, it includes a wide variety of synthetic and natural rubbers used for everything from sealing to adhesives to flexible parts used in aerospace, automotive, chemical, and other industries.

The company was founded in 1996 as a joint venture between two chemical companies; DuPont Company and Dow Chemical Company as DuPont Dow Elastomers, LLC. headquarted in Wilmington, Delaware manufacturing plastics. The employees of DuPont Company's Louisville Works Neoprene plant in Kentucky became employees of the new company in the deal. In 2005, the DuPont Company bought DuPont Dow Elastomers and changed the name to DuPont Performance Elastomers, opertaing the company as a wholly owned subsidiary. In 2008, DuPont Performance Elastomers shut down their Louisville Plant and concentrated Neoprene production at a sister plant in Louisiana.

Neoprene is the generic name of an artificial rubber developed by the DuPont Company in 1930 to 1931.

In 1923, Father Julius Arthur Nieuwland (1878-1936), a professor of organic chemistry at Notre Dame University, had discovered that acetylene gas could be polymerized. Two years later, Father Nieuwland met Elmer K. Bolton (1886-1968) of the DuPont Company at a meeting of the American Chemical Society. Bolton saw the commercial possibilities of Nieuwland’s discovery, and DuPont’s research chemists then began a long series of experiments at the company’s Jackson Laboratory. In the process, they discovered that Father Nieuwland’s process was not practical on a commercial scale. Further experiments let to the production of divinyl acetylene. Chemist, Dr. Arnold M. Collins (1899-1982), a colleague of Bolton's, isolated chlorophene and 2-chloro-1, 3-butadiene in 1930. Following this breakthrough, DuPont began the manufacture of its first artificial rubber, trademarked “DuPrene,” in September 1931. On December 11, 1936, it was renamed “Neoprene,” a term to be used generically.

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Scope and Content

The records consist of a mix of historical and contemporary documents assembled to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of neoprene in 1981, enlarged to cover the seventieth anniversary in 2001, and kept up with subsequent additions. Neoprene and other artificial rubbers were successively produced by the Organic Chemicals Department, the Elastomer Chemicals Department, and the Polymer Products Department, which was restyled DuPont Polymers in 1990. In 1994, DuPont and the Dow Chemical Company combined their operations in a 50/50 joint venture, DuPont Dow Elastomers, L.L.C. The partnership was dissolved subsequent to 2001, and Neoprene is now (2008) produced by DuPont Performance Elastomers, L.L.C., and its international affiliates.

The records include various internal documents on neoprene dating back to 1931, technical reports by and biographies and memoirs of the leading research chemists involved with the development of neoprene, official chronologies of neoprene research and production, samples of Neoprene made in the Louisville Works in 1942, press kits and pamphlets issued to celebrate the anniversaries, and copies of magazines and newsletters containing articles marking the neoprene anniversaries. Of particular note is an illustrated report by Oliver M. Hayden on the parallel development of artificial rubber by I.G. Farben in Germany and Imperial Chemical Industries, Ltd., in Britain. The most recent documents focus on the medical uses of neoprene and other artificial rubber.

Access Restrictions

Records less than 25 years old are closed to researchers.

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
DuPont Performance Elastomers, L.L.C. historical files on Neoprene
Status:
Author:
Christopher T. Baer
Date:
2008
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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