The E.I. du Pont de Nemours Niagara Plant produces a number of specialty chemicals, such as polymer acetates, sodium cyanide, and methyl chloride; the plant was purchased by the DuPont Company in 1930. This small collection of Niagara Plant historical files consists of plant histories, photographs, biographical information on personnel, drawings of plant buildings, and some artifacts.
The E.I. du Pont de Nemours Niagara Plant produces a number of specialty chemicals, such as polymer acetates, sodium cyanide, and methyl chloride; the plant was purchased by the DuPont Company in 1930. The Niagara Plant, located in Niagara Falls, New York, can be traced back to two chemical companies founded in the late nineteenth century. The first was the Niagara Electro-Chemical Company, formed in 1896, which manufactured metallic sodium. The second was Roessler & Hasslacher (R&H), which began in 1885 as a precious metals business that later developed into a specialized producer of chlorine products, hydrogen peroxide, other oxides, and metal cyanides. Both companies were very successful and understood the value of combining their companies to form even greater success. They merged in 1925 and operated the Niagara plant until 1930 when DuPont purchased their assets. The purchase ensured DuPont a steady flow of raw materials for the manufacture of dyes and tetraethyl led. In addition, the R&H acquisition provided DuPont with access to numerous specialized chemicals such as sodium cyanide used in electroplating, methyl chloride for refrigerants, hydrogen peroxide for oxidizing and bleaching, formaldehyde for plastic and disinfectants, dry-cleaning agents, fumigants, insecticides, and ceramic colors.
The plant operated as the R&H Department of DuPont until 1946, when it became known as the Electrochemical Department; in 1971, it was transferred to the Industrial Chemicals Department. The following products were marketed from the plant: polymer acetates, chlorine products, ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, cyanides, and several other specialty chemicals. The Niagara Plant was included as part of the DuPont Performance Chemicals spinoff that created the Chemours Company in July 2015.
Scope and Content
The records from DuPont Niagara include several histories, each written progressively in time to reflect additional successes at the plant. There are also biographies of leading personnel responsible for the formation of the early Niagara Electrochemical Company plant and the Roessler & Hasslacher Company, precursors to the DuPont plant. Many photographs depict buildings, equipment, and personnel within the plant, as well as various events in the community in which DuPont personnel participated to raise funds for the United Way and other non profit agencies. Included in the records are also photo-historical records and written descriptions of plant anniversary celebrations, particularly the 60th anniversary celebration of the plant, and the 100th anniversary of the sodium industry.
There are three artifacts included in the collection, which consist of a time clock and two 500 ml. beakers used at the plant. A small series of drawings depict plant shops, maps, and plot plans, one of which depicts rail and truck connections. Lastly, included is a Union Carbide Corp. informational booklet that contains photographs of the company's Clarksburg, West Virginia, plant, as well as various facts and figures.