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Wallace Hume Carothers materials on Nylon

1933-1997
 Collection
Identifier: 2726

Abstract

Wallace Hume Carothers (1896-1937) was a chemist and inventor of Neoprene artificial rubber and Nylon synthetic fiber. He worked as a chemist in E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company's Fundamental Research Program from 1928 until his death in 1937. This small collection consists of a mixture of materials collected in the decades following Carothers death related to the development of Nylon and polymerization. Included are reprinted articles, patent applications, biographical materials, and newspaper clippings.

Dates

  • 1933-1997

Creator

Extent

16 item(s)

Physical Description

1 folder. In box with Accession 2725.

Biographical Note

Wallace Hume Carothers (1896-1937) was a chemist and inventor of Neoprene artificial rubber and Nylon synthetic fiber. He worked as a chemist in E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company's Fundamental Research Program from 1928 until his death in 1937. Carothers was educated in the public schools of Des Moines, Iowa; he received his bachelor's degree at Tarkio College in Missouri and a doctorate in organic chemistry at the University of Illinois. In 1926, he was appointed instructor of organic chemistry at Harvard University. Two years later, Carothers was selected to head the research unit in organic chemistry at the DuPont Company.

At DuPont, Carothers' work focused on polymerization and the ways in which polymers structurally analogous to cellulose and silk could be prepared. In early 1930, the chemists in Carothers' laboratory produced neoprene (synthetic rubber) and the first laboratory-synthesized fiber. In 1934, still working on polymerization theory, Carothers produced the first polyamide fiber which was later to become known as Nylon. During the next two years, Carothers suffered frequent bouts of depression. On April 29, 1937, three weeks after the basic Nylon patent application was filed, he committed suicide.

Scope and Contents

Consists of a mixture of materials collected in the decades following Carothers' death. Included are reprinted articles written by Carothers on the development of Nylon and polymerization; volume 13 of the series, "Organic Syntheses," an annual publication for the preparation of organic chemicals, edited by Carothers; a biographical memoir, and one photograph of Carothers in a laboratory environment. Additionally, there are three United States patent applications issued to Carothers from 1937 to 1938, which includes his patent for Nylon and its method of production.

Additional material of note are three handwritten notes dated February 1937 discussing Carothers' Canadian patent application case for Nylon. There is also an announcement for the marriage of Carothers and Helen Everett, as well as several newspaper clippings discussing his death, contributions to the field of chemistry, and other achievements.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Related Materials

John R. Johnson and Wallace Hume Carothers correspondence (Accession 1842), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Wallace Hume Carothers papers (Accession 1896), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Oral history project notes on Wallace Hume Carothers (Accession 1985), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Oral history interviews on Wallace Carothers (Accession 1994.311), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Wallace Hume Carothers correspondence (Accession 2255), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Wallace Hume Carothers photographs (Accession 2001.224), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Wallace Hume Carothers letters to Frances Gelvin Spencer (Accession 2435), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
Wallace Hume Carothers materials on Nylon
Status:
Author:
Clayton Ruminski
Date:
2019
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Revision Statements

  • 2020: Laurie Sather

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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