Herbert Dow life and biography

Herbert Dow picture, image, poster

Herbert Dow biography

Date of birth : 1866-02-26
Date of death : 1930-10-15
Birthplace : Belleville, Ontario, Canada
Nationality : Canadian-American
Category : Science and Technology
Last modified : 2011-09-30
Credited as : chemist, Dow Chemical,

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Born in Canada and raised in Cleveland, Herbert Dow attended Case School of Applied Science (now Case Western), where he studied under future Nobel laureate Albert A. Michelson. His thesis examined underground brine, a salt and chemical-laden liquid that had generally been seen as useless, and he soon developed new methods for extracting bromine, calcium, chlorine, magnesium and sodium compounds from brine. His first attempt to make money from his findings was the Canton Chemical Company, which soon went bankrupt, and in his second attempt, the Midland Chemical Company, he was squeezed out when his business partners wanted to manufacture bromine but would not fund Dow's continuing research. He started his third venture in 1897, Dow Chemical Company, and three years later Dow Chemical absorbed Midland Chemical.

In 1915, Dow testified before Congress that protective tariffs had "saved us from bankruptcy" when German concerns had sold their cheaper bromides in the American market. World War I was the company's big break, as it was authorized to manufacture medicines and chemicals that had previously been imported from Germany, including aspirin, explosives, magnesium and synthetic indigo. He also held patents for automatic furnace controls, electric light carbons, improvements to steam and internal combustion engines, and a way to extract ethylene dibromide -- the "ethyl" of no-knock auto gasoline -- from the oceans. A Christian of no particular denomination, he made annual donations to every church in his adopted home town, Midland, Michigan.

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