Company Chronology: 1890-1921

DuPont workers homes damaged by explosion1890

The largest explosion at DuPont Company Powder Works on the Brandywine occurred on October 7, 1890.

Image: Worker's homes in the Upper Banks damaged in the 1890 explosion.

Smoking stack from the boiler house of the Mooar plant in Iowa1890
Mooar Plant, Keokuk, Iowa

DuPont's Mooar plant in Keokuk, Iowa, began operation in 1890. Mooar would become the company's largest black powder factory.

Image: A view of the boiler house at DuPont's Mooar Plant.

Francis Gurney du Pont photograph1893
Smokeless Powder Plant

Frank and Pierre du Pont obtained a United States patent for smokeless powder used in shotgun shells.

Image: Francis Gurney 'Frank' du Pont (1850-1904).






Hudson and Hiram Stevens Maxim with a Maxim machine gun.1896
Purchase Smokeless Powder Patent

The Company purchased rights to Hudson Maxim's smokeless powder patent, paying him $400 a month for seventeen years.

Image: Hudson Maxim (1853-1927) and Hiram Stevens Maxim (1840-1916) with a Maxim machine gun, 1884.

Alfred I. du Pont sitting for a photograph1902
Death of Eugene du Pont

Eugene du Pont's unexpected death on January 28, 1902, left the Company without a president.

Rather than see the firm sold, Alfred I. du Pont (pictured), T. Coleman du Pont, and Pierre S. du Pont acquired the Company.

Image: Alfred I. du Pont.



Laflin Rand gunpowder label for orange extra sporting powder1902
Purchase of Laflin and Rand

In August 1902, DuPont purchased the Laflin and Rand Powder Company, one of their leading rivals. This acquisition made DuPont the nation's largest explosives manufacturer.

Image: Laflin and Rand label on a gunpowder can.



Experimental station lab1903
Opening of the Experimental Station

DuPont opened its first Experimental Station in 1903 near the location of the original powder yards on the Brandywine in Wilmington, Delaware. Work done at the Experimental Station helped DuPont enter the consumer goods market.

Image: Interior of DuPont's first Experimental Station.

The large DuPont Building in downtown Wilmington1907
Anti-Trust Legislation

On July 31, 1907, the U.S. Justice Department initiated anti-trust proceedings against DuPont. The courts ruled against DuPont in 1911, forcing the company to divest many of its recent acquisitions.

The Hercules Powder Company and Atlas Powder Company were spun off from DuPont as a result of the court ruling.

Image: The DuPont Building, Wilmington, Delaware, circa 1915. This building, built in 1907, was the company's corporate headquarters.

military police in uniform stand in formation in front of their barracks1914-1918
World War I

The DuPont Company supplied much of the smokeless powder and explosives used by Allied armies during World War I.

Image: Military police at the Brandywine Works, 1917.

Sketch of Pierre du Pont

DuPont Investment in General Motors

DuPont invested in General Motors in order to further its interests in consumer goods. Pierre S. du Pont (1870-1954) was elected as General Motors' director in 1915. He became the president of GM in 1920.

Image: Sketch of Pierre S. du Pont as president of General Motors, 1922.

Powder yard buildings facing the water

Closing of the Brandywine Works

DuPont closed the Brandywine powder yards. Low demand for black powder and the Company's move into other products facilitated the decision.

Image: Hagley Yard Roll Mills along the Banks of the Brandywine.