Interview with William T. Cloud, 1958 March 31 [audio](part 1)

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  • Family history; Early life and education; Early work at DuPont
    Partial Transcript: "As far as I have any recollection and this is by hearsay of course, my father's folks came over with William Penn..." "The Miscellaneous works Division at that time encompassed several different operations or plants"
    Synopsis: Cloud talks about his family's origins in England. He says that according to his family lore they came over with William Penn. His mother is originally from New York state. He says he was born in Wilmington in 1892 then talks about his early life growing up on what was then the edge of Wilmington. He says that he went to Goldey College and got a job at DuPont on graduating. He describes his first three years of work at DuPont as a stenographer / clerk working for the Miscellaneous division in DuPont building in Wilmington, Del. He describes what his division was mostly responsible for manufacturing fuses and blasting caps.
    Keywords: Blasting caps; Chester County, Pa; Copper; Detonation; Diamond State Steel Company; DuPont; Fuses; Goldey-Beacom College; Immigration; Miscellaneous divsion; Oxford, Pa.; School; Wilmington, Del.
  • Organization of the Miscellaneous division; Going to work for T. Coleman du Pont; Discussing du Pont's plans for a road in Delaware; Relationship with T. Coleman du Pont
    Partial Transcript: "Mr. W. B. Lewis was the manager of the Miscellaneous works Division, and Robert W; McClellan was the chief clerk of that division. My duties were stenographic and clerical for the three years. I received $35 a month..." "...I recall one Sunday morning when, having been out late the night before and sleeping peacefully, along about 5:30 or 6:00 Sunday morning, I heard a commotion out in the barnyard. Getting one eye half open, I peeped out the window, and there was Mr. du Pont mending the fence. One other Sunday morning, I observed him about 6:00 A.M. currying the mules."
    Synopsis: Cloud talks about organization of the Miscellaneous department at DuPont and his wages. He explains that he was one of the first people to work in the DuPont building in 1907. He talks about HEOD or the High Explosives Operating Department. He explains how he became a secretary for T. Coleman du Pont's highway building interests and describes du Pont's plans for the highway. He says that farmers downstate fought the road because they did not want to lose any part of their land and distrusted his motivations for seeking a 200 foot right-of-way for the road. Cloud explains that du Pont envisioned future road widening projects. He describes his relationship with T. Coleman du Pont.
    Keywords: Du Pont, T. Coleman (Thomas Coleman), 1863-1930; DuPont; DuPont Highway; Georgetown, Del.; Organization; Wages; Wilmington, Del.
  • Preparing Delawareans for the DuPont Highway; Securing right of way for the road; Relationship with T. Coleman du Pont
    Partial Transcript: "I remember T. Coleman saying at one time that his boy Frank wanted an automobile."
    Synopsis: Cloud talks about preparing people in Delaware for the DuPont Highway. He describes the rivalry between Delaware's counties and says that New Castle, Kent, and Sussex counties tended to be on different sides politically. He talks about the difficulty of securing right of way for the road. He continues on his personal relationship with T. Coleman du Pont while he worked for him. He talks about his wages with T. Coleman du Pont and says he was a demanding man.
    Keywords: Advertising; Du Pont, T. Coleman (Thomas Coleman), 1863-1930; DuPont Highway; Right of way; Wages
  • Working in DuPont's Byproducts Division
    Partial Transcript: "The function of the Byproducts Section was to dispose of scrap, obsolete machinery, equipment, or whatnot, and to gain a financial return from the same."
    Synopsis: Cloud talks about working in the Byproducts Divison selling off materials that were no longer useful to DuPont. He details what he can recall about the machines from the Hagley area being sold. He says that they sold wood pulp in addition to scrap metal.
    Keywords: Byproducts Division; DuPont; Hagley Yard; Scrap; Wood pulp
  • World War I and working in the Engineering Department; Getting a job at Wayne Black Powder Mills; Operations at Wayne Black Powder Mills
    Partial Transcript: "I was transferred from the Byproducts Section to the Engineering Department, and was sent to the smokeless powder plant at Haskell, New Jersey, as stenographer and clerk."
    Synopsis: Cloud talks about operations at DuPont on the eve of World War I. He says that he was transferred from the Byproducts Division to the Engineering Division at the smokeless powder plant in Haskell, New Jersey. He talks about how the plant expanded to meet demand for the war. He talks about becoming the assistant superintendent at the Wayne Black Powder Mills. He describes how the Wayne plant made something he called "bursting powder" for the Navy. Before going to Wayne, he came to Hagley to learn how black powder mills operated. He estimates that the Wayne plants capacity was about 20 to 25 percent lower than the powder mills on the Brandywine at Hagley. He describes operations at the Wayne plant near Paterson, New Jersey.
    Keywords: Bursting powder; Hagley Yard; Haskell plant; Haskell, Nj; Paterson, Nj.; Smokeless powder; United States Navy; Wayne Black Powder Mills; World War 1914-1918
  • Job description at Wayne Black Powder Mills; Worker's village at Wayne Black Powder Mills; Building new powder magazines; Explosions at the Wayne Black Powder Mills; Wet mix for different kinds of black powder
    Partial Transcript: "I remained at Wayne from November 1917 to mid April 1919 when I was transferred to the Brandywine plant..."
    Synopsis: Cloud describes his job at the Wayne Black Powder Mills and says that his main job was to make sure things ran as efficiently as possible. He talks about the workers village at the Wayne Plant and describes the expansion of the village and the plant during World War I, focusing on the construction of new magazines for storing finished black powder. He describes how best construction practices for powder magazines changed over time. He talks about explosions when he was at the Wayne plant. Cloud describes the wet mixing process and wheeling times for different types of black powder.
    Keywords: Black powder; Blasting powder; Brandywine Powderworks; Concrete; Construction; Corrugated iron; Explosions; Hagley Yard; Powder magazines; Safety; Sporting powder; Tar paper; Wayne Black Powder Mills; Wet mix; Wood; Workers villages; World War (1914-1918)