Interview with Franklin W. Bradway, 1958 February 13 [audio](part 1)

Hagley ID:
  • Early life, youth, and father's work at Carney's Point; Getting a job at a DuPont smokeless powder plant in Brazil
    Partial Transcript: "I was born in Penn's Grove, New Jersey yes..."
    Synopsis: Bradway talks about his birth and his father. He said that his father sometimes worked for DuPont at their location in Carney's Point, N.J.. He says that this father and many of the men who worked at Carney's point spent three months of the year fishing for shad and sturgeon on the Delaware River. He talks about growing up in Penn's Grove, New Jersey. He says that his first job was in the tool room at Carney's Point machine shop. He says that Pierre Gentieu offered him a job at the lab. He says that Dr. Rissmiller, principal of the local high school suggested that he should go to the Keystone State Normal School, now Kutztown University. After a year of school he came back to the lab at Carney's Point, where he learned on the job and became familiar with the processes of making smokeless gunpowder. He says that he asked Felix du Pont for a job in Brazil that no one else had been interested in and got it. He describes the construction of the plant in Pequete, Brazil. He says the plant started construction in 1907 and was completed in 1909 with a production capacity of 1,000 pounds of powder in a day.
    Keywords: Carney's Point (N.J.); Delaware; Delaware River; Du Pont, A. Felix (Alexis Felix), 1879-1948; Fishing; Gentieu, Pierre A., 1842-1930; Keystone State Normal School; Kutztown University of Pennsylvania; Penn's Grove (N.J.); Piquete (Brazil); Shad fishing; Smokeless Gunpowder; Sturgeon
  • Staffing at the DuPont plant in Brazil; Working at DuPont's facility in Chile; Returning to the United States
    Partial Transcript: "Johnson, this fellow had been sent down as chief chemist, the longer you knew him, the less you thought of him." "Instead of coming back...I went over to Chile and they had work in the laboratory there..."
    Synopsis: Bradway talks about his job and staffing at the plant in Brazil. He says that the chief chemist and assistant chemist did not get along with each other. Eventually both left and Bradway ran the plant on his own for eight months and earned 265 dollars per month. He said that he sent much of his money back to Felix du Pont in Wilmington, Delaware, because he did not trust Brazilian banks. He talks about his memories of the Brazilian officer in charge of the plant and being sick with quinsy. He left Brazil for DuPont's facility in Chile. He had six months worth of work there and managed to finish it in about four months. He describes transportation from Brazil to Chile. He describes living conditions in Taltal, Chile. He talks about how workers mined caliche and the nitrate beds by hand during the time he was there.
    Keywords: Argentina; Caliche; Colonel Pederneiras; Du Pont, A. Felix (Alexis Felix), 1879-1948; Nitric acid; Piquete (Brazil); Quinsy; Smokeless powder; Staffing; Taltal (Chile); Transportation; Wages
  • Returning to the United States; Attending college at the University of Virginia; World War I
    Partial Transcript: "I came back in June of 1913 and went up to see Felix of course..." "I came in as a technical assistant to Felix du Pont..."
    Synopsis: Bradway talks about his return to the United States. He says Felix encouraged him to attend the University of Pennsylvania. He thought given his previous college time and practical experience he should not have to attend for four years. The university disagreed and told him four years or nothing. He says that he then spent two years working on his degree at the University of Virginia. He returned to Wilmington during World War I. He talks about DuPont's massive expansion of their smokeless gunpowder business. He talks about his involvement in expanding the plant in Hopewell, Virginia, and the expansion of DuPont's business in general.
    Keywords: Du Pont, A. Felix (Alexis Felix), 1879-1948; E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. Hopewell Works; Nitrocellulose; Smokeless Gunpowder; University of Pennsylvania; University of Virginia; World War (1914-1918)
  • Work and workmates during World War I; Foreign governments buying powder from DuPont
    Partial Transcript: "I was never called for military service and I remained with Mr. Burnside all through the war..."
    Synopsis: Bradway talks about working on smokeless powder during World War I. He says they had to calculate the proper size for grains of powder for each country that DuPont sold powder to during the war. He talks about the credentials of his boss, a man named Mr. Burnside. He says that Burnside eventually had a lab named after him. He continues to talk about DuPont's expansion during the war. He explains how before the United States entered the war and helped DuPont manage distribution, each country had its own representatives and standards for powder. He notes that foreign governments helped DuPont pay for more powder plants. He talks about some of the foreign inspectors that came to DuPont. He says that the Russians were very picky at inspecting their powder and rejected powder if the box wasn't turned in the right direction in the magazine. He says they became so difficult to deal with that DuPont threatened to eject them.
    Keywords: Quality Control; Smokeless Powder; World War (1914-1918)

Digitized material in this online archive may document imagery or language that reflects racist, ableist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise offensive and harmful beliefs and actions in history. Hagley Library is engaged in ongoing efforts to address and responsibly present evidence of oppression and injustice in our collections. If you are concerned about the archival material presented here, or want to learn more about our ongoing work, please contact us at