Interview with Franklin W. Bradway, 1958 February 27 [audio]

Share/Save:
  • Keeping DuPont's Carney's Point, N.J., plant open; Buying back smokeless gunpowder after World War I
    Partial Transcript: "...the business of reorganizing and keeping our heads above water...in the meanwhile the sporting powder business, I suppose had suffered some..."
    Synopsis: Bradway discusses the gunpowder market following World War I, stating that the government did not want DuPont's Carney's Point plant to close and the sporting market took to the product. He talks about what the French and Italian governments did with powder they had purchased and no longer needed. He says that leftover gunpowder, meant for cannons, was an ingredient in Duco, an automobile lacquer. He talks about various DuPont gunpowder products meant to compete with other companies selling leftover powder cheaply.
    Keywords: Ballistite; Carney's Point (N.J.); Duco; DuPont Gray; DuPont Oval; DuPont Shotgun; Hercules Powder Company; Nitrocellulose; Shotgun gunpowder; Smokeless gunpowder; World War (1914-1918)
  • Selling gunpowder for the sporting market; Business through the 1920s; Getting into conservation; Legal protections for waterfowl and game
    Partial Transcript: "In 1925 another revolutionary thing took place as far as sporting powder was concerned..." "We went into another phase...the raising of game...we had to have game to shoot at and so we decided to get into that movement...the conservation movement for smokeless powder..."
    Synopsis: Bradway talks about selling DuPont powder to the sporting market. He talks about branding and how at one time there were over 9,000 different branded gunpowder loads. He says the number as of his retirement was around 150. He says that the mix of sporting gunpowder and gunpowder purchased by the government for the military kept the Carney's Point, N.J., plant in business through the 1920s. He says that government contracts kept the plant operating through the Great Depression. He says that hunters also kept them in business. He says that after the company stopped branding powder loads, they turned to conservation. According to Bradway, hunters needed game to hunt and describes how the Carney's Point plant had facilities to raise quail and pheasants. He talks about how these ideas came to full fruition with game farms and other places designated for hunting. Bradway talks about how he represented DuPont on the Sporting Arms Manufacturer Institute and the Wildlife Management Institute.
    Keywords: Audubon Society; Branding; Carney's Point (N.J.); Conservation; Raising game; Remington; Sporting gunpowder; Sporting Powder Arms and Ammunition Manufacturer Institute; Wild Life Management Institute
  • DuPont's current role in the gunpowder business
    Partial Transcript: "The powder business as far as the industry is concerned, they're still using powder...the situation is entirely different at DuPont."
    Synopsis: Bradway talks about current manufacturing at DuPont's Carney's Point plant, nitrocellulose and CMC, a component used in drilling mud for oil wells. He says that DuPont's last development in sporting gunpowder was a method of manufacture using nitroglycerin.
    Keywords: Carney's Point (N.J.); CMC; nitrocellulose; Nitroglycerin; Oil drilling; Sodium carboxymethyl cellulose
  • Bradway's career in the 1920s; The beginning of World War II
    Partial Transcript: "I was...remained in charge of the manufacturing division of smokeless powder through the 20s...up until 1931."
    Synopsis: Bradway talks about his career at DuPont and managing the smokeless powder department. He says that in 1931 his department was folded into the explosives department. He says he was quite happy about the change and became the manager of the explosive powder division manager. Bradway talks about the start of World War II and working with the United States government and foreign governments. He became DuPont's representative in Washington. He talks about a joint British-French smokeless powder plant built in Memphis, Tennessee. He talks about how France fell before DuPont finished building the plant. Eventually, the United States government owned the plant and DuPont operated it on a government contract.
    Keywords: Chicasaw Ordinance Works; E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company; Great Depression; Management; Memphis (Tenn.); Smokeless gunpowder; World War (1939-1945)
  • Doing business with the government during World War II; Atomic weapons
    Partial Transcript: "Contract negotiations were more complicated, everything was more complicated..."
    Synopsis: Bradway talks about doing business during World War II. He says that everything was considerably more complicated than it was during World War I, but that they enjoyed considerably increased production. He talks about 50 caliber and 20 mm guns during the war. He compares American production capacity to British production capacity. He says that Britain could produce 600,000-700,00 pounds per day compared to the United States' 8,000,000-9,000,000 pounds per day. He talks about packing and shipping the powder. He briefly discusses DuPont's role in developing atomic weapons, but declines to go in depth. He characterizes his role as that of a negotiator and that once both parties reached an agreement his job was done.
    Keywords: American Can Company; Chicasaw Ordinance Works; John Wood Company; World War (1939-1945)
  • Surplus powder from World War II
    Partial Transcript: "That's probably becoming a problem right now...whether any industrial use will ever be found for it, I don't know..." "We supplied the British at the request of the government..."
    Synopsis: Bradway talks about surplus powder and DuPont's expansions during World War II. He lists many of the plants DuPont operated for the government that were mothballed after the war. He says that one of the ordinance works in Indiana reopened during the Korean War. He explains that government contracts during the wars were cost plus a fixed fee. He explains that, between the government dictating terms and improvements to powder manufacture, they made considerably less money on powder than they would have selling powder on the private market. He says that DuPont wanted to move away from relying on government contracts after the war.
    Keywords: Alabama Ordinance Works; Carney's Point (N.J.); Chicasaw Ordinance Works; E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company; Gopher Ordinance Works; Indiana Ordinance Works; Kankakee Ordinance Works; Korean War (1950-1953); Prices; Profits; Wabash River Ordinance Works; World War (1939-1945)
  • Explanation of job title; Work on DuPont's Benefits and Pensions Board
    Partial Transcript: "When I was made general assistant, it was supposed to be because I had some value to the explosive department..."
    Synopsis: Bradway explains his title and job role. He says that, following World War II, he had a management role at the Carney's Point, N.J., plant and resumed his general assistant role from the Korean War to his retirement. He describes his job on the Benefits and Pensions Board. He talks about the history of the board and describes its function. He talks about the rare occasions when the board canceled an employee's pension or refused to "cure" a service break. He explains that "curing" meant that the board decided to count a service break as continued service. He describes DuPont's pension plan. He talks about DuPont's general policy of having employees who are approaching retirement mentor their replacements.
    Keywords: Benefits and Pensions Board; Carney's Point (N.J.); E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company; Korean War (1950-1953); Management; Nitrocellulose; Retirement; Work; World War (1939-1945)
  • Atomic energy and DuPont; The Nye Committee; Connections with members of the du Pont family
    Partial Transcript: "The company's position, up to a few years ago, was that they had no interest in atomic energy outside of national defense..." "This investigation, I think had started with a financial standpoint...I know all of the sudden we had several, half a dozen men from the committee, investigators...come to Wilmington and ask for certain correspondence in the DuPont Company's files..."
    Synopsis: Bradway talks about DuPonts interests, or lack thereof, in atomic energy. He talks about DuPont and the Nye Committee and their investigation of DuPont. He talks about another investigation of DuPont at the Old Hickory, Tennessee, plant which occurred during the 1920s and centered around accusations that DuPont had wasted money. He says he went to the plant with a copy of the contract and was there for about half an hour. He relates that he knew nothing about it because he worked in Wilmington. He talks about some of his personal connections with members of the du Pont family.
    Keywords: Atmoic energy; Du Pont, A. Felix (Alexis Felix), 1879-1948; Du Pont, Francis I. (Francis Irenee), 1873-1942; Du Pont, Pierre S. (Pierre Samuel), 1870-1954; E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company; E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. Old Hickory Plant; Nye Committee; Wilmington, Del.