Interview with Francis J. Friel, 1960 September 20 [audio](part 2)

Share/Save:
  • Going to college; Returning to work at the DuPont Experimental Station; Father's retirement and later life
    Partial Transcript: "I went to the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science for four years..."
    Synopsis: Friel describes majoring in chemistry during college. After college, he returned to the DuPont Experimental Station and worked producing nitric acid. Friel talks about his father's retirement and later life. He talks more about his family and says that no one else worked for DuPont, except for his sister who was a secretary for a member of the Copeland family.
    Keywords: DuPont Experimental Station; Nitric Acid; Nitrocellulose; Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science
  • Daily work at the DuPont Experimental Station; Safety equipment in the laboratory
    Partial Transcript: "There was one thing that I didn't mention, that Mr. Barton was director of the Experimental Station at that time..."
    Synopsis: Friel talks about his daily work at the DuPont Experimental Station. He talks about running an experiment to make mesitylene which ended in a fire. He talks about the lack of safety precautions working in a lab in 1926. He discusses the evolution of safety and safety instruction and the DuPont Experimental Station. He says that they disposed of Nitric Acid and Sodium Hydroxide in Brandywine Creek. He talks about another fire at a building called the Brandywine Lab that involved an experiment with nitroglycerin. He says he didn't start the fire, but that it drew the attention of his parents who lived nearby.
    Keywords: Brandywine Creek; Brandywine Lab; DuPont Experimental Station; Mesitylene; Nitric Acid; Nitroglycerin; Risk; Safety; Sodium Hydroxide
  • Employment practices at the DuPont Experimental Station; Analyzing materials
    Partial Transcript: "That's a question that's hard to answer, because they might hire a man for a special job...and find out he's the wrong man, the company doesn't like to let him go, so they transfer him to another department."
    Synopsis: Friel talks about employment practices at the DuPont Experimental Station. He says that if a new hire did not fit in with the job he was hired for, the company transferred him to another department to see if he was a better fit elsewhere. He talks about how he analyzed materials in the lab and notes how much easier the job is at present due to changes in technology. He describes his job as an analytical chemist, noting that research chemists "make it and we tear it apart."
    Keywords: DuPont Experimental Station; E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company; Employment; Hiring; Management; Material Analysis; Staffing
  • Analyzing water near DuPont plants
    Partial Transcript: "For a while I was analyzing water..."
    Synopsis: Friel talks about analyzing water found near different DuPont plants. He talks about working at a plant that made Rayon and his job discovering why the water had turned red. The interviewers discuss finding old lab glass when the foundations were dug for the Hagley Library. Friel says that he discovered iron in the water. He remarks that the water quality in Seaford is good for lab work. He says that DuPont works with local water companies to make sure that anyone living onsite at a plant has potable drinking water.
    Keywords: DuPont Experimental Station; Field work; Hagley Museum and Library; Hanford Plant; Rayon; Seaford, Del.; Water Analysis
  • Keeping ongoing projects at DuPont secret; DuPont researcher held patents; Managing research at DuPont
    Partial Transcript: "They're briefed when they come in, they're briefed when they're there.."
    Synopsis: Friel talks about security at DuPont and how researchers are told not to talk about their work. He recalls someone at the Nylon plant breaching this confidentiality and getting fired. He discusses what happens to researchers and their patents, noting that any patents they file belong to the company. Friel examines some hand blown glass found at the site of the Hagley Library.Friel talks about how DuPont manages research projects and requires weekly updates from its researchers. He says that they do this to keep researchers from working on their own projects on company time. He describes how DuPont decided which research ideas to follow. He talks about analyzing new metals and materials in the years following World War II. He talks about retiring and says that when he was in school he worked at the DuPont Experimental Station for the experience.
    Keywords: DuPont Experimental Station; Fabrikoid; Glass; Hagley Museum and Library; Ihmentite; Internships; Management; Non-disclosure Agreements; Nylon; Patents; Trade Secrets