Interview with Frank S. MacGregor, 1961 July 21 [audio]

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  • Correcting factual errors in a book; Education; Getting a job at DuPont; Explaining DuPont's institutional organization
    Partial Transcript: "Later in page 52, line ten..." "I got into mining..." "He said, why don't you come down to Wilmington..."
    Synopsis: After introductory conversation with interviewers, MacGregor corrects several small factual details in an unidentified book. He discusses his education and his background in mining, electrical, and chemical engineering. He says that he was offered his job at DuPont because they were looking for people who had gotten their experience outside of the company. He talks about DuPont's expansion and how they did. He describes DuPont's internal organization.
    Keywords: E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company; Education; Engineering; Organization; Staffing
  • Getting DuPont into the paint and varnish industry; Dropping industries at DuPont; Pushing for centralized management at DuPont.
    Partial Transcript: "We had decided to go into the paint and varnish business abstractly..."
    Synopsis: MacGregor talks about DuPont's acquisition of Harrison Brothers chemical company, which DuPont acquired because of their paint making facilities. He talks about some of the businesses that DuPont dropped during their expansion. He talks about his role on a steering committee and DuPont's adaptation of that system throughout. He talks about this efforts to implement central management at DuPont and talks about DuPont's unique position as a very diversified company at a time when this was not normal.
    Keywords: Expansion; Harrison Brothers; Leadership; Management; Money; Paint; Philadelphia (Pa.); Profits; Varnish
  • Developing forecasting techniques at DuPont; The recession of 1921; Managing DuPont's paints department; Operating the Hotel du Pont
    Partial Transcript: "...I had decided a single authority was responsible for profits..." "It got into the hotel business...because we began to have more and more important people come here on business...'
    Synopsis: MacGregor talks about developing a department to make profit forecasts for DuPont. He discusses how he and his team learned how to forecast paint sales. He talks about how DuPont navigated the recession of 1921. He talks about starting and managing the Hotel Du Pont in Wilmington, Delaware. He says DuPont built it to cater to business visitors who came to Wilmington.
    Keywords: Data; Forecasting; Hotel du Pont; Planning; Statistical Analysis
  • Other responsibilities at DuPont; Working with DuPont's textiles
    Partial Transcript: "I was busy enough with what I had..." "The explosive department was a one man department all the time, see..."
    Synopsis: MacGregor talks about his other work at DuPont and departments he was involved in. He talks about working with DuPont's textiles and running a plant in Argentina. He talks about the growth and development of DuPont's textile business.
    Keywords: Acetate; Dyes; Organizations; Rayon; Troubleshooting; Viscose
  • Learning Latin in high school; DuPont plants overseas; DuPont's sales organizations
    Partial Transcript: "...in high school I had a Latin teacher that was an excellent teacher..." "They had a nitrate plant down in Chile..."
    Synopsis: MacGregor talk about avoiding Latin lessons in high school, and says if he hadn't ignored it in high school he would have had an easier time learning French and Spanish for his work at DuPont. He talks about having to work with a French company after DuPont purchased their patents. MacGregor talks about some of DuPont's overseas plants. He talks about staffing at the plant and talks about American versus domestic staffing at those plants. He says that in his time the technical staff were American while the factory workers were local. He says that staffing is now entirely local. He talks about DuPont's sales organizations.
    Keywords: Education; Latin; Management; Sales; School; Staffing
  • World War I; Entering the automotive industry; Entering the dye industry
    Partial Transcript: "The company didn't want to go into the dye business..." "All of these German patents were untruthful, or didn't tell the whole story..."
    Synopsis: MacGregor talks about World War I and DuPont entering into the automobile industry. He talks about DuPont bringing German chemists to the United States and entering the dye industry. He says that DuPont resisted entering the industry, but the company did it in part to combat the German monopoly on the dye industry.
    Keywords: Patents; World War (1914-1918)