Interview with Robert E. Pyle Sr., 1958 October 27 [audio](part 1)

Hagley ID:
  • Pyle's family history; Childhood interest in gunpowder and old companies; Coming out to the powder yards to fish
    Partial Transcript: "It's an old, old English name (Pyle) I couldn't tell you much back than my grandfather..."
    Synopsis: Pyle talks about his family's history and the name "Pyle." He says that his father and grandfather were builders in Wilmington. He says that his mother died and his grandparents raised him. He talks about his childhood interest in gunpowder and says it came from his fascination with DuPont as an old company. He says he was curious about explosions in the powder yards. He talks about traveling out to the powder yards when he was young to look at them and to go fishing in the Brandywine
    Keywords: Brandywine Creek; Construction; Family; Fishing; Gunpowder; Joseph Bancroft and Sons Co.; Street-railroads; Waterwheels; Wilmington, Del.
  • Education and getting a job at DuPont
    Partial Transcript: "In 1914 when I was out of work my father said to me, "Why don't you try DuPont's?" I said, I have..."
    Synopsis: Pyle talks about his education. He says he was in school through sixth grade. He talks about his early working life and describes how he got a job at DuPont as a draftsman.
    Keywords: Draftsman; DuPont; Education; Jobs; Work; World War (1914-1918)
  • First job at DuPont; Salary an wages; Encountering P.S. du Pont
    Partial Transcript: "One of the first jobs that I got was working on Hopewell, Virginia, that was one of the large smokeless powder plants, or gun cotton plants at that time.
    Synopsis: Pyle talks about one of his first job drafting drawings of houses and powder buildings for the Hopewell plant. He says that he did this work from Wilmington. He talks about his salary and benefits, and says he made 60 dollars a month with some stock bonuses. He says that he left DuPont in 1921 and returned his stock for cash because he needed money. He talks more about work and recalls seeing P.S. du Pont in the elevator at work.
    Keywords: Drafting; Du Pont, Pierre S. (Pierre Samuel), 1870-1954; Gun cotton; Hopewell Plant; Housing; Money; Nitrocellulose; Salary; Stock; World War (1914-1918)
  • Working with William C. Spruance; Working for DuPont Executives; Visiting the powder mills on the Brandywine
    Partial Transcript: "I said, that was Mr. Spruance... he's supposed to be one of the vice presidents of the company..."
    Synopsis: Pyle talks about working under William C. Spruance. He talks about other personal work (as opposed to DuPont work) that he did with other DuPont employees. He says that DuPont employees enjoyed a certain level of civility from each other regardless of their rank in the company. He talks about working on a glazing mill on the Brandywine Creek. He describes operations at the mill.
    Keywords: Brandywine Creek; Mills; Spruance, William C. (William Corbit), 1873-1935; Work
  • Lifelong interest in working for DuPont; Explosions at Hagley; Working for DuPont; DuPont's expansion after World War I; Getting laid off from DuPont and working in Philadelphia; Getting rehired at DuPont
    Partial Transcript: "I had no idea of working out here at all.... I don't think I ever had any idea of working out here in the plant..."
    Synopsis: Pyle talks about his lifelong interest in working for DuPont. He talks about the last explosion he recalls at Hagley. He talks about his job and some of his colleagues. He talks about DuPont's expansion out of the explosives industry after World War I. He says that during this period most of his work centered on the explosive industry. He says that he was laid off from DuPont in 1921, worked for an architect in Philadelphia and then came back to DuPont in 1934. He talks about his work in the 1930s and describes his file system for storing blueprints.
    Keywords: DuPont; Explosions; Flint, Mi.; General Motors Corporation; Hagley Yard; Philadelphia, Pa.; World War (1914-1918)