Interview with E.K. Bolton, 1961 September 14 [audio]

Hagley ID:
  • P.S. du Pont's visits to the experimental station; Developing dyes; Studying in Germany; World War One
    Partial Transcript: "I started in 1915...and then after a year on different things I tired to make glycerin from propane..." "We didn't have a dye industry in this country..."
    Synopsis: Bolton talks about his early days working at the DuPont Experimental Station. He says that P.S. du Pont only rarely visited the station. He discusses the manufacture of acetone. He talks about indigo dye. Bolton describes the hierarchy of the research teams. He talks about studying in Germany at the outbreak of World War One. He says that the collapse of dye imports from Germany during the war helped kick start the American dye industry. He discusses his research in organic chemistry during his time in Germany.
    Keywords: Acetone; Du Pont, Pierre S. (Pierre Samuel), 1870-1954; DuPont Experimental Station; Dyes; Glycerin; Indigo; Organic chemistry; Propane; Textile industry; World War (1914-1918)
  • Comparing and contrasting chemical education in the United States and Germany; Chemists Bolton worked with; German scientists coming to the United States after World War I.
    Partial Transcript: "They had a very good number of top flight men over there..."
    Synopsis: Bolton talks about chemistry education in the United States and Germany in the 1910. He discusses some of the people he worked with. He talks about the struggles of getting German scientists out of the Germany and to the United States in the aftermath of World War I. He discusses foreign takeovers and limitations placed on German owned companies during World War I.
    Keywords: Education--Chemistry--United States; Germany; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Mechanical Engineering; Wilmington (Del.); World War (1914-1918)
  • Changes in structure to DuPont's chemical department after 1921
    Partial Transcript: "I have no recollection of it being a section..." I never saw anyone in sales before..."
    Synopsis: Bolton talks about changes in structure at DuPont. He describes how one large chemical department became several smaller units. [Ambient noise interrupts part of this section.] He says that before reorganization he had never seen certain members of the administrative staff as well as anyone from sales staff. He discusses the educational and professional backgrounds of some of his peers.
    Keywords: Chemicals; DuPont Experimental Station; E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company; Labor; Management; Organization; Sales
  • Background and education; Research priorities at DuPont; DuPont dyes
    Partial Transcript: "Philadelphia is my home..."
    Synopsis: Bolton talks about his hometown and education. He describes the "classical course" he took at Philadelphia's Central High school. He describes learning Latin and Greek. He talks about the men who set the research agenda at the DuPont Experimental Station. He describes the size of the staff there and their research procedures. Bolton details some of the different DuPont plants and their specializations.
    Keywords: Bucknell University; Central High School (Philadelphia, Pa.); DuPont Experimental Station; Dyes; Explosives; Gibbstown plant; Philadelphia (Pa.); Repauno plant; Standard Oil Company
  • Defining scientific terms; Working with G.E.
    Partial Transcript: "Now, we're historians, not chemists..." "I didn't go to G.E...."
    Synopsis: Bolton tries to explain and define some of the scientific terms that he uses. He talks about colleagues at G.E. and some of their activities during the war, but he does not specify which war. He talks about some other projects and mentions the development of neoprene.
    Keywords: Chemistry; General Electric; Neoprene; Union Carbide
  • Manufacturing synthetic rubber
    Partial Transcript: "They gave up manufacturing after the war...they didn't have anything good..."
    Synopsis: Bolton discusses attempting to manufacture synthetic rubber following the World War I. He talks about his colleagues who helped make synthetic rubber.
    Keywords: Organic chemistry; Synthetic rubber
  • Nylon research and development; Setting up pilot plants for new materials
    Partial Transcript: "...if he could make it from polymerized formaldehyde..."
    Synopsis: Bolton talks about making Nylon. He talks about being involved with Crawford Greenewalt and setting up pilot plants to research and develop new materials.
    Keywords: Greenewalt, Crawford H., 1902-1993; Nylon
  • More on developing synthetic rubbers; Producing synthetic rubber; Research and development
    Partial Transcript: "Well, yes...the material had a pretty bad odor..."
    Synopsis: Bolton returns to discussing the development of synthetic rubbers, focusing on Neoprene. He discusses approaches to research and development in DuPont's engineering department.
    Keywords: Calcium carbide; Development; Natural rubber; Neoprene; Research
  • Structure of the chemical department; Collaboration in foreign markets
    Partial Transcript: "Within the chemical department you had sections by products, problems?"
    Synopsis: Bolton talks about groups and organization within DuPont's chemical department. He says that DuPont collaborated with companies in Canada and South America. He says that he had a role in developing Rayon and Acetate. He talks about visiting Hagley and says that he will come visit with some of his notes.
    Keywords: Acetate; Administration; Canada; Chemistry; Hagley Museum and Library; Organization; Rayon

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