Reference Entry

Dow, Herbert Henry

Terry S. Reynolds

in American National Biography Online

Published in print January 1999 |
Published online February 2000 | e-ISBN: 9780198606697 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/anb/9780198606697.article.1000443

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Dow, Herbert Henry (26 February 1866–15 October 1930), chemist and industrialist, was born in Belleville, Ontario, the son of Joseph Dow, a master mechanic, and Sarah Bunnell. Dow’s early life was spent in Connecticut, but in 1878 his family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he graduated in 1888 from the Case School of Applied Science. While at Case he became fascinated with the possibility of extracting bromine, a substance used to produce drugs and photographic chemicals, from the salt-impregnated waters (brines) often associated with oil and gas wells. By 1889 he had developed a novel electrolytic process for doing this. After an initial attempt at commercialization failed, Dow secured new backing and in 1890 formed the Midland Chemical Company. He moved operations to Midland, Michigan, near rich, easy to tap brines, and by 1894 he had developed one of the earliest commercially successful electrochemical processes in the United States. In 1892 Dow married Grace Ball, a Midland schoolteacher; they had seven children. The oldest child, Willard Dow, eventually succeeded his father as head of the Dow Chemical Company....

Reference Entry.  700 words. 

Subjects: Medicinal Chemistry ; Manufacturing ; History of Manufacturing and Construction

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