Antoine Laurent de Lavoisier (1743—1794) and Eleuthère Irénée du Pont (1771—1834) in laboratory work. Circa 1790.
With France in great tumult and with the demise of the French government and arsenal, Lavoisier’s apprentice, Eleuthère Irénée du Pont, escaped the guillotine and headed to North America with his family. He then founded E. I. du Pont de Nemours Powder Company to manufacture black powder in 1802.
The formation of the du Pont powder mill is historically significant because it represents a consequential step in the beginning and application of modern chemistry as well as a pivotal implementation of modern chemical manufacturing. DuPont was early to pioneer the use of Chemical Engineering and other new disciplines. Du Pont was also one of the earliest chemical companies to employ the process method of chemical manufacturing. There were companies that produced chemicals before this, but the scale of the operation and its methodology is what is significant.
The First du Pont Powder Mill.
Brandywine River, Delaware (Near Wilmington).
Construction began in 1802.
Photo: David Ames, October 1982.
Historic American Buildings Survey.
National Park Service; United States Department of the Interior.
Library of Congress, Washington, DC.