Man's physical universe



From the brines of the salt wells at Midland, Michigan, both

calcium and magnesium chlorides are produced. Calcium chloride

(Dow-flake) is used to lay dust because it absorbs water from the


The Dow Chemical Company built a huge plant in which chlorine

is combined with benzene to produce chlorobenzene. From chlorobenzene

the important chemical, phenol, is prepared. With plenty

of phenol at hand, it was logical to prepare the phenol derivatives,

aspirin and synthetic oil of wintergreen. Aniline was also produced

from chlorobenzene. Dyes and pharmaceuticals logically followed

from these materials, until the Dow Chemical Company had close to

400 products in commercial manufacture in 194L Its large research

expenditure ($7,000,000 in 1941) should result in the addition of

other important products from time to time.

In 1933 the Dow Chemical Company, finding its salt wells in Michigan

too limited, started a new plant at Wilmington, North Carolina,

where it produces over 100,000 pounds of bromine per day from ocean

water, for use in ethyl gasoline.

Later the Dow Chemical Company built a plant at Long Beach,

California, to remove the iodine from the waste oil-well brines, so that

today a substantial proportion of the iodine requirements of the nation

is supplied by this plant.

The Dow Chemical Company has recently branched out into the

production of cellulose products such as synthetic plastics, lacquers,

fibers, films, paints, enamels, and other products.

One of the Company's largest tonnage products is magnesium,

which is sold as a strong light alloy (Dowmetal) for airplanes, etc.

In 1940, a $15,000,000 plant for the production of magnesium from

ocean water was completed.

Such is the story of the outgrowth of a student's investigation of the

electrolysis of naturally occurring soluble salts to a company of over

7000 employees.

Some of Our Best Disinfectants Are Produced from Naturally Occurring

Soluble Salts.

It has already been pointed out that chlorine is obtained by the

electrolysis of sodium chloride. Chlorine itself is a powerful disinfectant

and is used, as already mentioned, in the disinfection of water.

It is also combined with lime to form bleaching powder, CaOCh,

which may be used for the same purpose when chlorine is not available.

Chlorine will react with sodium hydroxide (also obtained in the

electrolysis of sodium chloride) or with sodium carbonate to produce

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