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Herbert Dow

AKA Herbert Henry Dow

Born: 26-Feb-1866
Birthplace: Belleville, Ontario, Canada
Died: 15-Oct-1930
Location of death: Rochester, MN
Cause of death: Cirrhosis of the Liver
Remains: Buried, Midland City Cemetery, Midland, MI

Gender: Male
Religion: Christian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business, Chemist, Inventor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Founder of Dow Chemical

Born in Canada and raised in Cleveland, Herbert Dow attended Case School of Applied Science (now Case Western), where he studied under future Nobel laureate Albert A. Michelson. His thesis examined underground brine, a salt and chemical-laden liquid that had generally been seen as useless, and he soon developed new methods for extracting bromine, calcium, chlorine, magnesium and sodium compounds from brine. His first attempt to make money from his findings was the Canton Chemical Company, which soon went bankrupt, and in his second attempt, the Midland Chemical Company, he was squeezed out when his business partners wanted to manufacture bromine but would not fund Dow's continuing research. He started his third venture in 1897, Dow Chemical Company, and three years later Dow Chemical absorbed Midland Chemical.

In 1915, Dow testified before Congress that protective tariffs had "saved us from bankruptcy" when German concerns had sold their cheaper bromides in the American market. World War I was the company's big break, as it was authorized to manufacture medicines and chemicals that had previously been imported from Germany, including aspirin, explosives, magnesium and synthetic indigo. He also held patents for automatic furnace controls, electric light carbons, improvements to steam and internal combustion engines, and a way to extract ethylene dibromide -- the "ethyl" of no-knock auto gasoline -- from the oceans. A Christian of no particular denomination, he made annual donations to every church in his adopted home town, Midland, Michigan.

Father: Joseph Henry Dow (mechanical engineer, b. 1836, d. 1901 tuberculosis)
Mother: Sarah Jane Bunnell Dow (m. 1863)
Sister: Mary Edith Dow (b. 1868)
Sister: Abby French Dow (b. 1870)
Sister: Helen Josephine Dow (b. 1876)
Wife: Grace Ball Dow (school teacher-philanthropist, b. 1869, m. 1892, d. 1953, eight children)
Daughter: Mary Dow Towsley
Daughter: Helen Dow Whiting
Daughter: Ruth Alden Dow Doan (b. 1895)
Son: Willard Dow (President of Dow, b. 1897)
Son: Osborne Curtiss Dow (b. 1899, d. infancy)
Son: Alden Dow (architect, b. 1905, d. 1983)
Daughter: Margaret Grace Dow Towsley (philanthropist, b. 1907, d. 1994)
Daughter: Dorothy Darling Dow (b. 1908)

    High School: Central High School, Cleveland, OH (1884)
    University: BS, Case Western Reserve University (1888)
    Teacher: Chemistry, Huron Street Hospital College

    Dow Chemical Founder & President (1897-1930)
    Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity
    American Chemical Society
    National Inventors Hall of Fame 1983

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