SES 00-80496 - Kathryn Steen (Drexel University) - "Wartime Catalyst and Postwar Reaction: The Making of the U.S. Synthetic Organic Chemicals Industry, 1910-1930"
This award provides the Principal Investigator the support she needs to complete the research required for her book on the development of the U.S. synthetic organic chemicals industry, 1910-1930.
Prior to World War I, Germany provided nearly ninety percent of the world's supply of synthetic organic chemicals. When World War I made the United States and Germany enemies, Americans lost their supply of German chemicals and embarked on a campaign to create a domestic synthetic organic chemicals industry. The PI's book will examine how the American industry developed in World War I and the 1920s, focusing primarily on the relationship among manufacturers, the federal government, and university science departments.
Support for the nascent industry came in the form of traditional policies, such as tariffs and statistical collections, but the warborn synthetic dyes and pharmaceuticals industry also received help through munitions contracts, the confiscation of German plants and patents in the United States, and reparations provisions in the Treaty of Versailles. Despite the beneficial policies, mastery of the scientific know-how proved a profound challenge.