Dow, Henry

Dow, Henry (Herbert)

(1866–1930) chemist, inventor, industrialist; born in Belleville, Ontario, Canada. He came to the U.S.A. with his family as an infant. He began experimenting with brines while a student at Case School of Applied Science (now part of Case Western Reserve University) in Cleveland, Ohio, and ultimately built a great chemical empire upon them. He invented a simple electrolytic method for extracting bromine from brine, and his use of a direct current generator in the process is regarded as the foundation of the electrochemical industry in the U.S.A. He established the Dow Chemical Company in 1897. The company produced bromine, used in medicines and dyes, and soon added chlorine, bleaching powder, insecticides, and pharmaceuticals to the product list. Dow later introduced the first process for making synthetic indigo and was the first to extract iodine from brine. During World War I, he served as a member of the advisory committee of the Council of National Defense.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.