Du Pont

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Du Pont

(do͞opŏnt), family notable in U.S. industrial history. The Du Pont family's importance began when Eleuthère Irénée Du PontDu Pont, Eleuthère Irénée
, 1772–1834, American gunpowder manufacturer, b. Paris, France; son of Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours. At the age of 17, Irénée entered the royal gunpowderworks, where Lavoisier taught him the trade.
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 established a gunpowder mill on the Brandywine River in N Delaware. Development, expansion, and family control of E. I. Du Pont de Nemours & Company were long the family's chief concerns, and its prolific members kept the company well staffed. Outstanding among the Du Ponts was Henry Du Pont (1812–89), a West Point graduate and son of the company's founder, who set the basis for the family's cohesiveness; he headed the firm from 1850 to 1889. His son, Lammot (1831–84), a chemist and inventor, developed a cheap and superior blasting powder and made the Du Pont company a leader in the manufacture of explosives. Later, Pierre Samuel Du PontDu Pont, Pierre Samuel,
1870–1954, American industrialist, b. Wilmington, Del., grad. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1890. Du Pont worked as a chemist with the family's company, helping to develop smokeless powder.
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 (1870–1954) and his cousins Coleman and Alfred brought about the company's public incorporation, a departure from the long-established family partnership. In 1910, Du Pont was ordered to break up its munitions monopoly, and the company subsequently moved into the fibers (it pioneered the development of nylon), paints, and chemicals and materials businesses. The company acquired sizable holdings in General Motors, amounting to 23% of the latter's stock when it was forced to dispose of its holdings in 1961, and from 1981 to 1999 it owned the Conoco oil company. In the late 20th and early 21st cent. the Du Pont company produced a variety of fibers and fabrics, coatings, and other materials, industrial chemicals, agricultural seed and chemicals, and other products. No member of the family ran the Du Pont company after 1971, and over time the percentage of the company controlled by family members decreased. In 2017 the company merged with Dow Chemical Co. to form DowDuPont, with plans to divide the merged entity into separate companies focused on agriculture, materials science, and specialty products. The Du Ponts have also been active in politics. Coleman increased Delaware's roads, and Pierre contributed heavily to the state's educational system. Members of the family have served as United States senators and governor of Delaware.


See W. H. Carr, The Du Ponts of Delaware (1964); G. C. Zilig, Du Pont (1974).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Du Pont


one of the largest groups of finance capital in the United States. Its basis has been the Du Pont family wealth.

In 1802 the founder of the group, the fugitive French royalist E. I. Du Pont (the son of P. S. Du Pont de Nemours), set up a gun-powder factory in Wilmington, Del. The Du Pont group grew rich from its military business during the Anglo-American War of 1812-14, the war of the United States with Mexico in 1846-48, the Civil War, and especially World Wars I and II. Having acquired the patents of the I. G. Farben Industries as a result of the defeat of Germany, Du Pont’s firm became the largest chemical trust of the capitalist world; its assets at the end of 1970 were $3.6 billion. In 1970 the trust’s approximately 96 plants in the USA produced explosives, fertilizers and other chemicals for use in agriculture, synthetic fiber, and military products. It also managed a government plant for the production of atomic weapons. It owns plants in Great Britain, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Norway, Japan, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Venezuela.

The Du Pont trust subsidizes the scientific work of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and uses the results for its own purposes. It controls one of the largest rubber companies, Uniroyal (United States Rubber until 1967; assets of $1.3 billion in 1970), which owns tire and other plants in the USA and other countries and rubber plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia. It controls Remington Arms and North American Rockwell Corporation, companies that produce military weapons. In conjunction with the Morgan group it controls General Motors, the largest automobile trust in the world (assets of $14.2 billion in the USA in 1970).

The basic financial operations of the group are conducted through the banking monopoly of the Morgan Guaranty Trust Company, but Du Pont also has its own small banks—the Wilmington Trust Company and the Delaware Trust Company. In the mid-1960’s the controlled assets of the Du Pont group were valued at $20 billion, and the personal fortune of the members of the Du Pont family at $4.7 billion. The group finances fascist and semifascist organizations in the USA.


Zorin, V. Nekoronovannye koroli Ameriki, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1968.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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