Kevlar Research & Development

Wilmington, Delaware — March 2016 — How a novel polymer in the laboratory became a socially transformative product in the marketplace is the topic of a new oral history prepared by Hagley Museum and Library.  “Kevlar R&D: An Oral History” features 13 hours of reminiscences that form a rich study in the business and technology of innovation, going back to chemist Stephanie L. Kwolek’s 1965 discovery of Kevlar. Through many surprising twists, the six subjects talk about how they helped make Kevlar serve the complicated and occasionally contradictory interests of the DuPont Company, scientific inquiry, the marketplace, and the general public. The order of the interviews follows the development of Kevlar from a laboratory oddity to the production line. The six are chemists Herbert Blades and Wesley Memeger, Jr.; engineers Donald Sturgeon, Bob Wolffe, and Ted Merriman; and executive Irénée du Pont, Jr.  For full story click here and video oral histories click here.