Close-up view of several testing samples in the Plastics Laboratory at the Hercules Powder Company plant in Parlin, New Jersey. Per notations accompanying the photograph, the samples were placed in a testing box and exposed to polarized light, a standard method for exposing residual stresses that arise as molten polymer is cooled and shaped. The Parlin plant commonly produced ethyl cellulose, nitrocellulose, and cellulose acetate, which were purchased by a variety of public and private industries as a raw material for use in plastics, films, lacquers, and other materials.
Formed in 1912 as part of an anti-trust settlement with DuPont, the Hercules Powder Company (later Hercules Inc.) initially specialized in the manufacture of explosives and smokeless powders and subsequently diversified its business to encompass a variety of industrial products, including pine and paper chemicals, synthetics, pigments, polymers, and cellulose.
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Hercules Incorporated. “Polarized Light Test at Hercules Parlin Plant,” January 1945. Photographs from the Records & Ephemera of Hercules Incorporated, Box 2, Folder 25. Science History Institute. Philadelphia. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/02870w72j.
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