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Photograph of Earl L. Warrick
Dow Historical Collection, Science History Institute Collections

Oral history interview with Earl L. Warrick

  • 1986-Jan-16

Oral history interview with Earl L. Warrick

  • 1986-Jan-16

Earl L. Warrick begins the interview with a description of his parents and childhood, which involved frequent moves between cities. He tells of his undergraduate years at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, where the chemical engineering department was a bit disappointing. This led him to switch to physical chemistry, in which he received a master's degree. After recounting his year at Brown, Warrick describes his experiences at the Mellon Institute, where he developed a glass coating. He received his Sc.D. for a kinetic study carried out almost exclusively on nights and weekends, while he continued work at Mellon. Warrick summarizes his career at Dow Corning, including the development of the '200 fluid', extensive rubber, polymer, and silicone research, his invention of 'Silly Putty', and his work with silicon. He mentions the influence of several colleagues, especially McGregor, Collings, Hyde, Bass, and Speier. Warrick concludes by commenting on his position at Saginaw Valley State College, his current writing, and the changes that have occurred in chemistry throughout his career.

Property Value
Place of interview
  • 46 pages
Rights Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Rights holder
  • Science History Institute
Credit line
  • Courtesy of Science History Institute

About the Interviewer

James J. Bohning was professor emeritus of chemistry at Wilkes University, where he had been a faculty member from 1959 to 1990. He served there as chemistry department chair from 1970 to 1986 and environmental science department chair from 1987 to 1990. Bohning was chair of the American Chemical Society’s Division of the History of Chemistry in 1986; he received the division’s Outstanding Paper Award in 1989 and presented more than forty papers at national meetings of the society. Bohning was on the advisory committee of the society’s National Historic Chemical Landmarks Program from its inception in 1992 through 2001 and is currently a consultant to the committee. He developed the oral history program of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and he was CHF’s director of oral history from 1990 to 1995. From 1995 to 1998, Bohning was a science writer for the News Service group of the American Chemical Society. In May 2005, he received the Joseph Priestley Service Award from the Susquehanna Valley Section of the American Chemical Society.  Bohning passed away in September 2011.

Institutional location

Oral history number 0045

Related Items

Interviewee biographical information

  • September 23, 1911
  • Butler, Pennsylvania, United States
  • November 15, 2002
  • San Jose, California, United States


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1933 Carnegie Institute of Technology BS Chemistry
1934 Carnegie Institute of Technology MS Physical Chemistry
1943 Carnegie Institute of Technology ScD Physical Chemistry

Professional Experience

Carnegie Institute of Technology

  • 1933 to 1934 Teaching Assistant, Chemistry
  • 1943 to 1945 Instructor, Mathematics

Brown University

  • 1934 to 1935 Teaching Assistant, Chemistry

Mellon Institute for Industrial Research

  • 1935 to 1937 Assistant
  • 1937 to 1946 Fellow, Organo-Silicon Chemistry
  • 1946 to 1955 Senior Fellow
  • 1955 to 1956 Administrative Fellow

University of Pittsburgh

  • 1947 to 1948 Instructor, Chemistry

Dow Corning Corporation

  • 1956 to 1959 Assistant Director of Research
  • 1959 to 1962 Manager, Hyper-Pure Silicon Division
  • 1962 to 1968 General Manager, Electronic Products Division
  • 1968 to 1972 Manager, New Products Business
  • 1972 to 1976 Senior Management Consultant

Saginaw Valley State College

  • 1979 to 1980 Interim Dean, Science, Engineering and Technology
  • 1983 to 1984 Interim Dean, Science, Engineering and Technology
  • 1984 Special Assistant to the Vice President for Academic Affairs


Year(s) Award
1976 Goodyear Medal, Rubber Division, American Chemical Society

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PDF — 250 KB

The published version of the transcript may diverge from the interview audio due to edits to the transcript made by staff of the Center for Oral History, often at the request of the interviewee, during the transcript review process.

Complete Interview Audio File Web-quality download

6 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads