Close-up view of J.P. Drew operating a milling cutter used in the Plastics Laboratory at the Hercules Powder Company plant in Parlin, New Jersey. Per notations accompanying the photograph, the cutter was used to cut notches of uniform depth and cross-section into test specimens used to test the impact resistance of plastics made from the raw materials manufactured at the plant. 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. “Milling Cutter in Use at Hercules Parlin Plant,” January 1949. Photographs from the Records & Ephemera of Hercules Incorporated, Box 2, Folder 25. Science History Institute. Philadelphia. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/bk128b72k.
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