General view of the charging end of a continuous digester used at the Hercules Powder Company plant in Hopewell, Virginia. The continuous digester system was likely used to process cellulosic fibrous materials, such as chemical cotton (purified cellulose obtained from raw cotton linters), manufactured at the plant. The employee visible in the photograph is unidentified.
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. “Continuous Digester at Hercules Hopewell Plant,” 1957. Photographs from the Records & Ephemera of Hercules Incorporated, Box 1, Folder 37. Science History Institute. Philadelphia. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/bv73c123m.
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