William Hanford begins the interview with a discussion of the importance of teamwork and the influence of Roger Adams in his career. He then continues on to his family background and youth. His high school chemistry teacher and his uncle both encouraged his interest in the sciences. After graduating from Bristol High School, he attended the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, where he earned a B.S. in chemistry in 1930. Hanford then took a position as an analytical chemist at Rohm and Haas, but soon decided to attend graduate school. He accepted an offer from the University of Illinois, and studied with Roger Adams. He worked on various problems in the laboratory, and got to know many members of the department, including Carl Marvel, Reynold Fuson, and Ralph Shriner. After earning his Ph.D. in 1935, he took a job with DuPont, working in Experimental Station. He worked on producing isothiocyanate and polymerizing caprolactam. Hanford was also involved with Teflon, polyamides, and polyesters. In 1942, he moved to GAF, where he worked on Glim, the first liquid detergent. Hanford then moved to M.W. Kellogg Company in 1946. He helped to develop KEL-F and sold it to 3M before moving again to Olin Corporation in 1957. At Olin, he worked on Head and Shoulders, carpet backing, and plastic shotgun shells, among other products. Hanford concludes the interview with a discussion of teamwork, his family, his experience with urethane, and his induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
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William E. Hanford, interviewed by James J. Bohning in Baltimore, Maryland on March 15, 1995. Philadelphia: Science History Institute, n.d. Oral History Transcript 0139. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/g445cf063.
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