Digital Collections

Photograph of William C. Goggin
Dow Historical Collection, CHF Collections

Oral history interview with William C. Goggin

  • 1986-Aug-20

Oral history interview with William C. Goggin

  • 1986-Aug-20

William Goggin begins the interview with a description of his family and his childhood years in Michigan. After attending grade school and high school in Alma, Michigan, he attended Alma College. He received his B.S. in chemistry, physics and mathematics. Goggin went on to the University of Michigan to further his education in electrical engineering. After two years, he received a B.S.E.E. in electrical engineering. Remaining at the University of Michigan, he obtained his M.S. in electrical engineering in 1936. While a graduate student, Goggin interviewed with Dow Chemical Company, and joined their staff in the Student Engineer Training Program in 1936. There, he learned first-hand the specialties of chemical engineering. After completing his training, Goggin first worked on setting up testing procedures for new polymer electrical insulators. While an employee with Dow, Goggin received a patent for a cording stretching apparatus. Goggin's work in Dow's Plastics Division coincided with the rise of plastics in the world market, especially during World War II. He rose steadily through the company, remaining an employee with Dow for his entire career. He retired as Chairman of the Board of Dow Corning Corporation in 1976. Goggin concludes the interview with a discussion of the development and profitability of products.

Property Value
Place of interview
  • 54 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 0047

Related Items

Interviewee biographical information

  • August 26, 1911
  • Alma, Michigan, United States
  • December 14, 1988
  • Midland, Michigan, United States


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1933 Alma College BS Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics
1935 University of Michigan BSEE Electrical Engineering
1936 University of Michigan MS Electrical Engineering

Professional Experience

Dow Chemical Company

  • 1936 to 1937 Student Training Program
  • 1937 to 1939 Engineer, Physics Research Laboratory
  • 1939 to 1941 Salesman, Special Products Division
  • 1941 to 1942 Assistant Manager, Plastics Sales Division
  • 1942 to 1943 Manager, Plastics Sales Division
  • 1943 to 1947 Manager, Plastics Development Division
  • 1947 to 1959 Manager, Plastics Technical Service
  • 1959 to 1967 General Manager, Plastics Department

Dow Corning Corporation

  • 1967 to 1971 President and Director
  • 1971 to 1976 Chairman of Board


Year(s) Award
1954 Honorary ScD, Alma College
1976 Plastics Hall of Fame

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PDF — 263 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

8 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads