Two views of a General Electric Recording Spectrophotometer in use in the Plastics Laboratory at the Hercules Powder Company plant in Parlin, New Jersey. The employee visible in the first photograph is identified as R.A. Stoltenberg. Per notations accompanying the photograph, the spectrophotometer was used for color matching and to test dyes and pigments in 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. “General Electric Recording Spectrophotometer,” January 1949. Photographs from the Records & Ephemera of Hercules Incorporated, Box 2, Folder 25. Science History Institute. Philadelphia. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/n870zr387.
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