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Oral history interview with Ray H. Boundy

  • 1986-Aug-21

Oral history interview with Ray H. Boundy

  • 1986-Aug-21

Ray Boundy begins his interview by describing his family background in western Pennsylvania, his grammar school experience and his college studies at Grove City College. He then studied chemical engineering at Case Institute of Technology where there was a strong interaction with the Dow Chemical Company.

Before Boundy had completed his degree at Case he met Herbert Dow who offered a position in the Midland laboratories. Starting in the analytical laboratory, Ray Boundy moved to the productive physics group headed by John Grebe. After describing his involvement with early Dow projects, such as the seawater bromine process, sodium electrical conductors, electrolytic chlorine production and applications for ferric chloride, Boundy briefly reviews the work on styrene polymerization, monomer purity and wartime production. At the end of the hostilities in the European sector, Boundy joined a team of experts sent over to assess the German chemical industry. Postwar, Boundy had responsibility for plastics at Dow before his promotion to research director. In conclusion, he reflects on the changing nature of research in the chemical industry.

Property Value
Place of interview
  • 43 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 0053

Related Items

Interviewee biographical information

  • January 10, 1903
  • Brave, Pennsylvania, United States
  • November 19, 1992
  • Midland, Michigan, United States


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1924 Grove City College BS Chemistry
1926 Case Institute of Technology BS Chemical Engineering
1930 Case Institute of Technology MS Chemical Engineering

Professional Experience

Dow Chemical Company

  • 1926 to 1930 Scientist, Physics Laboratory
  • 1930 to 1942 Assistant Director, Physics Laboratory
  • 1942 to 1950 Assistant to the President
  • 1950 to 1968 Vice President and Director of Research
  • 1968 to 1987 Consultant, Management of Research and Development


Year(s) Award
1947 Honorary ScD, Grove City College
1964 Medal, Industrial Research Institute
1965 Scroll Award, National Association of Manufacturers
1967 Member, National Academy of Engineering

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PDF — 203 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

5 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads