Close-up view of laboratory operator Donald Stevens using a press to remove water from a sheet of so-called "chemical cotton," i.e. purified cellulose obtained from raw cotton linters, manufactured in the Cellulose Department at the Hercules Powder Company plant in Hopewell, Virginia. A dryer for evaporating water from the sheet is visible in the background of the photograph.
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. “Donald Stevens Operating Sheet-Making Equipment at Hercules Hopewell Plant,” 1951. Photographs from the Records & Ephemera of Hercules Incorporated, Box 1, Folder 36. Science History Institute. Philadelphia. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/tx31qj45d.
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