General view of the production of carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) at the Hercules Powder Company plant in Hopewell, Virginia. Also known as cellulose gum or tylose powder, CMC is a cellulose derivative commonly used as a thickening agent or to stabilize emulsions in a range of materials, including toothpaste, water-based paints, detergents, and various paper products. The two employees visible in the photograph are unidentified.
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. “Production of Cellulose Gum 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/z029p552n.
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