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Dreyfus, Camille Edouard (11 November 1878–27 September 1956), industrial chemist and entrepreneur, was born in Basel, Switzerland, the son of Abraham Dreyfus, a banker, and Henrietta Wahl. Camille and his younger brother, Henri (later Americanized to Henry), both received their education at the University of Basel, being awarded their Ph.D.s in chemistry in 1902 and 1905, respectively. Camille also pursued postgraduate study at the Sorbonne in Paris until 1906. After working several years in Basel to gain industrial experience, Camille and his brother established a chemical laboratory in their home town. Seeking a product that the public would readily buy, they developed a synthetic indigo. Although they made some money in this venture, it quickly became clear that synthetic indigo did not have a sufficient market. Consequently the Dreyfus brothers focused their attention on celluloid, which at that time was produced only in a flammable form. They recognized that a large potential market existed for nonflammable celluloid, if it could be developed. They focused on cellulose acetate and were shortly producing one to two tons per day. Half of their output went to the motion picture industry for film, with the other half going into the production of toilet articles....

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du Pont, Francis Irénée (03 December 1873–16 March 1942), chemist, inventor, and stockbroker, was born at Hagley House outside of Wilmington, Delaware, the son of Francis Gurney du Pont, manager of the Du Pont black powder mills, and Elise Wigfall Simons. He was a great-grandson of ...

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Nichols, William Henry (09 January 1852–21 February 1930), industrial chemist and entrepreneur, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of George Henry Nichols and Sarah Elizabeth Harris, a Quaker. He attended the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn from 1865 to 1868, when it was still effectively a preparatory school and where he was first exposed to and fascinated by the study of chemistry. After several months at Cornell University, he was asked to leave when he refused to reveal the names of his cohorts in allegedly placing a team of horses and a cart on a dormitory roof. Nichols moved in 1869 to New York University, where ...

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Smalley, Richard (Rick) (6 June 1943–28 Oct. 2005), chemist, entrepreneur, and Nobel laureate, was born Richard Errett Smalley in Akron, Ohio to Frank Dudley Smalley, Jr. and Esther Virginia Rhoads. His parents were from Kansas City, and moved the family back when Smalley was three. When Smalley was fourteen, Sputnik was launched, leading to reforms in American science education which encouraged Smalley and many of his generation to become scientists. He also claimed inspiration from a maternal aunt, Sara Jane Rhoads, a chemistry professor at the University of Wyoming....

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Weightman, William (30 September 1813–25 August 1904), manufacturer, chemist, and financier, was born in Waltham, Lincolnshire, England, the son of William Weightman and Anne Farr. Weightman emigrated to the United States when he was sixteen at the suggestion of his uncle John Farr, a chemist and founder of the firm Farr & Kunzi, established in 1818. Farr & Kunzi was the first company to experiment with conchona alkaloids in the United States, at the same time that Pellatier and Gaventou were announcing their discovery of that substance in 1820. Weightman entered the firm in 1820, and when Kunzi retired in 1836, Weightman and another associate, Thomas Powers, formed Farr, Powers & Weightman. In 1841 Weightman married Louise Stelwagon; they had three children....