Éleuthère Irénée du Pont
|Éleuthère Irénée du Pont de Nemours|
E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company
24 June 1771|
|Died||31 October 1834
|Title||President E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company|
|Successor||Alfred Victor Philadelphe du Pont|
|Spouse(s)||Sophie Madeleine Dalmas|
|Children||Alexis Irénée du Pont|
Éleuthère Irénée du Pont de Nemours (24 June 1771 – 31 October 1834), known as Irénée du Pont, or E.I. du Pont, was a French American chemist and industrialist who founded the gunpowder manufacturer, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. His descendants, the Du Pont family, were one of America's richest and most prominent families in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Early life and family
Du Pont was born 24 June 1771, in Paris, France, the son of Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours and Nicole Charlotte Marie Louise Le Dée de Rencourt. His father had been elevated to the nobility in 1784 by "letters patent" granted by King Louis XVI. Du Pont married Sophie Dalmas (1775–1828) in 1791, and they had eight children. In 1799, the Du Pont family emigrated from France to the United States.
Du Pont sailed before his family and landed at Rhode Island on 1 January 1800, along with his father and his brother's family. By 1802, he had established both his business and his family home, Eleutherian Mills, on the Brandywine Creek in Delaware. 1 January is the anniversary of the arrival of the du Pont family in America, and this date is still so celebrated by its descendants.
Career in France
He also worked at a gunpowder mill in Essones and managed a saltpetre refinery. Like his father, he was initially a supporter of the French Revolution. However, both were among those who physically defended King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette from a mob besieging the Tuileries Palace in Paris during the insurrection of 10 August, 1792. After his father narrowly escaped the guillotine and the family house was sacked by a mob in 1797 during the events of 18 Fructidor, the entire family left for the United States in 1799. They hoped to create a model community of French émigrés.
E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company
Du Pont brought an expertise in chemistry and gunpowder making, during a time when the quality of American-made gunpowder was very poor. Shortly after arrival in the United States DuPont was hunting with Major Louis de Tousard, a former French artillery officer then employed by the United States Army to procure gunpowder supplies. DuPont commented on the inferior quality of the American-made powder they were using for hunting, and the major suggested he should use his experience from France to manufacture gunpowder in the United States. His gunpowder company was capitalized at $36,000 with 18 shares at $2,000 each. He purchased a site on Brandywine Creek for $6,740. There were several small buildings and a dam with foundations for a cotton-spinning mill which had been destroyed by fire. The first gunpowder was produced in April 1804.
The company he founded would become one of the largest and most successful American corporations. His sons, Alfred V. du Pont (1798–1856) and Henry du Pont (1812–1889), managed the plant after his death, assisted by his son-in-law, Antoine Bidermann. His grandson, Lammot du Pont I (1831–1884), was the first president of the United States Gunpowder Trade Association, popularly known as the Powder Trust.
|President of Du Pont
1802 – 31 October 1834
Alfred V. du Pont
- Wisniak, J. 2000. The History of Saltpeter Production with a Bit of Pyrotechnics and Lavoisier. Chem. Educator 5:205–209.
- Brown, G.I. (1998), The Big Bang: A history of Explosives, Sutton Publishing, pp. 27–34. ISBN 0-7509-1878-0
- du Pont, Pierre S. (1942). Genealogy of the Du Pont Family 1739–1942. Wilmington: Hambleton Printing & Publishing.
- Dutton, William S. (1942). Du Pont, One Hundred and Fifty Years. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
- Éleuthère Irénée du Pont at Find a Grave
- Bio at the Du Pont company website
- The DuPont Company on the Brandywine (A digital exhibit produced by the Hagley Library that includes the influence of Eleuthere Irenee du Pont in the founding of the company]
- Eleuthère Irénée du Pont Papers at Hagley Museum and Library