Charles Stine

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Charles Milton Altland Stine (1882–1954) was a chemist and a vice-president of DuPont who created the laboratory from which nylon and other significant inventions were made. He was also a devout Christian who authored a book about religion and science.

After receiving a Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University in 1907, Stine began work in DuPont's research laboratories on a project to make explosives safer to handle. With C.C. Ahlum, he used sodium sulfite as a purifying agent to crystallize trinitrotoluol (TNT). After studying the leakage of liquid components from dynamite, Stine was able to develop a more stable version of the explosive for use in mining. He developed improved methods for manufacture of ammonium nitrate, extraction of tetryl from dimethylanine, picric acid from chlorobenzene, and for chlorinating benzene. During the 1920s, synthetic resins were developed in his laboratories, and improved processes were found for manufacturing nitric acid and sulfuric acid.[1]

After becoming director of DuPont's chemical department in 1924, Dr. Stine was able to hire Dr. Wallace Carothers away from teaching at Harvard. Stine lobbied DuPont management for a budget exclusively devoted to speculative research.[2] In 1930, he succeeded in obtaining a $300,000 annual allocation, and concentrated with Carothers on colloid chemistry and development of polymers. Byproducts included a synthetic, chloroprene rubber, but the most notable invention came in 1938 with the creation of nylon.[3]

Among his awards were the Perkin Medal in 1940.

The Charles M.A. Stine Award of the AIChE is awarded annually by their Materials Engineering and Sciences Division.[4]

The son of a minister, Stine also wrote a book about his faith and his work as a scientist, entitled A Chemist and His Bible, published in 1943. Stine died in 1954 at the age of 72.


  1. ^ Current Biography 1940, pp 769-70
  2. ^ Susannah Handley, Nylon: The Story of a Fashion Revolution (Johns Hopkins University Press 1999)
  3. ^ DuPont Heritage: Charles M.A. Stine
  4. ^ MESD C.S. Stine Award