Links to the Past: Michiana History - Record Detail

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Father Nieuwland Invents Synthetic Rubber

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Topic Indiana History-Inventions
Image Source "Today's Catholic"
Image Notes Father Julius Nieuwland, C.S.C. is shown in his laboratory in the old chemistry building at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana in this early photograph.
Time Period 20th Century
Image Date unknown
Keywords Rubber
Synthetic Rubber
Notre Dame

Additional Information & Sources

Historical Background In 1907 Father Nieuwland started conducting experiments with acetylene in his laboratory at Notre Dame. He noticed that when the colorless gas was passed into a solution of copper and alkali metal chlorides, the ensuing reaction produced a gas with a noxious odor. Over the next 13 years he was able to alter the compound's composition in a special way to form an oil. He and researcher Richard Bogt then prepared polymerization products of the oil and gas. The result was a compound called synthetic rubber. He presented his work at the 1925 Organic Chemistry Symposium in Rochester, New York, and in 1928 signed an agreement with DuPont assigning all rights to them. Just five months after securing patents in 1931, DuPont announced the first commercial production.

Father Nieuwland was born in 1878 in Belgium and received his Bachelor's degree from Notre Dame in 1899. He was inducted into the National Inventor's Hall of Fame in 1996.

From the article in "Holy Cross Priest/Instructor Rides to Honors on Rubber Wheels" in Today's Catholic, July 7, 1996.

See Clipping File location below.
Books & Videos

Newspaper Articles St. Joseph County Public Library Local & Family History Services, Clipping File - Biography - Fathers of the Holy Cross - Nieuwland, Julius Arthur

Full-Text Articles & Media Clips

Source Format Magazine
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