Major Businesses: E.I. Du Pont De Memours & Company

About the major world business E.I. Du Pont de Memours & Company, history, headquarters, size, and leader.



Lay of the Land: Du Pont's headquarters are located in Wilmington, Del. Its manufacturing activities are conducted by domestic plants organized into 10 departments and foreign plants organized under subsidiaries in 25 countries.

Size: Du Pont is the largest chemical company in the world, the 16th-largest industrial corporation in the U.S., and the 29th-largest industrial corporation in the world.

Population: 133,000 employees.

Who Rules: Du Pont's day-to-day policy decisions are made by Chairman Irving S. Shapiro, Pres. Edward R. Kane, and five senior vice-presidents, who together make up the company's executive committee. Du Pont's officers are elected by a 24-member board of directors. The board is elected by 205,000 shareholders owning 48 million shares.

Who REALLY Rules: The Du Pont family, which owns the largest block of stock, rules the company as it has done since the firm was founded over 175 years ago.

By 1905 Du Pont had bought up the other companies in the Powder Trust and dissolved the trust. An antitrust suit by the U.S. government forced Du Pont to be broken up into three companies in 1912, but the resulting new companies--Atlas and Hercules--were still controlled and staffed by Du Pont.

Following W.W. I, Du Pont invested more than half of its properties and equipment in chemical manufacture, and Congress passed the Tariff Act of 1920 (at the urging of U.S. Sen. T. Coleman Du Pont) to protect the new chemical industry from foreign competition. The company bought up other chemical companies and invested in General Motors and U.S. Rubber (now Uniroyal), which provided markets for Du Pont products (neoprene for tires; paints and varnishes for cars). In 1934 Du Pont bought 56% of the Remington Arms Company.

Du Pont's products and the family's investments in major corporations are so diverse that whenever we buy a product, there is a good chance that we are enriching the Du Ponts. Du Pont makes tetraethyl lead for gasoline, upholstery and paints for cars, synthetic fibers for clothing, packaging material, and arms and ammunition. The Du Pont family owns a controlling interest in over 100 multimillion-dollar banks and corporations, including Boeing Aircraft, Rockwell International, Phillips Petroleum, and Uniroyal.

Du Pont made 1 million lb. of gunpowder for the War of 1812;2,700 lb. of powder a day for the Civil War; 40% of all Allied explosives for W.W. I (over $1 billion in war contracts); and 70% of U.S. explosives output for W.W. II ($4.5 billion). The company built and operated the plants for producing the atomic bomb (the Manhattan Project) and developed and produced the hydrogen bomb. A dozen Du Ponts earned an income of at least $1 million a year during W.W.I.

The Du Ponts are the wealthiest family in the world, with a fortune estimated at $10 billion.

When the Du Pont family sailed to the U.S. from France, they did not take along enough food and had to resort to eating a soup made from boiled rats.

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