A GENERAL VIEW of the DuPont “Orlon” plant at Camden is show here. The plant will be dedicated tomorrow and named for Benjamin M. May, retired general manager of the DuPont rayon department. Mr. May was with the company from 1902 until 1949 and was an official of the organization which launched the company’s textile fibers operations at Buffalo, N. Y., in 1920.

Camden’s DuPont Plant Dedication Set Friday

CAMDEN, Oct. 5. – A typical American success story will be climaxed here on Friday when the DuPont company’s $15,000,000 plant for the manufacture of “Orlon” acrylic fiber will be dedicated in honor of Benjamin M. May, retired head of Du Pont’s vast rayon department.

Gov. J. Strom Thurmond and Du Pont president Crawford H. Greenewalt will head a gathering of more than 150 dignitaries of the nation, state, Kershaw county, and the city, who will assemble here for the dedication. May Henry Savage, Jr., will preside at a dinner honoring Mr. May and at a public meeting at the local state armory.

A Maryland-born farm boy with a mere business school education, Mr. May was not only a pioneer of the nation’s important rayon industry but was prominently associated with the development of such scientifically exact chemical substances as cellophane, nylon, “Orlon” and Fiber V, Du Pont’s newest evaluation fiber for the textile industry.

The dedication of the plant here Friday marks the formal opening of the first facility in the world for the commercial production of “Orlon,” a synthetic fiber which is described paradoxically as having “the most silk-like feel” of any man-man fiber in its form of continuous-filament yarn and “the most wool-like feel” of any of the synthetics in the form of staple. Leland M. Jones, plant manager, will preside at the dedication ceremony.

Ten years of exacting research costing approximately $7,000,000 went into the discovery and development. The fundamental work was done in Du Pont’s laboratories at Buffalo, N. Y., and Wilmington, Del Appropriately, Dr. W. Hale Charch and a group of his assistants, who first worked on the development, will be here for the dedication of the plant. Dr. Charch, a distinguished scientist, is the inventor of moisture-proof cellophane, which now represents about 90 per cent of the output of this packaging film.

Another group of scientist headed by Dr. Rollin Conaway will be here from Waynesboro, Va., where Du Point first produced “Orlon” acrylic fiber in commercial quantities, first in a small semi-works plant and later in a larger pilot plant, where the process for the plant here was worked out.

The origin of “Orlon” acrylic fiber occurred in the discovery in the laboratories of the Du Pont company that poly-acrylonitrile was soluble in certain organic solvents, producing concentrated solutions that could be spun on conventional yarn-spinning systems.

Unlike nylon, rayon, wool, cotton, and many other fibers, the names of which are generic terms, “Orlon” is Du Pont’s trademark for its acrylic fiber. The first unit here has a rated capacity of approximately six and one-half million pounds of yarn a year.

The fiber has outstanding resistance to sunlight, is quick-drying, easy to launder, recovers rapidly from wrinkling and holds its shape when properly and adequately heat-set in finished textile articles. It is the most outstanding fiber known in its resistance to outdoor exposure-natural or man-made.

Initial production is of relatively heavy yarns for industrial uses requiring resistance to acids or exposure such as filter fabrics, mine belting, chemical and marine cordage, and electrical insulation.

Guest for the dedication will include Gov. J. Strom Thurmond, Robert L. Sumwalt of the University of South Carolina, Richard Shafto, WIS manager; J. L. Carter of Seaboard Railway; James C. Floyd, executive secretary of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce; Alderman Duncan of the AP; George A. Buchanan, editor of The Columbia Record: Chief Highway Commissioner C. R. McMillan, L. W. Bishop, director of the Research and Development board, and O. G. Donny of Seaboard Railway, all of Columbia.

Also, Rep. J. P. Richards, Senator Olin D. Johnston, Governor-elect James F. Byrnes, Leigh R. Powell, Jr., president of Seaboard Railroad, G. B. Rice, vice president, Warren T. White, assistant vice president, and C. M. Hazlehurst, assistant general industrial agent of Seaboard.

Also, Louis Sutton and S. P. Vecker, president and vice president of the Carolina Power and Light company, Raleigh, N. C., Charles H. Campbell, president of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, Hartsville; L. A. Savage; L. A. Savage of Charlotte; Donald Holland, representative-elect of Cassatt, John Baker, representative-elect of Bethune, P. E. Jones and J. H. Sowell, both of Kershaw, and G. A. Dowey of Blaney, members of the county board of directors.

Attending the opening from Camden will be; Harry D. Kirkover, dean of the winter colony; R. B. Pitts, Charles Taggart, superintendent of Wateree Mills, Van Wrape, manager of Jaclyn Hosiery mill, Mayor Henry Savage, Jr., Commissioners, J. E. McKain and W. F. Nettles, Jr., City Manager Lott T. Rogers, City Attorney Harold Funderburk, County Attorney John K DeLoach, and John Carl West, state highway commissioner.

Also H. G. Carrison, vic president of the Commercial National Bank; Thomas Ancrum, manager of Southern Cotton Oil company, Frank Heath, Harold C. Booker, editor of the Camden Chronicle, Thomas Richards, manager, Radio Station WACA; C. J. Shannon, president, Camden and Kershaw Chamber of Commerce; G. R. Stuart, Jr., secretary; J. Lane Woodcock, Jaycee president; Miss Jennie McMaster, president B and PW club; Andrew B. Marion, Rotary president, and Dr. A. W. Humphries, Kiwanis president.

Also, Everett Montgomery, Civitan president; Clyde Walton, Lions president: Charles H. Zemp, president of Hermitage Cotton Mills, Senator R. M. Kennedy, Jr., Representative Ezell Kelly and W. M. Gettys, Senator-elect J. Clator Arrents, U. N. Myers, chairman of the county board of directors and A. S. Llewellyn, chairman of the S. C., Research Development board.

Plant officials attending the dedication will be President C. H. Greenwalt; Vice-president W. H. Ward, F. H. Mackie, manager of the Engineering department construction division: W. T. Craig, engineering department; E. K. Gladding, director, development department, C. W. Davis, assistant general manager, Grasselli chemicals department: H. F. Brown, manager, Dr. E. D. Ries, Polychemicals department manager, and D. O. Notman, assistant manager of the electrochemicals department.

Also, Samuel Lenher, organic chemicals assistant manager; W. A. Hart, advertising director: H. B. Garrett, Purchasing department assistant director; Dr. C. L. Burdick, High Polymer chairman; J. S. Denham Photo products manager, C. H. Rutledge, public relations, Glen Perry assistant public relations director: F. C. Evans service director: G. M. Read, chief engineer, Dr. Cole Coolidge, assistant director, chemical department; J. L. Bradley, and S. L. Abrams of the legal department: S. L. Holtzlander, traffic, W. F. Cooke, engineering, Willis Shackelford, Dr. E. B. Benger and B. M. May.

From the rayon department will be General Manger R. L. Richards, Dr. W. H Charch, manager of the Pioneering Research section Manfred Keller, Dr. C. P Hoff, manager of the Acetate division, G. S. Deeme Acetate division sales director F. B. Ridgway, Rayon division manager, Dr. W. W. Heckett, Manager rayon technical division T. H. Urmston, Acetate division assistant manager M. G. Jones Acetate division director of production and Dr. V. R. Hardy, Acetate research section manager.

Also, W. L. Stabler personal division manager, M. W. Touchton Control division manager, J. N. Tillow, planning division manager, W. L. Scarborough, manager of the Waynesboro, Va. plant W. C. Ebellin assistant manager, Acetate research laboratory, Dr. H. H. Bround, consultant and J. Warren kinsman, vice-president.

October 5, 1950  Columbia Record (published as The Columbia Record)  Columbia, South Carolina
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