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Ray H. Boundy

Ray H. Boundy

Dow Historical Collection, CHF Collections

  • Born: January 10, 1903, Brave, Pennsylvania
  • Died: April 19, 1992, Midland, Michigan

  Interview Details

Interview no.: 0053
Interview Date: August 21, 1986
Location: Higgins Lake, Michigan
Interviewer: James J. Bohning
No. of pages: 49
Minutes: 129

  Abstract of Interview

Ray Boundy begins his interview by describing his family background in western Pennsylvania, his grammar school experience and his college studies at Grove City College. He then studied chemical engineering at Case Institute of Technology where there was a strong interaction with the Dow Chemical Company. Before Boundy had completed his degree at Case he met Herbert Dow who offered a position in the Midland laboratories. Starting in the analytical laboratory, Ray Boundy moved to the productive physics group headed by John Grebe. After describing his involvement with early Dow projects, such as the seawater bromine process, sodium electrical conductors, electrolytic chlorine production and applications for ferric chloride, Boundy briefly reviews the work on styrene polymerization, monomer purity and wartime production. At the end of the hostilities in the European sector, Boundy joined a team of experts sent over to assess the German chemical industry. Postwar, Boundy had responsibility for plastics at Dow before his promotion to research director. In conclusion, he reflects on the changing nature of research in the chemical industry.


1924 B.S., Chemistry, Grove City College
1926 B.S., Chemical Engineering, Case Institute of Technology
1930 M.S., Chemical Engineering, Case Institute of Technology

  Professional Experience

Dow Chemical Company

1926 - 1930 Scientist, Physics Laboratory

Dow Chemical Company

1930 - 1942 Assistant Director, Physics Laboratory

Dow Chemical Company

1942 - 1950 Assistant to the President

Dow Chemical Company

1950 - 1968 Vice-President and Director of Research

Dow Chemical Company

1968 Consultant, Management of Research and Development


1947 Honorary Sc.D., Grove City College
1964 Medal, Industrial Research Institute
1965 Scroll Award, National Association of Manufacturers
1967 Member, National Academy of Engineering

  Table of Contents

Title and Description Page

Childhood and Early Education 1

Family background, farming and oil drilling. One-room schoolhouse. High school and interest in amateur radio.

College Education 4

Grove City College and developing interest in chemistry. Chemical engineering at Case Institute of Technology; faculty and course structure. Meeting with Herbert Dow.

Dow Chemical Company 10

Analytical laboratory. Herbert Dow's management style. John Grebe and the Dow physics laboratory. The seawater bromine process. Automatic control. Sodium as electrical conductor. Ferric chloride as coagulant and etchant. Styrene, purity and polymerization; publication of monograph. Wartime production and staff training program. Fact-finding mission to Germany at end of hostilities. Postwar plastics development. Director of research at Dow Chemical.

Notes 40

Index 41

  About the Interviewer

James J. Bohning

James J. Bohning is professor emeritus of chemistry at Wilkes University, where he was a faculty member from 1959 to 1990. He served there as chemistry department chair from 1970 to 1986 and environmental science department chair from 1987 to 1990. Bohning was chair of the American Chemical Society’s Division of the History of Chemistry in 1986; he received the division’s Outstanding Paper Award in 1989 and has presented more than forty papers at national meetings of the society. Bohning was on the advisory committee of the society’s National Historic Chemical Landmarks Program from its inception in 1992 through 2001 and is currently a consultant to the committee. He developed the oral history program of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and he was the foundation’s director of oral history from 1990 to 1995. From 1995 to 1998, Bohning was a science writer for the News Service group of the American Chemical Society. He is currently a visiting research scientist and CESAR Fellow at Lehigh University. In May 2005, he received the Joseph Priestley Service Award from the Susquehanna Valley Section of the American Chemical Society.

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