A new direction

Pivoting with the times

Nothing illustrates Herbert Henry Dow’s entrepreneurial creativity and vision better than his decision in 1913 to exit the successful bleach business. Herbert Henry saw far greater opportunity ahead – and was bold enough to seize it.

His focused shifted to the value of chlorine as a raw material. He believed that the future of the company lay in the use of its chlorine for new products, such as magnesium chloride.

New flagship products

This in turn opened the door for new flagship products including iodine, metallic magnesium and magnesium sulfate – better known as Epsom Salts, of which Dow became the world's largest producer.

After World War I, Herbert Henry invested in research into the automotive industry, creating a Metallurgical Laboratory named Dowmetal. The division produced pistons and other parts for many types of vehicles, working mainly with lightweight magnesium metal.

Herbert Henry understood that to stay competitive, companies must continually grow and evolve. Watch how Herbert Henry continued to imagine better through the evolution of inorganic chemistry to mastering organic chemistry and polymer science.

Explore Dow's history