Treasure from an ancient sea

Untapped potential

On May 18, 2022, Dow celebrated 125 years since its founding in Midland, Michigan. But why would a fading lumber town be the ideal location for a start-up company? The answer lay deep below the surface, in an ancient ocean that was rich in natural resources.

Herbert Henry Dow's college research revealed that deep under Midland was an ancient ocean rich in magnesium, chlorine, calcium, bromine and other elements. This primeval brine had only been tapped for its salt (sodium chloride), but Dow saw the immense potential for harnessing its other treasures.

The “underground sea”

Fifteen to 20 million years ago, Michigan was covered by sea water. As the waters receded, brine aquifers formed. Settlers took advantage of these underground salty waters, and Michigan was the largest producer of salt during the late 19th century. However, Herbert Henry recognized that the real treasure was not the salt, but the valuable bromine and other elements in these aquifers.

It was upon that realization that he began to imagine a business that eventually became The Dow Chemical Company. Today, Team Dow realizes that by dreaming in bigger and bolder ways, we can achieve a more sustainable future.

Explore Dow's history