Bromine breakthrough

A one-product start-up

In 1897, The Dow Chemical Company began as a one-product start-up founded by Herbert H. Dow, an industry pioneer. The 24-year-old visionary, worked with makeshift resources – a rented mill building in Midland, Michigan, and a second-hand 15-volt generator turned by an old steam engine – to oxidize the bromine.

Many locals interpreted the fresh-faced college graduate's confidence as arrogance, and his far-fetched scheme to extract a fortune in minerals from saltwater earned him the nickname “Crazy Dow.”

Early success

Dow’s early career was his achievement in extracting bromine from brine through a new technique involving electrolysis. This “Dow Process” was far cheaper and more efficient than previous methods and would make Dow's new company the world’s most efficient bromine manufacturer. He was still just 24 years old when he discovered the process. The patent for his game-changing method for extracting bromine was granted in 1891.

Today Team Dow continues to look to Dow’s problem-solving mindset to innovate new innovations and new processes for our customers and an evolving world.