Golden Age of Inorganics

An Industry Pioneer and Fearless Entrepreneur

In 1897, The Dow Chemical Company began as a one-product start-up founded by H.H. Dow, an industry pioneer. Dow was an electrochemical pioneer whose first commercial success came in 1891 when he used electric current to separate bromides from brine.

He started three companies. His first company went bankrupt, the second ousted him from control, and the third, The Dow Chemical Company, struggled to survive after its founding in Midland, Michigan. His indomitable optimism helped him persevere against those who nicknamed him “Crazy Dow.” More than a century later, Dow’s “do it better” spirit lives on in the company he founded.

“From H.H. Dow, there was a new
idea every morning.”

– Tom Griswold, first head of Dow’s patent department

1897 The Dow Chemical Company is founded.
1898 Dow’s first commercial-scale production of bleach begins.
1900 Midland Chemical Company merges into Dow.
1906 Dow produces its first agricultural product.
1908 The agricultural chemicals division is established based on a spray for fruit trees.
1913 H.H. Dow announces the company will exit the bleach business. The focus shifts to the value of chlorine as a raw material.
1916 Dow first markets calcium chloride, magnesium metal and acetylsalicylic acid.
1918 The company adopts its diamond trademark.

Dow’s Growth Story

For over a century, Dow has been a company of innovation, growth and a leader in the industry. Follow the company’s timeline through each Generation of Innovation and Transformation.

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