Dicke, Robert J. (ed.) / Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters
volume XLIV (1955)
Ihde, Aaron J.; Conners, James W.
Chemical industry in early Wisconsin, pp. 5-20 PDF (5.8 MB)
CHEMICAL INDUSTRY IN EARLY WISCONSIN' 5 AARON J. IHDE and JAMES W. CONNERS University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin The term "chemical industry" can be used in a variety of ways. In its strictest sense it applies only to those industries participating in the production of chemicals, i.e., salts, acids, bases, solvents, and intermediates. Such products rarely reach the hands of ultimate consumers but are purchased by industrial processors who utilize them for their ability to transform raw materials into those products desired by the ultimate consumer. According to this designation, the smelting of lead for use in lead pipe is not a chemical industry but the production of white lead and red lead for the use of the paint industry is one. Numerous industries not directly involved in the production of chemicals are nevertheless dependent upon chemical changes for their success. This is true of the smelting of metal ores, the fermentation of carbohydrates to alcoholic beverages, the purification of cellulose in the production of pulp and paper, the bleaching of pulp and of textiles, the dyeing of textiles, the tanning of skins, the curing of cheese, and the production of soap. These industries are generally characterized as the "chemical process industries." A related type of industry is the one which produces no chemicals, depends upon no chemical reactions, but uses chemicals essentially unchanged in the fabrication of consumer products such as paints, matches, and pharmaceuticals. This may well be termed the "chemical consuming industry." We propose to examine the early development of Wisconsin industry in all of these categories rather than limiting our discussion solely to those industries which are chemical industries only in the strict use of the term. A major reason for using this broad approach lies in the difficulty of separating one activity from another. The paper industry, for example, is quite likely to produce for its own use, such chemicals as chlorine, sodium hydroxide, sulfite, and sulfate. To that extent it is truly a chemical industry. It uses these chemicals in the production of pulp and paper and therefore is a chemical process industry. It uses 1 Based upon material presented at the annual meeting of the wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters, Madison, Wisconsin, April 24—25, 1953.
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