1902 Arthur J. Moxham
A member of DuPont’s first Executive Committee, Arthur J. Moxham (1854-1931) played a vital role in changing the company from a loosely organized explosives firm into an integrated chemical corporation.
Prior to his association with DuPont, Moxham had worked in the steel industry where he developed a method for rolling girder rails to fit a new streetcar invented by Tom Johnson. In 1889 Moxham joined with Johnson and Alfred Victor du Pont, grandson of E.I. du Pont, to begin a new steel enterprise called the Johnson Company. Moxham served as the company’s president and revealed his skills at central organization by setting up a modern national sales force with regional offices. He also appointed Pierre and T. Coleman du Pont to managerial positions and was impressed with their work. In 1899 Moxham left the Johnson Company to head a Nova Scotia steel firm.
When cousins Pierre, T. Coleman and Alfred I. du Pont purchased DuPont in 1902, they called on their mentor Arthur Moxham to help restructure the company along the lines of a modern corporation. Moxham advocated eliminating DuPont’s old strategy of buying majority interests in explosives companies while continuing to run them as separate entities. Instead, he urged the new owners to purchase companies outright and create a multidivisional corporate structure under the management of an Executive Committee. In 1903 Moxham was placed in charge of one of these new corporate divisions, the Development Department. Under Moxham’s leadership, the Development Department was tasked with finding new outlets for DuPont products, establishing independent sources of raw materials, and investigating new fields beyond explosives. Moxham instructed his staff to think of DuPont as a chemical manufacturer rather than simply a powder maker. The Development Department also controlled the Experimental Laboratory where important research was conducted on black powder, dynamite, glycerin and non-explosive uses for nitrocellulose. In 1913 Moxham resigned from the Executive Committee in order to head the Aetna Explosives Company.