1905 Willis Fleming Harrington

Willis Fleming Harrington (1882-1960) was an engineer and an executive who helped guide DuPont through a critical period of diversification in the 1920s. A Delaware native, he graduated from the University of Delaware in 1902, earned a chemical engineering degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1905, and then joined DuPont as a chemist at the company's Barksdale explosives plant in Wisconsin.Show more

Four years later, in 1909, Harrington moved further west to manage the company's new explosives plant in the town of DuPont, Wash. In 1915 he returned East to do research on smokeless powder at the Carney's Point plant in New Jersey, and two years later was named manager of that facility.


During World War I, Harrington participated in many major decisions surrounding the company's involvement in dyestuffs research and manufacture, and in 1924 he was named General Manager of the Dyestuffs Department (later called the Organic Chemicals Department). From 1925 to 1926 he oversaw DuPont's start-up of tetraethyl lead (TEL) production for anti-knock gasoline, and helped guide the company's entry into the manufacture of titanium dioxide pigments. Harrington was elected to the company's Board of Directors in 1927. Two years later he was named a company vice president and member of the Executive Committee. He headed the Executive Committee's Fellowship program until the mid-1930s, awarding financial grants to university professors engaged in research activities of potential interest to the company. Harrington retired in 1947, though he remained on the Board of Directors until his death in 1960.