1921 Buffalo, New York

Buffalo was the site of DuPont black powder storage facilities as early as 1873, but it was nearly half a century before a plant opened there. DuPont licensed the French process for creating artificial silk in early 1920 and established its Buffalo plant a year later to produce "fibersilk," soon renamed rayon.Show more



Additional rayon plants were opened at Old Hickory, Tenn. and at the Spruance plant in Richmond, Va., but Buffalo was also expanded several times during the 1920s and 1930s to meet the booming market for the new fabric. The site was headquarters for the DuPont Rayon Company, a subsidiary headed by Leonard A. Yerkes, and also home to a research facility established in 1928.

 

Since Yerkes had assembled DuPont's top cellulose experts in Buffalo, it was natural to base the company's first cellophane manufacturing facilities there in 1924. In the 1940s the Rayon Department Technical Division developed Cordura, a high-tenacity rayon used in tires, and made breakthroughs in nylon and Dacron development, but the Buffalo research arm was finally closed in 1950 and its operations transferred to Wilmington. The Buffalo plant discontinued Cordura in 1954, rayon in 1955, and in 1986 domestic production of cellophane was phased out. The Buffalo plant, meanwhile, had begun manufacturing Tedlar® weather-resistant, polyvinyl film in 1962 and Corian® in 1967, which are still in production today.