Collecting Delaware Books
Perhaps seeing the need for more aggressive marketing when the world returned to a peacetime basis, Du Pont published a hard cover illustrated catalog of its products in 1918. It is a favorite piece for collectors. There were several editions and printings, but the most often found is the stated (in the preface) third edition, dated May 15, 1918.
The handsome little 5- by 8-inch volume is bound in Du Pont Fabrikoid with the Du Pont oval and the title stamped in gold. It includes 17 pages of front matter and 236 pages of text.
An interesting part of the front matter is a listing of all the Du Pont associated companies, including E.I. Du Pont de Nemours, Wilmington Du Pont Chemical Works, New York Du Pont Fabrikoid Company, Wilmington The Arlington Works, New York Harrison Works, Bridgeport Wood Finishing Works, Philadelphia and Du Pont Dye Works, Wilmington.
The first section of the book deals with civilian high explosives, like dynamite, and the tools to use it. A subsequent section describes both smokeless and black gun powder for sports. A third section shows military explosives.
The company had great expectations for its Fabrikoid, a synthetic leather made by coating fabric with pyroxylin, a near relative of gun cotton. Pictures and text suggest its use luggage, book binding, clothing, hats, boats, upholstery, automobile convertible tops, and hundreds of other products.
Fabrikoid was grained to look like leather, but Du Pont also made other plasticized or rubberized fabrics.
Another line was Py-ra-lin a flexible sheet material which could be used for automobile side windows or molded into household products such as ladies' dresser sets.
The catalog lists chemicals of all kinds from sulphuric acid to tetramethyldiaminodiphenylmethane.
Du Pont made a wide variety of paints and other finishes. These take up 89 pages of the catalog. From wagons to boats, houses to elevators, machinery to barns, concrete to furniture, you name it, the company made a paint for it.
A final short section lists special products. Some were offshoots of standard lines, others were waste byproducts of manufacturing processes, still others were materials Du Pont needed for its own processes but decided to become a commodity dealer as well.
The final 56 pages list possible customers alphabetically from abattoirs to woolen mills. The products of interest are listed for each.
Copies of DU Pont Products in perfect condition can sell for $100 or so. Ones with the usual minor faults sell for quite a bit less.