The year 2002 marked the 200th anniversary of local industrial giant, DuPont, and the Society celebrated accordingly with a new exhibit entitled, “Inside & Out: Two Centuries of DuPont Products in the Home.” The new exhibit in the Delaware History Museum featured a peek into a few rooms of a specially constructed model house furnished with a wide array of DuPont-made household products, such as Teflon-coated cookware and Stainmaster carpeting. The model rooms were surrounded by satellite exhibits featuring many other famous DuPont products, such as Tyvek, Nomex, and Kevlar.
The DuPont Company was founded in 1802 near Wilmington at Eleutherian Mills by Éleuthère Irénée du Pont de Nemours (1771-1834), a Frenchman who had come to the United States to escape the French Revolution. Quick to spot an opportunity, he founded the hugely successful E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company gunpowder manufactory and his company held a virtual monopoly of the explosives business until the early years of the twentieth century, when it branched out into the chemical and materials science business. This new venture brought further successes, making DuPont a major player in the chemical industry and ensuring the company’s involvement in such big-name projects as the Manhattan Project and the Space Program during the twentieth century. The Society’s exhibit ran through the summer and celebrated the sheer diversity of the company’s products right up to the present day.