Reproduction of Article:  M. L. Crossley, "Ten Years of Progress in the Dye and Intermediate Industry", Industrial and
Chemical Engineering, Vol. 18, No. 12, December 1926, pp. 1322-1323.  Paper presented before the Division of Dye
Chemistry at the 72nd Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Philadelphia, PA, September 5-11, 1926.  Crossley
worked for Calco Chemical Co., Bound Brook, NJ.
The statistical record of the development of the dye industry in the United States is available in the reports which have been compiled yearly
since 1917 for the United States Tariff Commission. In these reports is found a record of industrial achievement which compels admiration and
stimulates endeavor. The story is so well known that only its salient features need be stressed here.  

The synthetic dye industry embraces a wide variety of products, many of which are incidental to the manufacture of dyes but highly essential to
the success of other industries; to the prosperity, health, and happiness of the American people; and to the security of this nation. The products
of the dye factory enter the homes of rich and poor as luxuries and as necessities; they relieve pain and diminish suffering; they give comfort
and enjoyment; they make life richer and more worth while; they are essential for national independence.

Interdependence of Dye and Other Industries
A correct evaluation of the progress made in the dye industry during the period under review must take into consideration the interlacing and
interdependence of this and other essential industries. The creation of the dye industry changed the practice of the steel industry in coking coal
to permit the recovery of valuable by-products from about 80 per cent of the total coal coked, instead of about 28 per cent, which had been
previous practice. This not only made available raw materials for the dye and related similar chemical industries, but it also led to efficiencies in
the manufacture of coke, which in turn were reflected in decreased cost of steel. Ultimately the public received the benefit of the saving in
cheaper commodities made from steel.  Indirectly, then, the dye industry benefited not only the steel industry but also the industries using steel
and the people consuming products such as automobiles. Again the conservation of the above waste products led to the production of benzene-
blended motor fuels for internal combustion engines, and these have contributed not only to the comfort of thousands of motorists using such
fuels because of their freedom from detonation, but also considerably to the progress made in the study of the relation between the chemical
nature of fuel and the character of its combustion in internal combustion engines. Who can say what this will ultimately mean in economy of
gasoline and in the development of new antiknock compounds?

The dye industry is closely related to other essential industries. Its products contribute to the progress of these industries. Synthetic organic
compounds made in connection with the dye industry have materially improved the products of the rubber industry, made possible the plastic
Industry, broadened the scope of the perfume and flavor industry, enriched the science of chemotherapy, cheapened the products of other
industries, permitted the economic recovery of waste materials by flotation processes, and created new industries destined to rank among the
most important of our national assets. The full value of these contributions cannot be stated in terms of dollars added to national wealth. The
contribution of accelerators to the improvement of automobile tires cannot be entirely evaluated in terms of the dollars saved, in capital expense
for equipment to manufacture the tires, and in the saving due to increased mileage obtained with these tires. In addition we must consider the
value in the comfort of automobile riding, resulting from the greater reliability of tires. Likewise, the improvements in chemotherapy resulting
from the development of new and better drugs from a better understanding of the function of old drugs and from a more comprehensive
knowledge of the selectivity of drug action on metabolism under both normal and pathological conditions cannot be measured in terms of
dollars saved. No one, however, will doubt the value of such contributions to the life and happiness of the American people.

Pre-War Status of Industry
Progress during the past decade has been made at cost, but it is gratifying to see the speed with which the dye industry got under way once the
decision was made to give it protection during its infancy. Prior to 1924 we manufactured less than 3 per cent of the total synthetic dyes
produced by the important dye-producing countries of the world.  These were assembled chiefly from imported intermediates.  The synthetic
chemical industry was insignificant in United States. We consumed a large percentage of important synthetic products made in the world but
had no adequate knowledge of their manufacture. We had few factories equipped to make these products. We had abundant potential raw
materials, but they were not available when we awoke to the realization that we needed them.  We had chemists and engineers, but most of
them had no experience in the synthetic organic chemical industry.  Applied organic chemistry had not taken root in our American soil. The few
attempts to acclimate it to our country had been choked off by foreign competition. Such was the state of affairs when we were called upon ten
years to produce the substances which we had previously imported and which were indispensable to the health, happiness, safety and
prosperity of our people. Looking back on this experience, we resolve that America shall never again be dependent upon foreign sources of
supply for her essential organic chemicals. The American people will not forget this lesson.

Progress of a Year
Seven dye factories in 1916 multiplied to eighty-one by the end of 1917 and in one year their production of dyes equaled prewar importation—
about 46 million pounds.  Besides, a considerable quantity of dye was exported. In the same year one hundred and eighteen firms produced one
hundred and thirty-four different intermediates from raw materials made from American crudes. About 323 million pounds of intermediates and
about 9 million pounds of other finished products, including lakes, drugs, flavors, perfume materials, and photographic chemicals, were also
produced. In addition, the demands for war chemicals and for synthetic resins were met. Whatever justification there be today for the criticism
that we are slow to accomplishment, there can be no dispute over the claim for speed of action during the first year of the life of the synthetic
organic chemical industry.

Achievements of a Decade
Progress in the synthetic chemical industry, particularly that allied to the dye industry, has been made chiefly in three directions—in improved
efficiencies in the manufacture of staple products, in the extension of the use of these products, and in the discovery of new products which are
superior in quality and simpler in application than the products they have displaced. The public has been benefited by these improvements more
than is generally recognized.  Often the reduction in the selling price of a product anticipates the reduction in cost due to improvements in the
process of manufacture. The reductions in the cost of essential intermediates have been passed on to the consuming public in cheaper dyes,
drugs, photographic chemicals, automobile tires, lacquers, etc. The intermediates of chief importance, such as aniline, beta-naphthol, H-acid,
anthraquinone, phthalic anhydride, benzidine, etc., have received considerable attention. Old processes have been improved and in certain
cases entirely new processes for these products have been developed. Economy in production and quality of finished product have been the
dominating ideas in the industry. The quality of the organic products made in this country is equal to that of the prewar products, and in certain
cases better.

The air oxidation of naphthalene to phthalic anhydride is one of the outstanding triumphs of American technical men. Cheap phthalic anhydride
has led to synthetic anthraquinone, and this in turn contributed in no small measure to the progress made in the development of vat dyes of the
anthraquinone series. New uses have been developed for phthalic acid products. The phthalates have taken their place among the most
important constituents of the new nitrocellulose lacquers. Some of the phthalic acid dyes have assumed considerable importance in medicine.
Phthalic acid, which sold in the United States in 1916 for $14.00 per pound and in 1917 for $4.23 per pound, can be purchased today for about 18
cents per pound,

The improvements in the manufacture of aniline and other products required in the manufacture of indigo, as well as the progress made in
improving the process for indigo itself, have combined to make American indigo the cheapest in the world today. In 1914 indigo paste sold in this
country for about 15.5 cents per pound. It was an imported product. In 1917 the American-made product sold for $1.42 per pound. In 1925 the
same product sold for 14 cents per pound. If this latter figure is equated to the purchasing power of the dollar in 1914 the comparative selling
price of indigo in 1925 was about 8.25 cents. (The purchasing power of the dollar in 1915 was estimated to be 59 cents.) This is another
illustration of how the savings made in the dye industry have been passed on to the consuming public.  It is also interesting to note that a similar
reduction in selling price has not taken place in those products which are not manufactured in this country in sufficient amount to meet the total
demands. This would not look as if there were any tendency on the part of American dye manufacturers to hold up the price on their products
above what is economically justified.

Among the other achievements of the decade are the development of economic processes for the manufacture of the most important of the vat
dyes, the production of new dyes for printing, the discovery of a new class of spirit-soluble dyes which are capable of producing every desired
hue and which are of excellent fastness to light, the discovery of new rubber accelerators, the discovery of new processes of making old
accelerators, the discovery of anti-oxidants for rubber, the production of low viscosity nitro-cellulose, the discovery of new lacquers and the
development of the technic for using them, and the production of special alloys for use in chemical equipment.

In ten years we have passed from a condition of almost complete dependence on foreign countries for our requirements of synthetic organic
products to a state of interdependence but for a few minor specialties. We not only manufacture about 95 per cent of the dyes we need in this
country, but in addition we export a larger quantity of dyes than we import. Also, we have developed a business in non-coal-tar synthetic
compounds amounting to about 120 million pounds per year. What has been accomplished, however, is only indicative of what can be done
when the purpose is clear and when technical knowledge and skill are given adequate financial support and guided by sound business
principles. The continued success of the dye and synthetic organic chemical industry in America is assured, however, only when there is firmly
established in the consciousness of our people the fact that applied science is dependent on fundamental truths for its progress and when the
relation of research to production is better understood and appreciated.
Ten Years of Progress in the Dye and Intermediate Industry
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