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This Month in Delaware History

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Site of the first  Du Pont Powder Mills. DHS Postcard Collection, Museums

In July of 1802, a French chemist fleeing the French Revolution bought land along the Brandywine River where he founded one of the most commercially successful companies in United States history. Eleuthere Irenee du Pont de Nemours began manufacturing gunpowder as a response to European superiority in that particular industry in the decade following the American Revolution. By the American Civil War, the DuPont Company was providing half of the gunpowder used by the Union Army.

In the 20th century, DuPont expanded even further its commercial dominance of the chemical industry by developing a host of polymers including Nylon, Mylar, Teflon, Kevlar, Neoprene, Tyvek, Vespel, and Lycra. The original location of the DuPont Company is nestled along the rolling hills northwest of Wilmington, Delaware along the Brandywine River. The site today is a museum- the Hagley Museum and Library.

Diorama of the black powder press house in the Du Pont Mills. DHS Postcard Collection, Museums   




Object of the Month

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Gentleman’s ring, carved from bone and inlaid with 24 red and blue stars and the script initials “GWA,” belonged to Captain George W. Ahl (1834-1914).

In a month when we celebrate our nation’s birth and have stars and stripes in our eyes, July’s collection highlight is appropriately red, white, and blue. This gentleman’s ring, carved from bone and inlaid with 24 red and blue stars and the script initials “GWA,” belonged to Captain George W. Ahl (1834-1914), the second in command, assistant adjutant, and inspecting officer at Fort Delaware during the Civil War. The ring was carved by Colonel O.M. Butler of the First Louisiana Cavalry as a token of appreciation for favors extended towards him by Ahl while a prisoner of war at Fort Delaware. READ MORE.



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The Delaware Historical Society is the statewide, non-profit organization that explores, preserves, shares, and promotes Delaware history, heritage, and culture to strengthen our community.