DuPont chairman and CEO Chad Holliday (center) and two DuPont employees, Joshau Zhang of China and Margarita de Ceballos of Colombia, place artifacts into the 200th-anniversary time capsule.
WILMINGTON, DE — At the site where DuPont was founded as a family-owned gunpowder manufacturer during this week in 1802, the company marked its 200th anniversary by dedicating an 8-cubic-foot, stainless steel time capsule filled with artifacts, employees’ and retirees’ creative expressions, and a CD-ROM viewer.

Leading the dedication at the historic Hagley Museum and Library here, DuPont chairman and CEO Charles O. Holliday Jr. was joined by two former CEOs — Edgar S. Woolard and John A. Krol — and 12 employees from Asia, Europe, South America, and the United States.

The employees were grand prize winners in a company-wide contest celebrating the company’s past, present, and future contributions to the world. Other special guests included retiree Joe Labovsky, who worked on Wallace Carothers’ team on the discovery of nylon; Bill Ulmer, the longest serving DuPont employee in Delaware, with 58 years; fifth-generation employees Fred and Kevin Best and Ray Conner; and the DuPont Diversity Choir.

Contributing to the time capsule contents, the 12 employees’ creative expressions include wood carvings, a tapestry made of DuPont products, a “time machine,” poems, and drawings. They were selected from among 2,000 submissions, all of which have been captured digitally on CD-ROM and microfilm that were placed in the time capsule — along with devices for reading them when the capsule is opened on the 300th anniversary in 2102.

Other contents include artifacts and commemoratives representing the anniversary, including the book DuPont: From the Banks of the Brandywine to Miracles of Science; a bicentennial silver coin collection; and the 200th-anniversary video “Miracles.”

(Following the time-honored tradition to ensure surprises when a time capsule is opened, a comprehensive list of the contents is not available.)


The time capsule was installed on a hillside overlooking the Brandywine River, near the restored 1884 Power Plant that DuPont sponsored. A multipurpose structure there is now used for Hagley’s educational programs.

“DuPont employees who open the time capsule 100 years from now probably won’t be familiar with the 21st century technologies of CD-ROMs and microfilm,” Holliday said. “But they will be thoroughly familiar with the sentiments expressed by our people today. That’s because they highlight two essential characteristics that have not changed in 200 years and will remain constant in our third century: what we value — our high ethical standards, respect for people, and commitment to safety, health, and the environment — and how we create value for society — by applying science and knowledge to improve life on our planet.

“These characteristics are the foundation of our past and present success, and they will continue to guide us in the future.”

The company was founded on July 19, 1802, by French immigrant Eleuthère Ir¿e du Pont as a small family operation for the manufacture of black powder for guns and blasting. The company now has 79,000 employees and operations in 70 nations. DuPont invented products including nylon, Teflon® nonstick coating, Stainmaster® carpet, Lycra® brand elastane, Kevlar® fiber, Corian® solid surfaces, Tyvek® protective materials, and Solae™ soy protein.

Publication date: 08/26/2002