Ray H. Boundy

Born: January 10, 1903 | Brave, PA, US
Died: Thursday, November 19, 1992 | Midland, MI, US

Ray Boundy studied chemical engineering at Case Institute of Technology where there was a strong interaction with the Dow Chemical Company. Before Boundy had completed his degree at Case he had met Herbert Dow who offered him a position in the Midland laboratories. Starting in the analytical laboratory, Ray Boundy moved to the productive physics group headed by John Grebe. After describing his involvement with early Dow projects, such as the seawater bromine process, sodium electrical conductors, electrolytic chlorine production and applications for ferric chloride, Boundy briefly reviews the work on styrene polymerization, monomer purity, and wartime production. At the end of hostilities in the European sector Boundy joined one of the teams of experts sent over to assess the German chemical industry. Postwar, Boundy had responsibility for plastics at Dow before his promotion to research director. 

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Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0053
No. of pages: 43
Minutes: 129

Interview Sessions

James J. Bohning
21 August 1986
Higgins Lake, Michigan

Abstract of Interview

Ray Boundy begins his interview by describing his family background in western Pennsylvania, his grammar school experience and his college studies at Grove City College. He then studied chemical engineering at Case Institute of Technology where there was a strong interaction with the Dow Chemical Company. Before Boundy had completed his degree at Case he met Herbert Dow who offered a position in the Midland laboratories. Starting in the analytical laboratory, Ray Boundy moved to the productive physics group headed by John Grebe. After describing his involvement with early Dow projects, such as the seawater bromine process, sodium electrical conductors, electrolytic chlorine production and applications for ferric chloride, Boundy briefly reviews the work on styrene polymerization, monomer purity and wartime production. At the end of the hostilities in the European sector, Boundy joined a team of experts sent over to assess the German chemical industry. Postwar, Boundy had responsibility for plastics at Dow before his promotion to research director. In conclusion, he reflects on the changing nature of research in the chemical industry. 

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1924 Grove City College BS Chemistry
1926 Case Institute of Technology BS Chemical Engineering
1930 Case Institute of Technology MS Chemical Engineering

Professional Experience

Dow Chemical Company

1926 to 1930
Scientist, Physics Laboratory
1930 to 1942
Assistant Director, Physics Laboratory
1942 to 1950
Assistant to the President
1950 to 1968
Vice President and Director of Research
1968 to 1987
Consultant, Management of Research and Development

Honors

Year(s) Award
1947

Honorary ScD, Grove City College

1964

Medal, Industrial Research Institute

1965

Scroll Award, National Association of Manufacturers

1967

Member, National Academy of Engineering

Table of Contents

Childhood and Early Education
1

Family background, farming and oil drilling. One-room schoolhouse. High school and interest in amateur radio.

College Education
4

Grove City College and developing interest in chemistry. Chemical engineering at Case Institute of Technology; faculty and course structure. Meeting with Herbert Dow.

Dow Chemical Company
10

Analytical laboratory. Herbert Dow's management style. John Grebe and the Dow physics laboratory. The seawater bromine process. Automatic control. Sodium as electrical conductor. Ferric chloride as coagulant and etchant. Styrene, purity and polymerization; publication of monograph. Wartime production and staff training program. Fact-finding mission to Germany at end of hostilities. Postwar plastics development. Director of research at Dow Chemical.

Notes
40
Index
41

About the Interviewer

James J. Bohning

James J. Bohning was professor emeritus of chemistry at Wilkes University, where he had been a faculty member from 1959 to 1990. He served there as chemistry department chair from 1970 to 1986 and environmental science department chair from 1987 to 1990. Bohning was chair of the American Chemical Society’s Division of the History of Chemistry in 1986; he received the division’s Outstanding Paper Award in 1989 and presented more than forty papers at national meetings of the society. Bohning was on the advisory committee of the society’s National Historic Chemical Landmarks Program from its inception in 1992 through 2001 and is currently a consultant to the committee. He developed the oral history program of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and he was CHF’s director of oral history from 1990 to 1995. From 1995 to 1998, Bohning was a science writer for the News Service group of the American Chemical Society. In May 2005, he received the Joseph Priestley Service Award from the Susquehanna Valley Section of the American Chemical Society.  Bohning passed away in September 2011.