Millard G. Gamble

Born: March 8, 1919 | Brooklyn, NY, US
Died: Sunday, August 9, 2009 | New Castle, DE, US

Millard G. Gamble capped his 39-year career in sales and marketing of fibers at E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company as the vice president of the Textile Fibers Department. He talks about his post-graduation experiences working for the United States Department of Agriculture and as an officer with the United States Navy. Gamble reflects on joining DuPont in 1945 and his sales experience in the Rayon (later named Textile Fibers) Department.

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Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0304
No. of pages: 29
Minutes: 175

Interview Sessions

Arnold Thackray
17 July 2002
Wilmington, Delaware

Abstract of Interview

Millard G. Gamble capped his 39-year career in sales and marketing of fibers at E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company as the vice president of the Textile Fibers Department. Gamble begins the interview by discussing his family life and education as an undergraduate at Wesleyan University. He talks about his post-graduation experiences working for the United States Department of Agriculture and as an officer with the United States Navy. Gamble reflects on joining DuPont in 1945 and his sales experience in the Rayon (later named Textile Fibers) Department. Gamble was moved to various marketing and manufacturing jobs before becoming the director of the industrial marketing division and eventually the general director of marketing divisions. He elaborates on a number of contributions that the Textile Fibers Department made to the DuPont Company and discusses the development of various fibers. He also talks about the influence of several leaders in the Textile Fibers Department. Gamble's final years at DuPont were spent as the general manager for textile fibers, where he was responsible for developing worldwide apparel and home fabrics. He became the vice president of the Textile Fibers Department in 1983 and then retired in 1984.

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1941 Wesleyan University BA Social Science

Professional Experience

US Navy

1941 to 1945
Resigned as Lieutenant Commander

E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co.

1945
Rayon Department
1946 to 1947
Rayon Filament Salesman, Charlotte, North Carolina
1948
Rayon Staple Salesman, Charlotte, North Carolina
1949
Northeast Sales Representative, Providence, Rhode Island
1950
Assistant Manager of Cordura® Rayon Industrial Yarn
1951 to 1952
Manager of Cordura® Rayon Industrial Yarn
1953
Manufacturing Supervisor in training, Seaford Nylon plant
1954
Assistant Sales Manager of Acetate, Wilmington, Delaware
1954
Assistant Sales Manager of Nylon, Wilmington, Delaware
1956 to 1959
Regional Sales Manager, Charlotte, North Carolina
1959 to 1961
Director, Industrial Marketing Division
1961
Director, Marketing Services for Apparel and Home Furnishings
1962 to 1965
Assistant Director, Marketing Divisions
1965 to 1969
General Director of Marketing, Textile Fibers Department
1969 to 1972
Director, Spunbonded Products, Nomex® Division
1972
General Director, Marketing Divisions
1973 to 1983
Assistant General Manager, Textile Fibers Department
1983 to 1984
Vice President, Textile Fibers Department

Honors

Year(s) Award
1986

Elected Trustee, Winterthur Museum, Garden ,and Library

1991

Elected Vice Chairman, Board of Trustees, Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library

2001

Elected Honorary Trustee, Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library

Member and former President, Board of Governors, Wilmington Club

2016

Member and former President, Board of Directors, Wilmington Country Club

Table of Contents

Family Background and Education (1919–1941)
1

Father, mother, and siblings. Westfield, New Jersey. Early education. Decision to attend Wesleyan University. Post-graduate employment with the United States government. U. S. Department of Agriculture.

Career in the United States Navy (1941–1945)
3

Marriage to Gloria Hine. Decision to become a naval officer. Experiences in the Pacific. Assignment in Washington. Admiral Ernest J. King. Release from the Navy as a Lieutenant Commander.

Employment by E. I. DuPont de Nemours and Company (1945–1955)
5

Children. Decision to join DuPont. Early work in the Rayon (later named Textile Fibers) Department. Sales career. Importance of Fibers Department to the DuPont Company. Early Management Experience. Opportunities for advancement in DuPont. Robert C. Forney.

Career in Management and Marketing at DuPont (1956–1984)
8

Promotion to regional sales manager. Consolidation of sales of fibers. Promotion to director of industrial marketing division. Major customers. Promotion to director of all marketing services for apparel and home furnishings. Quality standards. Spunbonded Nomex division formed. Promotion to general director of marketing for the Textile Fibers Department. Promotion to assistant general manager of the Fibers Department. Retirement.

DuPont Textile Fibers Department
10

Impressions of Fibers Department's contributions to DuPont. Influence of management. Orlon, Dacron, nylon, Lycra, Qiana, Nomex, Kevlar, and Teflon. Leaders in Fibers Department. Andrew E. Buchanan. Other departments in DuPont. Increasingly sophisticated marketing and merchandising. Challenges in the 1960s and 1970s. Wash and wear concept. Quality issues. Textron Company. Forward integration.

Personnel in the Textile Fibers Department
14

Management in Textile Fibers. Transfers within DuPont. Pierre S. DuPont III. Pete DuPont.

Contributions of the Textile Fibers Department
15

Contributions within marketing. Loyalty of customers. Merchandising Division. Diverse end uses. Textile research organization. Development of new fibers. Competition in the world market. China. Decision to sell the textiles business. CEOs of DuPont. Edgar S. Woolard Jr. Manufacturing success. Wallace H. Carothers' discoveries. Personnel policy and motivation. International investments. Expansion in Europe. Argentina. Ducilo S. A. Productora de Rayon. Iran. Oil shortage.

Leaders of the Textile Fibers Department
22

Andrew E. Buchanan. Howard Swank. Edgar S. Woolard Jr. John A. Krol. Charles O. Holliday Jr.

Index
25

About the Interviewer

Arnold Thackray

Arnold Thackray founded the Chemical Heritage Foundation and served the organization as president for 25 years. He is currently CHF’s chancellor. Thackray received MA and PhD degrees in history of science from Cambridge University. He has held appointments at Cambridge, Oxford University, and Harvard University, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

In 1983 Thackray received the Dexter Award from the American Chemical Society for outstanding contributions to the history of chemistry. He served for more than a quarter century on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania, where he was the founding chairman of the Department of History and Sociology of Science and is currently the Joseph Priestley Professor Emeritus.