50 100 and 150 Years Ago; November 1994; Scientific American Magazine; by Staff Editor; 1 Page(s)
NOVEMBER 1944 The chemical industry is becoming more and more conscious that profits are to be found in greater bulk when basic chemicals are turned into new synthetic consumer products or into materials from which these products can be fabricated, than when the same chemicals are sold in carload lots to processors who reap the harvest. This new-type thinking on the part of the large chemical producers--Dow, Monsanto, Du Pont, Union Carbide, and others--is setting a trend in the largest basic industry of the United States.
Up to about 10 years ago electronics had not been accepted in large plants such as steel mills, foundries, machine shops, and mines, to any extent at all. The head of a steel mill might point out the rough-and-ready workmen hoisting things about the plant and ask with a laugh: 'What chance would a glass tube have in such an environment?' Today, however, electronic tubes are mounted right on huge punch presses and rolling mills, doing the job so satisfactorily that shutting down the electronic controls would create a minor catastrophe among the men.