Carl Kaufmann, Historian and Biographer
Worked for Dupont.
Married to Ruth, stepdaughter of Nina Wyman, Baekeland’s daughter
Wrote “Grand Duke, Wizard and Bohemian: A Biographical Profile of Leo H. Baekeland”
One theme that keeps nagging me: LHB was among the major game-changers in the history of science, technology and economic growth — just look at the numbers –but few recognize that. If people think of Bakelite at all, they think of pill boxes and cigarette holders. I think of hundreds of thousands of jobs in industrial and consumer products, and economic impact in the tens of billions of dollars.
Sure, LHB invented only one family of products. He did not come up with the other big ones — nylon, Dacron, Mylar, Delrin, Teflon, polyethylene, etc… But he showed them how to do it. Once he kicked over the candle in the cow barn, fire broke out everywhere.