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February 26th is Herbert Henry Dow's birthday. Dow was the founder of Dow Chemical Company, the third largest chemical company in the world. He began his business from an inexpensive process he discovered to remove bromine from brine. He later improved it further using electrolysis to oxidize bromide into bromine.

Dow's process produced bromine at low cost and could sell it on the market cheaper than the German bromine cartel that had a near monopoly on the commodity. When Dow began to export his bromine at prices lower than the Germans, they threatened to flood the US market with low priced bromine and run him out of business. Dow ignored their warning and went ahead with his exports. The German cartel dropped the price of bromine in the US to below what Dow could produce at. Dow responded by quietly buying up the inexpensive German bromide and selling it back to Europe at nearly twice the price. Before the Germans realized what Dow was up to, they had lowered the price in the US markets enough to make Dow and his company very wealthy.

Today, Dow Chemical provides plastics, chemicals and agricultural products in more than 175 countries across the world and employs 46,000 people.Find out what else occurred on this day in science history.


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