In honor of National Inventors Month, we’re celebrating the overlooked—both inside and outside of Chemours.
Where It All Began
Mary Anderson is the formerly overlooked inventor of the windshield wiper. Combining her invention with Dr. Plunkett’s, wiper blades made with Teflon™ coatings provide maximum contact for smooth, quiet, streak-free wiping.
This innovation ode began in a lab in New Jersey.
It was April 6, 1938. Chemist Dr. Roy J. Plunkett was searching for a new refrigerator coolant. After checking a frozen sample of tetrafluoroethylene, he and his associates discovered that it had polymerized into a curious white, waxy solid.
It resisted heat and electricity. It was incredibly stable. And it was the slipperiest substance on earth. The substance was given a commercial name, and the Teflon™ brand was born.
From John Glenn's space suit GORE-TEX®, medical implants, the Statue of Liberty, the nonstick frying pan, and the humble windshield wiper, the Teflon™ brand story is just part of the legacy of the big thinkers and doers of Chemours. Restless, creative minds, constantly inventing, then reinventing, to reshape the way we live and life itself.
Thirty-nine years after his discovery, Dr. Plunkett rightfully joined the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Hail to the Inventors, Big and Small
The unknown inventor Dr. William Cullen invented refrigeration. Some 250 years later, Opteon™ refrigerants from Chemours answered the industry’s call for a next-generation solution with a smaller environmental footprint, offering an optimal balance of environmental sustainability, performance, safety, and cost efficiency.
Then there's Dr. Mario Nappa. He helped develop many fluorochemical compounds and several next-generation molecules that revolutionized the refrigeration industry.
Not one to rest on his beakers (he has 125 patents, after all), he then led a team that developed a manufacturing process for a new automotive refrigerant that can dramatically reduce global warming.
Hail to the Inventors, Overlooked and Recognized.
Most people don't think about titanium dioxide (TiO2) all that much, but you're probably sitting, standing, or looking at it right now.
Chemours scientists Franck Andre Vanhecke and Mitchell Scott Chinn invented a process for preparing self-dispersing TiO2—now known as Ti-Pure™ pigments. It revolutionized the production of furniture, floorboards, and wallpaper.
Hail to Franck and Mitchell—and to all the inventors in the world, scientists, engineers, and physicists—recognized and overlooked. As Thomas Edison said, to be an inventor, all it takes is “a good imagination and a pile of junk.”
These are the special ones. The ones who see things differently. The ones who make the sacrifices and the discoveries that move humankind forward.
Cai Lun was the overlooked inventor of paper. Titanium dioxide is the often-overlooked ingredient that provides paper with maximum optical performance, opacity, and brightness.
As inventors, we recognize that chemistry is a living thing. Like us, it is always changing, evolving, and offering opportunities that were previously unimaginable. We use chemistry—higher value chemistry—to shape markets, redefine industries, and, ultimately, make life a little better.
And we do it one invention at a time.
Hail to the next one that benefits the world.