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Industrial Chemistry

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INDUSTRIAL CHEMISTRY may be broadly defined as applied chemistry, whether in testing laboratories or in chemical industry. Recent compilations by the National Research Council indicate more than ',coo industrial research laboratories in America, and to these should be added laboratories which analyse materials against specifications, exercise control over some in dustrial processes, and examine finished products with reference to published guarantees or the purchasers' stated requirements. The recognition of adequate analysis and testing has spread to department store and individual laboratories as well as to corpo ration and Federal Government laboratories. The interpretation of analytical results is usually more important than the data themselves. Even the older industries such as baking, ceramics and textile manufacture now recognize the necessity of chemical control as a major step in plant efficiency, cost reduction, waste elimination and uniform properties of saleable products. Many industries not commonly regarded as chemical industries are successful only when under complete chemical control. The manufacture of sugar, tanning of the best leather, and the manu facture of steel are examples.

Remarkable strides have been made in the chemical industry since 1914, when the World War made necessary the rapid crea tion of such an industry to supply the shortage of many neces sities, particularly in the field of organic chemistry. This situa tion confronted England, America, France, Italy, Japan and prac tically all civilized countries, since Germany had specialized in this type of manufacture and exercised a virtual world monopoly. As a result, many countries determined to become self-contained so far as the chemical industry was concerned, providing in par ticular chemical compounds such as synthetic pharmaceuticals, medicinals and dyes which, though comparatively small in ton nage, bear such relation to other industries as to give them the character of a "key" material. The end of the World War saw a world supply far in excess of the demand for many types of industrial chemicals. There followed a number of drastic re adjustments. Many of the smaller manufacturers had to discon tinue and sell out to their financially stronger associates, or unite themselves in groups. The laws and customs of the different coun tries have directed this readjustment to a great extent. In Europe cartels have been formed. The most important example is the lnteressengemeinsc/ia f t or "I.G." of Germany, which has become a cartel of international importance, with connections reaching into not only all major lines of chemical industry but into allied fields, particularly those concerned with raw materials. Consoli dations have taken place in Great Britain, giving rise to Imperial Chemical Industries, Ltd., an exceedingly strong group composed of the major chemical manufacturers of Great Britain. There have been international agreements on the European continent with respect to division of market, consolidation of sales and advertising, and similar functions. In the United States there have also been certain groupings or consolidations, but due to the Sherman Anti-Trust law, there has been nothing approaching the I.G. in extent.

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