Academy of Lifelong Learning

Big Bangs in Delmarva - Session 2

Steve Frohock

Wednesdays, March 23 – April 20 (five weeks)
4:15 – 5:15 pm
During the American Revolution, the Americans learned, quite to their dismay, that the black powder produced here was quite inferior to that produced by the French. So America was indeed fortunate that in 1800 E.I. du Pont and his family fled to the United States to escape the French Revolution and in 1802, built his first black powder mill on the banks of the Brandywine River in Wilmington. The business started off with a bang, in fact several of them. By the mid-19th Century, DuPont was the largest supplier of gunpowder to the United States military, supplying half of all the powder used by the Union Army during the Civil War. This course charts the growth of what became the American munitions industry, producing black powder and fireworks - and later explosives and munitions - in areas ranging from parts of New Jersey and south in Delmarva to Edgewood, Elkton, Chestertown and many other towns. And it all sprang from the work of one Frenchman who sought a safe life for his family in Wilmington.