William Edward Hanford
Born Dec 9 1908 - Died Jan 27 1996
Process for Making Polymeric Products and for Modifying Polymeric Products
Patent Number(s) 2,284,896
William Edward Hanford and Donald Fletcher Holmes invented the process for making the multipurpose material polyurethane.They teamed up at E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, receiving their polyurethane patent in 1942. The process they developed reacts polyols and related hydroxy compounds with di-isocyanates. This method is the basis today for the manufacture of all polyurethanes.
Flexible polyurethane foam is used as an upholstery material, and the rigid foam is commonly used as a heat-insulating material in homes, offices, and refrigerators. Polyurethane is also used in life-saving artificial hearts, safety padding in modern automobiles, and in carpeting.
Born in Bristol, Pennsylvania, Hanford received his B.S. from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy in 1930. Born in Woodbury, New Jersey, Holmes received his B.S. in Organic Chemistry from Amherst College in 1931. Both received master's and doctorates from the University of Illinois. Holmes remained with Du Pont, working in the textile divisions until just before his death on October 13, 1980. Hanford left Du Pont in 1942 to join GAF Corporation. In 1946 he joined M.W. Kellogg, where he became director of research and served on the board of directors. In 1957 he became research and development vice president at Olin Industries. He and his son organized Water-Sure Inc. in 1968 specializing in equipment for sanitizing water supplies in Third World countries. Hanford died January 27, 1996.