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The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) is engaged in the manufacture and sale of chemicals, plastic materials, agricultural services, and other specialised products and services. It delivers a range of products and services to customers in approximately 160 countries in growth sectors such as electronics, water, energy, coatings and agriculture. The Company operated 214 manufacturing sites in 37 countries. 

Dow operates in eight business segments: Electronic and Speciality materials, Coatings and Infrastructure, Health and Agricultural sciences, Performance systems, Performance products, Basic plastics, Basic chemicals, and Hydrocarbons and Energy. The Company is also engaged in the property and casualty insurance and reinsurance business primarily through its Liana Limited subsidiaries. In May 2010, OMNOVA Solutions Inc. acquired Dow Chemical Company's hollow sphere plastic pigment (HPP) product line and terminated the RohmNova paper coatings joint venture.


1897: Dow was founded by chemist Herbert Henry Dow, who invented a new method of extracting the bromine that was trapped underground in brine at Midland, Michigan.

1898: Dow’s first commercial-scale production of bleach begins.

1900: Herbert Dow had become one of the United States' leading scientists and the Dow Chemical Company was one of the largest producers of chemicals in the nation. Dow Chemical was incorporated, combining all of Dow’s Midland properties.

1902: Dow originally sold only bleach and potassium bromide, achieving a bleach output of 72 tons a day.

1905: German bromide producers began dumping bromides at low cost in the United States in an effort to prevent Dow from expanding its sales of bromides in Europe.

1906: The company produces their first agricultural product. Dow produces its first agricultural product.

1908: The agricultural chemicals division is established based on a spray for fruit trees.

1913: The petrochemical industry received its chief impetus from the development of the thermal-cracking process by which crude petroleum was refined. H.H. Dow announces the company will exit the bleach business.

1916: Dow first markets calcium chloride, magnesium metal, and acetylsalicylic acid.

1918: The company adopts its diamond trademark.

1920: Dow Chemical was selling $4 million worth of bulk chemicals like chlorine, calcium chloride, salt, and aspirin every year.

1921: The Dowmetal pistons were used heavily in racing vehicles, and the 1921 winner of the Indianapolis 500 used the Dowmetal pistons in his vehicle.

1928: Styrene and Saran are developed.

1929: Dow hires its first woman researcher, Sylvia Stoesser.

1930: Sales had climbed to $15 million and the company stock had split four times. Doctor James Franklin Hyde kick-started an industry by investigating the possibilities of developing plastics with the properties of glass. Dow founder H.H. Dow dies, and Willard H. Dow succeeds his father as president of Dow.

1933: Dow begins extracting bromine from seawater.

1934: The Ethyl-Dow plant begins the first commercial extraction of bromine from seawater.

1937: The introduction of catalytic cracking and increased supplies of natural gas brought further expansion of the industry. Dow stock is listed for the first time on the New York Stock Exchange.

1940: Dow purchases land near Freeport, Texas, and begins to construct a plant.

1942: Dow began its foreign expansion with the formation of Dow Chemical of Canada in Sarnia, Ontario to produce styrene for use in styrene-butadiene synthetic rubber. The "Ethyl-Dow Chemical Co." plant at "Kure's Beach" NC, the only plant on the East Coast producing bromine from seawater, was attacked by a German U-boat.

1943: Dow and Corning Glass from Dow Corning, a joint venture to create silicone products.

1947: The company was founded and is headquartered in Midland, MI. Dow establishes Brazos Oil & Gas Co., a subsidiary that produces oil and gas for Dow’s needs and constructs pipelines to carry fuel and feedstock to plants.

1948: Plastics reach 20 percent of Dow’s total sales.

1949: In the year of Willard's death, sales were $200 million, but ten years later they had nearly quadrupled.

1952: Dow establishes Ashai-Dow in Japan, its first subsidiary outside North America. In the post-war era, Dow began expanding outside of North America, founding its first overseas subsidiary in Japan, and in several other nations soon thereafter.

1953: Based largely on its growing plastics business, Dow opened a consumer products division beginning with Saran wrap.

1959: Dow Corning Corporation implements technology to manufacture hyperpure polycrystalline silicon to produce materials for computer chips, and the first fully integrated polycrystalline silicon plant is established in Hemlock, Michigan.

1960: Dow purchased Allied Labs, thus entering the world of pharmaceuticals.

1961: Dow purchases a manufacturing site in Terneuzen, The Netherlands.

1964: Dow exceeds $1 billion in annual sales. Handi-Wrap® plastic film wrap is introduced.

1965: Dow’s one-shot measles vaccine is introduced. Dow was one of several manufacturers who began producing the napalm B compound under government contracts.

1966: Beginning of the year the company became the target of anti-Vietnam War protests.

1970: The company introduces an automotive product line.

1972: Dow introduces the insecticide Lorsban. Dow launches Lorsban® insecticide.

1973: Dow becomes the first foreign industrial company listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The USA continued to drop napalm bombs on North Vietnam.

1974: However, the same Forbes reporter was subjected to criticism by CEO Carl Gerstacker because Dow had a record year.

1975: The year was followed by an oversupply of petrochemicals and a business slowdown, and the company's earnings began to slide.

1978: A change of leadership was deemed necessary; Gerstacker's retirement from the board of directors was the end of an era.

1980: After a change in leadership and reorganization of the company, Dow’s sales exceeded $10 billion for the first time. In the early 1980s, the veterans affected by Agent Orange got together in order to sue the chemical companies that produced the chemical for the war.

1981: Merrell Drug was purchased, increasing involvement in Pharmaceuticals.

1983: The write-off of two ethylene plants and a caustic soda plant caused earnings to drop 16 per cent.

1984: Dow purchased Texize, which boasted a strong line of detergent products, from Morton Thiokol. Just before the trial would have begun, a settlement was made with the chemical companies. Dow and the other chemical companies settled a class-action lawsuit out of court by agreeing to establish a $180 million fund for the use of veterans and the families of veterans exposed to Agent Orange. The Bhopal disaster occurred at a pesticide plant owned by Union Carbide India Ltd., a subsidiary of Union Carbide, 17 years before Dow Chemical Co.'s acquisition.

1986: Dow ranks as the world’s largest producer of thermoplastics.

1987: With the dollar continuing to fall and the world economy humming, the spread between raw material costs and final prices expanded until the firm's plastics business was making a record 25 to 30 percent on sales during mid-year.

1988: Commodity chemicals accounted for just 53 percent of the firm's $13.3 billion in sales.

1989: Total Dow sales for 1989 reached $17.6 billion, an increase of $7 billion over five years earlier, with profits up to $2.5 billion. Dow and Eli Lilly form DowElanco, a joint venture to produce agricultural products. Union Carbide was sued by the Government of India and agreed to an out-of-court settlement of US$470 million.

1990: According to a Chicago Tribune article from May 2,, at the time Agent Orange was already clearly linked to five different types of cancer and several chronic diseases.

1992: Dow’s INSITE™ constrained geometry catalyst technology is introduced.

1994: The fund would only last until December 31.

1995: Dow sold its stake in Marion Merrel Dow to Hoechst for $7.1 billion. In 1995 Dow Corning (a joint venture of Dow Chemical and materials manufacturer Corning, Inc.) declared bankruptcy following an overwhelming number of lawsuits claiming that silicone breast implants manufactured by Dow Corning and other companies were responsible for a variety of health problems.

1996: Du Pont Dow Elastomers, a Dow-du Pont joint venture, begins operations.

1997: Dow buys Eli Lilly's share in DowElanco.

1998: Its consumer products subsidiary, known as DowBrands, was sold to S.C. Johnson & Son.

1999: At the beginning of August, Dow agreed to purchase Union Carbide Corp. (UCC) for $9.3 billion in stock.

2000: It acquired General Latex Chemical Corporation and Flexible Products Company, both manufacturers of foam products. Dow Chemical was the fifth-largest chemical firm in the world. Under new leadership, the company continued to lead chemical production in the United States. Its product line, which originally consisted of only bromine, included more than two thousand different items.

2001: Dow took over du Pont as the largest chemicals company in the United States. Interestingly,  with over 20 independent studies done, no causal relationship between silicone breast implants and autoimmune diseases (or cancer) has been established. Another foam business, Celotex Corporation (makers of foam insulation) was purchased. The recession that began later that year did not spare the chemical giant, and Dow announced a workforce reduction of 8 percent. Its experience with chemicals from the First World War paved the road to an expanding range of products in the future. Dow had to handle many lawsuits just like it would have to in the Agent Orange battle. Dow would soon develop its own Agriculture and Automotive division around the end of the century and solidify itself as one of the leading international chemical companies. Union Carbide became a subsidiary of Dow Chemical.

2002: In June, Dow was awarded the National Medal of Technology "for the vision to create great science and innovative technology in the chemical industry and the positive impact that commercialization of this technology has had on society," according to the official citation. "Chronology of Silicone Breast Implants," Frontline: Breast Implants on Trial, program transcript, accessed August 10.  Both Dow and Corning (the other 50 percent shareholder) were still attempting to reach a settlement of these suits. Dow seemed to bounce back with stronger earnings at the start of the year.

2004: Andrew Liveris begins his 14-year tenure as Chairman and CEO, transforming Dow from a commodity chemicals manufacturer into one powered by science, driven by innovation, and delivering solutions to the world.

2005: A lawsuit was filed by Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange against Dow and Monsanto Co., which also supplied Agent Orange to the military.

2006: In August, Dow announced that it planned to close facilities at five locations: Areas along Michigan's Tittabawassee River, which runs within yards of Dow's main plant in Midland, were found to contain elevated levels of the cancer-causing chemical dioxin in November. Dow formed the Business Process Service Center (BPSC).

2007: On April 12, Dow dismissed two senior executives for "unauthorized discussions with third parties about the potential sale of the company". The two figures are executive vice president Romeo Kreinberg, and director and former CFO J. Pedro Reinhard. In July, Dow reached an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency to remove 50,000 cubic yards (38,000 m) of sediment from three areas of the riverbed and levees of the river that had been found to be contaminated. A group of plaintiffs then sued in the United States, and, on November 5, a Los Angeles jury awarded them $3.2 million. In December, Dow announced a series of moves to revamp the company.

2008: Dow agreed to purchase all of the common equity interests of Rohm and Haas Co. for $15.4 billion, which equated to $78 per share. In November, Dow Chemical along with the United States Environmental Protection Agency and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality agreed to establish a Superfund to address the dioxin cleanup of the Tittabawassee River, Saginaw River and Saginaw Bay. Citing the global recession that began in the latter half of the year, the Kuwaiti government scuttled the K-Dow partnership on December 28.  Dow sold its zoxamide business to Gowan Company.

2009: However, Dow Chemical announced they were in talks with other parties who could be interested in a major joint venture with the company. Around the same time, CEO Andrew Liveris said a first-time cut to the company 97- year- old dividend policy was not "off the table". On February 12, the company declared a quarterly dividend of $0.15/share, down from $0.42 the previous quarter.

2010: Eight former executives of Union Carbide India Ltd. were found guilty of death by negligence.

2011: Dow legally became a contractor for the government, which becomes important in the eventual legal battles. The most controversial one was Agent Orange. Dow unveils comprehensive plans to increase its ethylene and propylene production and connect its United States Gulf Coast operations to shale gas liquids.

2013: Another use was to kill vegetation and open up supply lines. Several plants on the Gulf Coast of the US have been in development, as part of Dow's transition away from naphtha.

2014: In the fourth quarter, Dow announced new operating segments in response to its previously announced leadership changes. The health issues of the Vietnamese that were exposed to Agent Orange have been shown to be very drastic. It is aimed to raise awareness of the issues in Vietnam, hoping that health and public organizations will realize the problem and give aid to the situation (Environmental and Public Health, 2014).

2015: On December 11, Dow announced that it would merge with DuPont, in an all-stock deal. Dow Chemicals agreed to sell part of its global herbicide business, which had reported falling sales for nearly a year. Dow and Corning announce a definitive agreement to restructure ownership of Dow Corning in which Dow will become the full owner of the 50:50 joint venture. Dow's new propane dehydrogenation (PDH) facility in Freeport, Texas, was expected to come online, with a first 750000 tonne per year unit, while other units would become available in the future. Dow Chemical has begun to shed commodity chemical businesses, such as those making the basic ingredients for grocery bags and plastic pipes because their profit margins only average 5–10%. Dow is, as of 2015, focusing its resources on speciality chemicals that earn profit margins of at least 20%.

2016: Dow completes a strategic ownership restructure of Dow Corning and becomes 100% owner of Dow Corning’s silicones business. Dow settled the suit for $835 million.

2017: Dow Chemical CEO Andrew N. Liveris became executive chairman of the new entity, while DuPont CEO Edward D. Breen became CEO. In January, the merger was pushed back a second time pending regulatory approvals. An ethylene production facility was expected to start up in the first half of the year.

2019: DowDuPont de-merged, forming Dow Inc. The spin-off was completed on April 1, at which time Dow Inc. became an independent, publicly traded company, and the direct parent company of The Dow Chemical Company.

2020: In May, Dow Chemical and many other areas in Midland County, Michigan were forced to evacuate due to high flooding which was caused by the breach of the Edenville and Sanford dams following two days of heavy rainfall in the area.


Constantly improve what is essential to human progress by mastering science and technology.


To create great science and innovative technology in the chemical industry, and for the positive impact that commercialisation of this technology has had on society.

Key Team

Andrew Liveris (CEO & Chairman)

Amy E. Wilson (Secretary & General Counsel)

Daniel W. Yohannes (Board Member)

Andrew Liveris (CEO & Chairman)

Debra L. Dial (Board Member)

Annemieke De Wilde, MD, MPH, FACOEM (Chief Medical Office and Global Director of Health Services)

Gaurdie E. Banister (Board Member)

Attiganal N. Sreeram (Senior Vice President of Research & Development and Chief Technology Officer)

Jacqueline C. Hinman (Board Member)

Camila Vidal Castro (Office Professional)

Jacqueline K. Barton (Board Member)

Clappem Chekes (Chief Executive Officer)

James Bell (Board Member)

Daniel W. Yohannes (Board Member)

James Ringler (Board Member)

Herbert Dow (Founder)

James R. Fitterling (Chairman & Chief Executive Officer)

Ajay Banga (Board Member)

Recognition and Awards
Fortune 500, Fortune Global 500

Leadership team

Herbert Dow (Founder)

Ajay Banga (Board Member)


Industrial Manufacturing

Energy and Utilities

Products/ Services
plastics, catalysts, coatings, Hydrocarbon exploration
Number of Employees
Above 50,000
Midland, Michigan, United States
Company Type
Public Limited Company
Company Registration
SEC CIK number: 0000029915
Net Income
1B - 20B
Above - 1B
Traded as
Social Media

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