NOT the least remarkable result of the war on this country will be its effect on the development of chemical industry, and especially in the application of organic chemistry to the chemical arts. This, of course, has primarily resulted from the cutting off of the large supplies, of manufactured organic products—mainly synthetic dyes and drugs, photographic chemicals, and numerous other substances comprehended under the term “fine chemicals”—which prior to 1914 mainly came to us from Germany. Thrown thus upon our own resources, we were compelled, in the interests of national health and welfare, to attempt the manufacture of certain of the more important of these products. Great difficulties were experienced at the outset, owing to our lack of experience and the absence of skilled assistance. The supply of chemists with any real training in the application of organic chemistry to industry was very far short of the sudden demand. We were overtaken by a Nemesis invoked by our own inactivity and lack of foresight. It is only within recent years that the teaching of organic chemistry has received any considerable amount of attention in our universities and technical colleges. For the most part it has been regarded as a purely academic subject, to be studied in the interests of pure science, and with no thought to its technical application as a branch of manufacturing chemistry. Except to the few who sought to fit themselves for a career in science, mainly as teachers, there was little or no inducement to t pursue its study, as there were very few opportunities in this country to turn a knowledge of it to practical account.
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Alcohol in Industry . Nature 102, 166–167 (1918). https://doi.org/10.1038/102166b0