Brown Company’s research activities during World War I focused on a number of war-related products including “aeroplane-spruce,” chloroform, gasmask filters, and tubular gunpowder containers. One of the company’s scientists, George A. Richter, was sent to work in Washington, DC for the Chemical Warfare Service. Brown Company completed the expansion of its research facility by 1919 and then redirected its efforts toward developing products for civilian markets.
The new laboratory had five main divisions: 1) Pulp Research, 2) Paper Research, 3) Bureau of Tests (concerned with product quality), 4) Microscopy and Optical Section, and 5) Photographic Section. The largest sections, of course, were the pulp and paper laboratories, which expanded tubular research (conduits such as sewer pipes), developed synthetic leather, and contained one of the few privately-owned experimental paper machines. Although Brown Company engaged in a moderate number of costly patent battles, this complex and dynamic facility kept the company on the cusp of industrial development for decades.