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It is my pleasure and privilege to talk to you today from the common ground of interests in many areas. We in the process industries realize how much our success depends on a thorough knowledge of materials. In our purchases and in the sale of our products, we regularly encounter problems which depend for their solution on improved education in materials. Construction figures alone indicate the extent of our interest. Industrial building construction activity, even in the relatively less active year 1958, totaled almost two and a half billion dollars—one billion of which was for materials. Manufacturers spent an additional eleven and a half billion for new equipment. The nation's total expenditure for construction was $49 billion, and for durable production equipment, a further $23 billion. In maintenance, as well as in original installations, the materials dollar is an important one. Since World War II, wage rates in all areas have soared, placing even greater importance on proper selection of materials. For example, in the last ten years, the price index of prepared paint has increased 28 per cent, but painters' union wages in my home town of Wilmington, Delaware, have jumped 60 per cent. Obviously, it is increasingly important to pick the right kind of paint the first time—and for that, we look to a materials engineer.
Wood, Melvin F.
Chief Engineer, E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., Inc., Wilmington, Del.