PHOTO: BRINE WELL WITH "A" POWER HOUSE IN BACKGROUND, MIDLAND, MICHIGAN. COURTESY OF THE HERBERT H. AND GRACE A. DOW FOUNDATION.
To project a less martial image of his Dow Chemical Co., which produced explosives for World War I, Herbert Dow commissioned British artist Arthur Henry Knighton-Hammond to paint his Midland, MI-based plant for the 1920 National Exposition of Chemical Industries in New York. Like many contemporary artists, Knighton-Hammond found factories as sublime as Impressionists did sunrises and starry nights. At the show, Dow Chemical displayed 25 of the artist's more than 40 paintings of machine shops, caustic plants, and pump stations in all their smoky yet sensuous modernity.