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Otto Runge
(1881-1942?)

Dr. Otto K[urt?] Runge was a famous Wilmington, Delaware mineral collector and senior dye-stuffs chemist for DuPont. He was born in Nuremberg, Germany on December 25, 1881 and came to the United States with his wife Nellie, son Kurt and daughters Edith and Doris in 1921. Otto's father was German but his mother had been born in Kansas.

During World War I, American companies struggled to produce synthetic dyes that had formerly been imported from Germany. Few American chemists possessed the requisite knowledge of dye-making, thus presenting a serious technology gap. In 1920 DuPont embarked upon a cloak-and-dagger project to obtain the services of German dyestuff chemists. Runge was one of four DuPont lured out of Germany with large salary offers, and they barely made it against all efforts of the German government to stop them (it caused a major scandal in the German newspapers). With the four talented German dye chemists working in the Jackson Research Laboratory in Deepwater, New Jersey, DuPont soon became the leader in the U.S. dye market, a position it held until getting out of the dye business in 1980.

Runge's collection was sold to Ward's Natural Science Establishment in 1942; many of his specimens were purchased by Detroit collector Donald C. Gabriel (1906-1994) and were donated along with the rest of Gabriel's collection to the Seaman Mineral Museum in 1987. Included in Runge's collection was a small but extremely fine crystallized gold suite that originally comprised half of the personal gold collection of Denver mineral dealer August Pohndorf.

References:
BAPTISTA, R.J. (2006) Spies and dyes. ColorantsHistory.org.
U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2017)
Mineralogical Record
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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The Mineralogical Record - Otto Runge 39 x 59 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Otto Runge 39 x 59 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Otto Runge 39 x 59 mm
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