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Blackhawk Molding founder Walter Hidding dead at 91

By: Bill Bregar

March 27, 2013

ADDISON, ILL. — Walter E. Hidding, who founded Blackhawk Molding Co. Inc. in 1949 and built the Addison-based company into a closure and packaging specialist, died at his residence in Agness, Ore., on March 18. He was 91.

In the 1950s, Blackhawk's main product lines included plastic toys, scoops, household and personal care items and medical items. The company did injection and blow molding.

Then in the 1960s, Blackhawk helped lead plastics into the dairy sector. Hidding's patents include the invention of the Grip-It and Swinger Handle for paperboard half-gallon and one-gallon milk cartons sold in the 1960s and 1970s.

Blackhawk became a pioneer to the dairy, bottled water and juice industries. When blow molded bottles came into use, Blackhawk was one of the first suppliers of injection molded caps.

In the late 1990s, Blackhawk entered the bottled water industry by developing, patenting and molding its line of SafeGard no-spill caps. Hidding's company created a full line of caps for bottled water, and became a major supplier to that industry.

The company also makes capping equipment and bottle handling tools.

Hidding was born on Dec. 30, 1921 in Chicago. He was raised with his three brothers in Chicago—one of them, Daniel Hidding, started another Chicago-area plastics processor, Dana Molded Products Inc.

Music was an important part of his life. Walter Hidding attended the Chicago Conservancy of Music where he studied voice. He belonged to the Chicago Swedish Glee Club for 40 years and toured with them throughout the United States and Europe.

In 1941, he married Jeannette Whittaker, who survives.

He served in the Veterinary Corps of the U.S. Army during World War II, and was honorably discharged in 1946.

In 2001, he retired to Agness in Oregon.

He enjoyed music, travel, gourmet dining and tennis. He designed his own homes. He loved spending time and traveling with his family.

Today, Blackhawk Molding has three U.S. factories, in Addison; Mayflower, Ark.; and Sparks, Nev. Its European partner runs plants near Nottingham, England and in Lodz, Poland.

Funeral services will be private.