The Plastics Academy has announced the six-member crop of inductees into the Plastics Hall of Fame for 2003. New members will be inducted at a June 26 banquet during NPE 2003 in Chicago.
The Plastics Hall of Fame is in Leominster, Mass., at the National Plastics Center & Museum. The Plastics Academy administers the hall.
Samuel L. Belcher, the holder of 54 patents, is a blow molding pioneer who runs consulting firm Sabel Plastechs Inc. in Moscow, Ohio. Known as ``Sam the Bottle Man,'' Belcher developed the first injection blow molding machine for PET bottles.
Belcher also patented the first flip-top closure for dish-detergent bottles while at Owens-Illinois Inc. His inventions include Rubbermaid Inc.'s spice turntable; the clamshell breakfast package for McDonald's Corp.; and the first PET stretch blow molded bottle with an integrated handle.
In a career that began in 1937, F. Reed Estabrook Jr. helped the Washington-based Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. overcome early controversies such as false charges of flammability and infant crib death mistakenly blamed on polyethylene mattress covers. He moved three pioneering plastics companies from thermosets into thermoplastic molding.
Fresh out of high school, he joined the newly created Plastics Division of Gorham Co. in Providence, R.I., as a press operator and setup man.
In 1940, Estabrook joined one of the largest thermoset molders, Boston-based Northern Industrial Chemical Co, where he helped develop phenolic field telephone handsets and electrical boxes for the military.
In 1943, he joined the Army Air Corps as a commander pilot of B-24 and B-32 heavy bombers. After the war, he developed Northern Industrial's molded melamine dinnerware, then expanded into thermoplastics. He co-founded Brook Molding Co. in Norwood, Mass., in 1955 and ran it until 1978.
A division of Brook called Precision Molded Gearing Corp. became a leader in the plastic gear area. After selling the company, he started a consulting business in Dedham, Mass., called TAIM Corp.
Michael F.X. Gigliotti played a key role in plastics development and management in a 35-year career with Monsanto Co., from 1942-77. He created and managed Monsanto's Structural Plastics Engineering Group.
Gigliotti also headed up Monsanto's high-profile House of the Future, erected in Disneyland in 1957.
He ran Monsanto's Lopac (low oxygen permeation packaging) project, which developed the first barrier materials and made an early plastic Coca-Cola bottle in 1969.
He took early retirement in 1977, and went on to co-found TopWave Instruments Ltd. of Marietta, Ga., a supplier of laboratory testing and inspection equipment for plastic food and beverage containers.
He also started a consulting company, MGA Inc. in Gloucester, Mass.
John R. Kretzschmar is a long-time industry organizer who has volunteered for all of the major plastics organizations.
Currently, he is chairman of the Plastics Academy and president of the Plastics Pioneers Association. He is a past board member of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.
Kretzschmar was 1987-88 president of the Society of Plastics Engineers.
His career began in 1956 as a resin salesman for Kansas City, Mo.-based Spencer Chemical Co. After a three-year stint in the U.S. Air Force, he returned to Spencer in 1960 and sold resins in a five-state region.
He then joined the early venture into plastics by Rexall Drug & Chemical - later Rexene Polymers.
Kretzschmar founded a PE blown film maker, Blako Industries Inc. in Dunbridge, Ohio. He retired in 1996 and sold Blako to key employees. He now runs S&K Sales Consultants.
Dominick V. Rosato is a 60-year plastics veteran and the prolific author of 25 applied plastics handbooks - including 20,502 pages of technical writing in his books about plastics. Twelve of those books have been published since he ``retired'' in 1987.
Rosato, now living in Chatham, Mass., is an eyewitness to the early days of plastics and composites research at the start of the Cold War and the early Space Age of the 1940s and 1950s. He worked at the Wright Air Development Center during World War II and again during the Korean War as deputy chief of plastics research and development.
He helped develop some breakthrough products, including the original plastic helmet for fighter pilots. He personally fabricated several parts for Vanguard and Atlas rockets.
Albert Spaak of Little Falls, N.J., had a front-row seat to the history of the U.S. plastics machinery industry and materials development, in a career running more than 60 years. In 1939, he joined DeMattia Machine & Tool Co. in Clifton, N.J., and helped DeMattia make its first injection press, with an electric drive and toggle clamp.
During World War II Spaak was called on to design tooling for M-47 tank turrets and naval anti-aircraft gun components. He joined the U.S. Navy's Shakedown Task Force, getting newly constructed ships ready for combat.
After the war, Spaak coordinated DeMattia's line of hydraulic injection presses. Spaak helped Mario Maccaferri, owner of Mastro Industries Inc., make machine and molds for a polystyrene ukulele and later joined Mastro.
In 1950, Spaak joined W.R. Grace & Co.'s newly formed Polymer Chemicals Division, rising to the position of director of technical service and application development. Spaak's team also developed HDPE blow molding technology, and spearheaded on-site molding and filling at dairies.
He has devoted a lot of time to civic and industry projects. He served as mayor of his hometown of Little Falls, N.J., in 1993 and 1994. As executive director of the Plastics Institute of America, he broadened PIA's focus from just polymer science to include process development. After retiring from PIA in 1990 Spaak became a consultant, traveling around the world as a volunteer for the Internal Executive Service Corps.