(June 23, 2003) — This NPE week, the Plastics Hall of Fame grows by another six members. The new inductees are a distinguished group. Their dedication has helped make this industry great.
Plastics News is excited to profile them in this issue. Even better than reading about them, you can meet these titans this week, in person, at the Thursday night banquet and induction ceremony. During NPE, tickets are available in the McCormick Place Grand Concourse. Look for the National Plastics Center & Museum's booth at the centrally located pavilion of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.
The six men will be enshrined at the NPCM in Leominster, Mass. The museum, a short drive from Boston in the heart of the birthplace of modern plastics, is well worth a visit. Last year, the museum greatly improved the Plastics Hall of Fame gallery, adding improved lighting, well-written biographies and sample parts. What used to be a static display has come to life.
This year's inductees are:
* Samuel L. Belcher, known as “Sam the Bottle Man” for his patents on machinery and design of PET bottles. He worked at Rubbermaid Inc., Owens-Illinois Inc., Wheaton Plastics Co. and Cincinnati Milacron Inc. He's still busy inventing things at his consulting firm, Sabel Plastechs Inc. in Moscow, Ohio.
* F. Reed Estabrook started Massachusetts custom molder Brook Molding Co. in 1955. He was active in SPI as the industry faced early controversies. He helped three pioneering companies — Gorham Co., Northern Industrial Chemical Co. and his own Brook Molding — make the transition from thermosets into thermoplastic molding. He lives in Dedham, Mass.
* Michael F.X. Gigliotti worked at Monsanto Co. for 35 years. He headed Monsanto's famous House of the Future at Disneyworld, and coordinated the development of the first plastic soda bottle. He runs consulting company MGA Inc. in Gloucester, Mass.
* John R. Kretzschmar sold resin, then started a blown film company in Ohio, Blako Industries Inc. He is very active in plastics trade associations and lives in Bowling Green, Ohio.
* Dominick V. Rosato of Chatham, Mass., probably is the most prolific technical writer in plastics history. He is the author of 25 books — half of them published after he “retired” in 1987. Rosato's career began at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, testing plastics applications for World War II. He was an eyewitness to the early days of composites at the Cold War and the early Space Age.
* Albert Spaak of Little Falls, N.J. — where he served a term as mayor — designed some of the first U.S.-made injection presses while working for DeMattia Machine & Tool Co. He worked at Mastro Industries Inc., a maker of toy musical instruments, and at the resin operations of W.R. Grace Co., which was sold to Allied Chemical Corp. His innovations include valve gating and the design of early auxiliary equipment. He also helped set up the first on-site blow molding of milk bottles at a dairy.
In Chicago this week, don't pass up the chance to meet these six living legends.