The National Inventors Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio, has announced its 2007 inductees, and a few of them have plastics connections. The most plastics-specific this year is Otto Wichterle (1913-1998), inventor of the soft contact lens. According to the museum's news release, "Wichterle's soft contact lens proved to be less expensive and more comfortable than traditional glass or hard plastic lenses. A significant part of his invention was the process for making the lenses." A couple of other winners with plastics angles are Allen Breed (1927-1999), inventor of the automotive air bag, and Peter Goldmark (1906-1977), who developed the long-playing record. (OK, who still has an LP collection?) This year's class has a total of 16 new members. The criteria: winners must hold a U.S. patent, and their invention must have "contributed to the welfare of society and have promoted the progress of science and the useful arts." The hall of fame was founded in 1973 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the National Council of Intellectual Property Law Association, and its permanent home is in Akron, Ohio.
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