Irvin Rubin, a New York plastics veteran who wrote the seminal technical book Injection Molding, Theory and Practice and taught seminars for the Society of Plastics Engineers for years, died June 25 at his residence in Brooklyn. He was 93.
Rubin was inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame in 1994. He was a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. He was an SPE fellow, very active in SPE's Injection Molding Division and New York Section.
Bright and friendly, he was known as a quipster. In one Plastics News story, he related how he got into plastics in 1940, becoming technical director at Robinson Plastics Corp. His uncle, Sol Robinson, owned the company and hired Irv, who had earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry at City College of New York.
“That's why I'm here. There were only five injection molders in New York City at the time, and my uncle was playing golf with two of them,” he said.
Published in 1972, Injection Molding, Theory and Practice became one of the all-time best-selling plastics industry books. It can be found in offices at plastics plants around the country. He also edited the massive Handbook of Plastic Materials and Technology.
Rubin also was a prolific letter writer, whether it was to Plastics News or the New York Times. One of his frequent topics is still making headlines.
“I read with interest your articles and editorials regarding the bag tax in California,” he wrote to PN in 2006. “It seems an excellent example of more badly misguided attempts to solve problems. As I understand it, the goal is to increase recycling and reduce waste in landfills. It seems to me that what they need to do in California and elsewhere is not to create new taxes, but to encourage the use of more plastics, not less.” He went on to explain how plastic bags are better for the overall environment than paper bags, and concluded: “In chess, we learn that the best defense is a good offense. The time for action is now!”
In another letter, he suggested that, in addition to the child safety warning, each plastic bag could have a statement. Rubin's suggestions? “This plastic bag has saved part of a tree.” And: “Future generations can recycle this bag from garbage dumps.”
Rubin left Robinson Plastics and, during World War II, worked at Montrose Chemical Co. in Hoboken, N.J., making a plasticizer — tri-cresyl phosphate, for coating PVC wire and cable.
After the war he ran manufacturing at Columbia Plastic Products in New York, then returned to Robinson Plastics in 1946. He helped pioneer vacuum metalizing.
Rubin bought Robinson in the 1960s. He started a second company, Irvin Rubin Plastics Corp., a maker of medical devices and equipment.
The funeral service was June 26 at Mount Lebanon Cemetery in Queens, N.Y. He is survived by his wife, Laura, daughter Julie Reider and son Jesse Rubin.