J. HARRY DuBOIS COLLECTION ON THE HISTORY OF PLASTICS, ca. 1900-1975
(2.33 cubic feet: 7 DB, 1 (.5) DB)
by: Robert S. Harding, Jeffrey Sturchio, and Ann Seeger,
J. Harry DuBois, born September 18, 1903 in Clarion, Iowa, was an industrial consultant in the field of petrochemicals and plastics. DuBois
began his career in the plastics industry at General Electric in 1927. His studies resulted in
extending the use of laminated plastics. In GE's molding division he pioneered work on
compression molded acetates, injection molding, radomes and low pressure laminates. In 1944
he became vice president of Shaw Insulator Company. He also worked at Plax Corporation,
Mycalex Corporation of America and Tech Art Plastics. In 1972 he was president of Mybroy
Ceramics Corporation. A member of the Society of the Plastics Industry and the Society of
Plastics Engineers, DuBois collected much of this material while writing his book, Plastics
History U.S.A., published in 1972 by Cahner Publishing Company of Boston.
He died in March of 1986.
Scope & Content
This collection of trade catalogs, research reports, correspondence, photographs, and other
historical material relating to the plastics industry was donated by J. Harry DuBois. The
collection has not been finely processed to the folder level. It has been divided into
six series: Series 1: BAKELITE CATALOGS, 1910-1944, Series 2: PLASTIC TRADE CATALOGS, ca. 1920-1953,
Series 3: BOONTON RUBBER CO., 1911-1974, Series 4: CHARLES BURROUGHS CO., 1897-1929,
Series 5: SIGFRIED
HIGGINS AND BAKELITE PRINTING PLATES, 1925-1959, and Series 6: PUBLICATIONS AND
MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS, ca. 1890-1975.
Included are trade catalogues of the General Bakelite Company, Bakelite Corporation, and
competitors in the plastics industry in the 1920's and 1930's, including Dow Chemical and
General Electric; material relating to the Boonton Rubber Company, including Richard W.
Seabury's notebooks, 1911-1923; memoranda of 1916, 1918, 1923, and 1926 concerning the
history of Boonton's early use of Bakelite for molded products; catalogues, photographs, and a
blueprint of a 1897 hydraulic press from Charles Burroughs Company; research reports,
1925-1932, of Sigfreid Higgins, on mechanical development research at the Bakelite
Corporation; reports on sales development research, 1941-1946, at the Bakelite Corporation;
experimental notes, correspondence on possible patents and other materials concerning the use of
Bakelite and rubber for printing plates; reports, notes, and and miscellaneous photographs on the
history of the plastics industry; Zylonite trade catalogues, pre 1900; and Recto trademark patent
and patent drawing.
Transferred from the Division of Physical Sciences 4/5/83.
SERIES 1: BAKELITE
||Includes Trade Catalogs and advertisements for the General
Bakelite Company and The Bakelite Corporation, dating from 1910 to 1944.
Product line catalogs include: Luxene; Bakelite Lacquer; Bakelite Varnish;
Bakelite Laminated; Gifts to Treasure; Bakelite Synthetic Resins; and Bakelite
Molding. Also included is a pamphlet, "Bakelite Information Number
One," published by General Bakelite Company in November 1910.
||SERIES 2: PLASTICS TRADE CATALOGS, CA. 1920-1953
|| Includes Trade Catalogs for various other companies in the
plastics industry in the 1920's and the l930's, including General Bakelite's
two competitors, Condensite and Redmanol. Other company catalogs include
General Electric Plastics and Diamond State Fibre Company. There is also a
booklet on the 1939 World's Fair, "Pilgrimage to Tomorrow," World
Fair Material, which
includes examples of bakelite.
||SERIES 3: BOONTON RUBBER CO., 1911-1974
||Includes Material relating to Boonton Rubber Company (later Tech
Art Plastics Company), including two notebooks belonging to Richard Seabury,
1911-1923. Seabury, who was president of Boonton from 1906 to l918, was the
first to develop applications for molded Bakelite products. Also in the box
are several company trade catalogs and advertisements.
||SERIES 4: CHARLES BURROUGHS CO., 1897-1929
||Includes Material relating to the Charles Burroughs Company,
manufacturers of hydraulic machinery and molding equipment for plastics.
Includes a trade catalog of molding equipment and hydraulic machinery (1929);
photographs of Burroughs machines; copies of patents; and a blueprint for a
hydraulic press (1897).
||SERIES 5: SIGFRIED HIGGINS & BAKELITE PRINTING PLATES, 1925-1959
|| Includes Research Reports of Sigfried Higgins, who was the
Research Head of the Mechanical Development Division of the Bakelite
Corporation. The reports are dated 1925-1932.|
|| Papers and Correspondence of Sigfried Higgins. Includes:
weekly sales development research reports (1941-1946); material on foreign
plastics development; notes and correspondence concerning the use of Bakelite
and rubber in printing plates, and miscellaneous catalogs.
SERIES 6: PUBLICATIONS & MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS
||Includes miscellaneous material relating to the plastics
industry, dating from ca. 1890 to 1970. Included are: trade catalogs for W.L.
Brown & Co., selling agents for American and United Zylonite Co.,
pre-l900; typescripts and reprints on various aspects of the plastics industry
such as nylon molding; photographs used in DuBois's "Plastics History
U.S.A.", including one of Henry Ford swinging an ax on the trunk of a
plastic Ford automobile; a patent for the Recto trademark; and a photograph of
Recto molded ignition timers.|
|| Includes miscellaneous publications on the plastics
industry, dating from 1942 to l975, most published by the Society of the
Plastics Industry; also contains the "Plastics Catalog," 1942.|
by: Robert S. Harding, Jeffrey Sturchio, and Ann Seeger,
revised: Robert Harding, June 2001