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J. HARRY DuBOIS COLLECTION ON THE HISTORY OF PLASTICS, ca. 1900-1975
#8

(2.33 cubic feet: 7 DB, 1 (.5) DB)

by: Robert S. Harding, Jeffrey Sturchio, and Ann Seeger,  March 1982

Biography

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.

Provenance

Transferred from the Division of Physical Sciences 4/5/83.

Container List

Box Contents

SERIES 1: BAKELITE CATALOGS, 1910-1944

1 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
2  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
3 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
4 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
5  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.
6  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 ca. 1890-1975

7 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.
8  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,     March 1982    
revised: Robert Harding,  June 2001


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Revised: August 15, 2001