The Plastics Hall of Fame inductees: NPE 2003


Every three years, in conjunction with NPE, the industry inducts new members into the Plastics Hall of Fame. They are recognized for their innovation, creativity, dedication, and leadership.

Samuel L. Belcher

Whether it’s the first PET bottle with an integrated handle, phenolic field telephone handsets from World War II, the all-plastic House of the Future from Disney World’s Tomorrowland, an early example of a molding workcell, prolific writings on plastic, or leadership positions at the industry’s preeminent associations, the National Plastics Hall of Fame induction class of 2003 constitutes contributions that reach across generations, processes, markets, and technologies.

To be formally inducted at a ceremony on June 26, 2003 during NPE are the six newest members: Samuel L. Belcher, F. Reed Estabrook Jr., Michael F.X. Gigliotti, John R. Kretzschmar, Dominick V. Rosato, and Albert Spaak. Each has left his mark in plastics in numerous processes and roles, with several contributions starting in the 1940s and many continuing today.

  •  Samuel L. Belcher’s achievements are varied and far-reaching, coming primarily in the areas of blowmolding and stretch blowmolding.

    Technical achievements cited for his induction include the first PET bottle with an integrated handle, which he patented and licensed to Mitsubishi of Japan. Belcher was also behind the first flip-top, living hinge closure for a liquid detergent bottle, McDonald’s foam clamshell package, and the invention of a process for adding print to thermoformed containers.

    F. Reed Estabrook Jr.

    In addition to his 54 patents, covering developments in twin-sheet thermoforming and structural foam pallets, Belcher created Rubbermaid’s plastic spice turntable (its single-largest-volume item ever produced), and was named a Fellow of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), which granted him a Lifetime Achievement Award through its Blow Molding Div.

    Belcher is still active in the industry through his consulting firm, Sabel Plastics (Moscow, OH), founded in 1987. Prior to that, he worked with Cincinnati Milacron, Wheaton Industries, Owens-Illinois, and Rubbermaid.

  •  F. Reed Estabrook Jr.’s contributions include processing innovations, like pioneering the use of beryllium copper for mold components and molds, and plastics promotion in connection with his public relation and lobbying efforts for the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI).

    In earlier work, Estabrook was key to the design and molding of phenolic field telephone handsets and electrical components for the Navy during World War II, Northern’s line of molded melamine dinnerware, and molded nylon gears.

    His involvement in the plastics community includes a fellowship at the SPE as well as posts with the SPI, the Plastics Pioneers Assn. (PPA), and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

    Michael F.X. Gigliotti
  •  Michael F.X. Gigliotti worked for 35 years in a variety of technical management positions for Monsanto (now Solutia). This lengthy tenure linked him with many programs that helped commercialize and market plastics. Most notable among these was Monsanto’s House of the Future. A feature of Walt Disney World’s Tomorrowland as the world’s first all-plastic house, the structure was created and managed by Gigliotti in 1957 and remained a Tomorrowland fixture for 10 years.

    Gigliotti also pioneered prototyping and commercialization programs for plastics in the automotive, pipe, construction, housing, and furniture markets. Creator of Monsanto’s LOPAC program (low-oxygen-permeation packaging), Gigliotti managed EVAL, plastic’s first true barrier material, which was followed by Coca Cola’s first plastic carbonated-beverage bottle.

    Founder of the technical management consulting practice MGA Inc., Gigliotti has also organized numerous trade missions, tours, and conferences in locales as far reaching as South Africa, Finland, Australia, and Japan.

    If you’d like to attend...
    The 2003 Plastics Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held Thursday, June 26 in the Grand Ballroom of the Chicago Hilton & Towers during the National Plastics Exposition. The event starts with a reception at 6:30 pm, followed by dinner and the induction. Keynote speaker will be Craig G. Naylor, group VP for DuPont Performance Materials. Tables of 10 for the dinner may be purchased for $3000, which includes the reception, dinner, and a tax-deductible donation to the National Plastics Center & Museum and the Plastics Academy. Individual tickets are $300 each. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Doreen Ricker at the Plastics Academy, Leominster, MA; (978) 537-9529; fax (978) 537-3220; [email protected].
    John R. Kretzschmar
  •  John R. Kretzschmar, a long-time resin salesman and founder and president of a blown-film manufacturer, applied his professional communication, leadership, and management skills into administration over a nearly all-inclusive spectrum of plastics industry associations. These titles included president of the SPE, president of the PPA, chairman of the Plastics Academy, director of the SPI, director of the National Plastics Center & Museum, and director of the SPE Foundation.

    A graduate of the University of Missouri, Kretzschmar was recognized by that school with an Honor Award for Distinguished Service in Engineering in 1988. He also received a distinguished achievement award from SPE.

  •  An early innovator of military applications for plastics, Dominick V. Rosato translated his experience as the director for plastics research and development at Raybestos-Manhattan and work at Ingersoll-Rand’s injection molding machinery division into a prolific writing career covering plastics.
    Dominick V. Rosato

    As technical editor of Plastics World magazine, Rosato prepared more than 2000 articles, papers, and presentations, and in addition to writing 45 chapters for various industry handbooks and reference texts, Rosato published 25 plastics handbooks on his own, covering topics as diverse as mechanical engineering, blowmolding, product design, injection molding, composites design and manufacturing, filament winding, environmental effects on plastics, and extrusion.

    Rosato started as a toolmaker at Shram Industries, but the Army Air Force commissioned him to work in its Nonmetallic Structures & Materials Lab at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, OH during World War II. During the Korean War, he served as the deputy chief of plastics research and development there as well.

  • Albert Spaak’s range of experience in the plastics industry is extensive. He began work as a draftsman and designer for a molding machine manufacturer, and then spent 20 years processing and marketing polyethylene. He also worked with the Plastics Institute of America to develop and educate plastics personnel.
    Albert Spaak

    Spaak’s early contributions include work on the design, development, and manufacture of an all-mechanical, electric-drive, toggle molding machine for DeMattia Machine & Tool Co. Following World War II, Spaak also worked on what may be the earliest rudimentary example of a molding cell, created at DeMattia. It included a hydraulic press packaged with molds and auxiliary equipment, including the first small mold chiller and a scrap granulator.

    His marbleizing cylinders used with plunger-style presses created the first wood-grain molded parts, and he helped promote HDPE for W.R. Grace—later Allied Chemical—going so far as to mold HDPE bowls in the basement of the Macy’s department store in the 1950s.

    Spaak used personal funds while president of the PPA to create its Education Fund, which established a scholarship to support students enrolled in two- and four-year colleges who were pursuing careers in plastics.

    Plastics Academy
    presents achievement awards
    In addition to the induction of the 2003 Hall of Fame members, the Plastics Academy is presenting two achievement awards at the June 26 dinner. The awards identify individuals in the plastics industry who have contributed significantly to the industry’s growth and success.

    The Daniel F. Fox Lifetime Achievement Award is being presented to Robert D. Schad, president and CEO of Husky Injection Molding Systems (Bolton, ON). Schad, who immigrated to Canada from Germany in 1951, started Husky in a Toronto garage building snowmobiles and has grown the company into one of the world’s largest and best-known suppliers of injection molding machines. Today, Husky is a US$ 581 million company that employs more than 2800 people.

    The Frank S. Marra Plastics Industry Contribution Award is being presented to Peter F. Bemis, president of the Contract Group of Bemis Mfg. (Sheboygan Falls, WI). Although Bemis Mfg. is well-known for its injection molding expertise and innovations, Peter Bemis is being recognized for his dedicated service to the plastics industry. This includes service to the board of SPI Midwest for more than 15 years as chair, strategic planning chair, and director at large. He’s also been a member of the SPI’s National Board of Directors. He’s currently board chair of the National Plastics Center & Museum, and his company has been generous in sponsoring the activities of the museum’s PlastiVan education program.

    Editor’s note: Election into the Plastics Hall of Fame is for those who have contributed to the development of plastics and the industry in the U.S. Criteria to qualify for nomination to the Hall include one or more of the following: a significant scientific, engineering, or equipment invention or breakthrough; development of an outstanding product, market, end-use niche, or business endeavor; long and valuable service to a segment, constituency, discipline, or association of the plastics industry; and a record of constructive, collaborative action with government, regulatory, academic, consumer, environmental, health, trade, and/or other industry-related groups. Up to nine living persons and five posthumous may be inducted every three years.

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