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Gordon M. Kline

  • Born: February 9, 1903, Trenton, New Jersey
  • Died: August 4, 1996

  Interview Details

Interview no.: 0070
Interview Dates: May 15, 1987 and May 16, 1987
Location: Lake Worth, Florida
Interviewer: Jeffrey L. Meikle
No. of pages: 58
Minutes: 240

  Abstract of Interview

Gordon M. Kline begins the interview by discussing his work at the National Bureau of Standards during the 1930s, where he focussed on applications of organic resins to aviation. This is followed by a general discussion of his work as head of the Bureau's Organic Plastics Section and as Technical Editor of Modern Plastics. A lengthy section of the interview is devoted to Kline's experiences in Germany in 1945, investigating German plastics laboratories, plants, and processes. The next major portion of the interview covers Kline's experiences as an administrator of the Division of Polymers at the National Bureau of Standards and his role in setting national and international standards of testing for synthetic polymer products. The interview concludes with a brief discussion of Kline's education at Colgate University and at the University of Maryland.

  Education

1925 A.B., Chemistry, Colgate University
1926 M.S., Chemistry, George Washington University
1934 Ph.D., Chemistry, University of Maryland

  Professional Experience

New York State Department of Health

1926 - 1927 Research Chemist

Picatinny Arsenal, War Department

1928 - 1929 Research Chemist

National Bureau of Standards

1929 - 1935 Research Chemist

National Bureau of Standards

1935 - 1951 Chief, Organic Plastics Section

National Bureau of Standards

1951 - 1951 Chief, Organic and Fibrous Materials Division

National Bureau of Standards

1951 - 1963 Chief, Division of Polymers

National Bureau of Standards

1964 - 1969 Consultant

International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, Section on Plastics and Polymers

1951 - 1967 Member

International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, Section on Plastics and Polymers

1959 - 1963 Vice-Chairman

International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, Section on Plastics and Polymers

1963 - 1967 Chairman

International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, Macromolecular Division

1967 - 1975 Member

International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, Macromolecular Division

1976 - 1987 Observer

International Standards Organization Technical Committee 61 Plastics

1951 Member

International Standards Organization Technical Committee 61 Plastics

1951 - 1958 Chairman

ASTM Committee D-20 on Plastics

1937 Member

ASTM Committee D-20 on Plastics

1948 - 1952 Chairman

ASTM Committee D-20 on Plastics

1941 - 1954 Chairman, Federal Specifications Plastics Technical Committee

Modern Plastics

1936 Technical Editor

Modern Plastics Encyclopedia

1936 - 1960 Editorial Director and Consultant

  Honors

1952 Honor Award, Washington Section, American Institute of Chemists
1953 Exceptional Service Gold Medal, Department of Commerce
1954 Award of Merit, American Society for Testing and Materials
1965 Rosa Award, National Bureau of Standards
1973 Charter Member, Plastics Hall of Fame
1986 Award of Excellence, ASTM Committee D-20

  Table of Contents

Title and Description Page

Early career at National Bureau of Standards 1

Moisture absorption in gelatin-based coating on Navy dirigibles. Airplane fabric dopes. Improvement of service properties of transparent plastics glazing sheets by multi-axial stretching. Resin-bonded plywood in aircraft applications.

Activities outside NBS 5

Early Gordon Conferences. Role as Technical Editor of Modern Plastics. Formation of ASTM Plastics Committee.

Wartime activities 11

Growth of NBS Plastics Section during WWII. Developments in plastics and polymer interests in the American Chemical Society. Performance standards. Wartime liaison with the British. Experiences as a technical investigator in Germany during 1945.

Post-war career 24

Publication of the German plastics reports and of Natta's Nobel Award address in Modern Plastics. Development of International Standards for plastics. IUPAC activities, especially on plastics terminology. Publication of The Analytical Chemistry of Polymers. Preservation of State documents and Hungarian relics. Image problems with plastics. Appreciation of NBS polymer studies. Plastics Hall of Fame.

The early years 44

Family background. High school and undergraduate education. Employment in Health Laboratories, State of New York, and at Picatinny Arsenal. Transfer to NBS. Part-time Ph.D. studies at University of Maryland.

Notes 50

Index 52

  About the Interviewers

Jeffrey L. Meikle

Jeffrey L. Meikle holds an A.B. and an A.M. in American civilization from Brown University and a Ph.D. in American civilization from the University of Texas at Austin. He is an associate professor of American studies and art history at the University of Texas at Austin. Meikle is the author of Twentieth Century Limited: Industrial Design in America, 1925–1939, published in 1979, and is currently writing a cultural history of plastics in the United States.

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