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Irvin I. Rubin

  • Born: February 1, 1919, Brooklyn, New York

  Interview Details

Interview no.: 0235
Interview Date: February 26, 2002
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Interviewer: James G. Traynham
No. of pages: 162
Sponsor: Plastics Pioneers Association
Plastics Pioneers Association

  Abstract of Interview

Irvin I. Rubin begins the interview by describing his family history and how he came to work in the plastics industry. Throughout the interview Rubin describes the intricacies of working with plastic, starting with the injection molding process. Rubin began working at Robinson Plastics Corporation not long after its inception. There, he developed his intuitive knowledge of plastic molding and began to work as a consultant. A brief interruption to his career at Robinson occurred in 1942, when Rubin was drafted and subsequently released from duty. During the next four years, Rubin worked as the Chief Shift Scientist at Montrose Chemical Company and then as Acrylics Plant Manager at Columbia Plastic Products Manufacturing Corporation, before returning to Robinson Plastics in 1946 as Plant Manager. Rubin eventually become owner of the company and, additionally, founded RLR Industries, Inc. in 1958. Throughout his career, Rubin has been dedicated to the dissemination of plastics education, and now in retirement, he finds himself working toward the preservation of the rich history of the revolutionary plastics industry. In an effort to share his knowledge of the industry's rapid progress, Rubin has run seminars, contributed to or written numerous publications, and is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. Irvin Rubin concludes the interview by reflecting on the profound impact the plastics industry has had on our everyday lives.


1938 B.S., Chemistry, City College of New York
1940 Graduate School Brooklyn College

  Professional Experience

Montrose Chemical Company

1942 - 1945 Chief Shift Chemist

Columbia Plastic Products Manufacturing Corporation

1945 - 1946 Acrylics Plant Manager

RLR Industries, Inc.

1958 - 1968 Founder and Vice President

Irvin I. Rubin Plastics Corporation

1962 Owner and President

Robinson Plastics Corporation

1940 - 1942 Technical Director

Robinson Plastics Corporation

1946 - 1967 Plant Manager

Robinson Plastics Corporation

1967 Owner and President


1989 Fellow, Society of Plastics Engineers
1993 Member, Plastics Hall of Fame

  Table of Contents

Title and Description Page

Personal Background and Early Interests in Science 1

Family background. Childhood and early schooling experiences. Wife and children. Interest in science and getting involved in plastics.

Early Career 8

Sol M. Robinson. Description of the injection molding process. Start of Robinsons Plastics Corporation and employment there. Experiences with the government. Work for Montrose Chemical Company and Columbia Plastic Products Manufacturing Corporation. Formation of RLR Industries, Inc.

Educational Outreach 36

Activities with the Society of Plastics Engineers. Creation and running of seminar programs in plastics education. Authoring book on injection molding and other writing projects. Recollection of rewarding teaching experiences.

Recollection of Selected Projects 42

Use of vacuum metalizing on plastics. Molding Lexan. Experience with Clinique Laboratories. Accounts of working with customers of RLR Industries, Inc. Work with Craftool Company. Setting up schools for Chinese mold builders at the request of the United Nations.

Historical Efforts and Concluding Thoughts 62

Collection of plastics history through the Plastics Pioneers Association in conjunction with Chemical Heritage Foundation. Historical programs with the Society of Plastic Engineers. Career successes. Chief contributions to the field of plastic molding. Reflection on the ubiquity of plastics in everyday life.

Notes 74

Addenda 75

I. Mold Checklist
II. Correcting Molding Faults
III. Piece Part Design
IV: Invitation to Participate in the PPA History Project Sent to all PPA Members
V: Figures 1 through 37

  1. Plastic Prism, Robinson Plastics Corporation
  2. Operator removing a plastic part, Monsanto Chemical Company
  3. Hydraulic clamp end schematic
  4. Reciprocating screw injection end schematic
  5. Exploded view of mold base, Detroit Mold Engineering
  6. Nylon battery case, Gulton Industries
  7. Finial assembly, Robinson Plastics Corporation
  8. Capiz shell lampshade, Robinson Plastics Corporation
  9. Polypropylene lampshades, Robinson Plastics Corporation
  10. Swag lampshades, Robinson Plastics Corporation
  11. Molded parts, Robinson Plastics Corporation
  12. Molded and decorated parts, Robinson Plastics Corporation
  13. Apple cutter, Robinson Plastics Corporation
  14. Party and patio ware, Robinson Plastics Corporation
  15. Apollo bookend, Petit Musée
  16. Plastic mortar, Anchor Manufacturing
  17. Tissue box, Rialto Products
  18. Basket, 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches tall, Rialto Products
  19. Automatic vacuum former, RLR Industries, Inc.
  20. 4 foot by 4 foot pressure forming press, RLR Industries, Inc.
  21. Michelin Tire Man, RLR Industries, Inc.
  22. Formed party ware, RLR Industries, Inc.
  23. Society of Plastics Engineers' seminar brochure
  24. Plastics Seminar brochure
  25. Injection Molding cover
  26. Handbook brochure
  27. Automatic bushing machine
  28. Matchbox tray, Lesney Products
  29. Computer card holder, RCA Corporation
  30. Lexan centrifuge
  31. Pool skimmer, AMPRO Machine Products
  32. Lexan four-way valve, AMPRO Machine Products
  33. Pleuro-Evac, Deknatel, Inc. and Pfizer Inc.
  34. ABS circular crib
  35. Lapidary tumbler, Craftool Company
  36. Right angle drill
  37. Decorated switch plate, Angelo Brother Company

Index 152

  About the Interviewer

James G. Traynham

James G. Traynham is a professor of chemistry at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. He holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Northwestern University. He joined Louisiana State University in 1953 and served as chemistry department chairperson from 1968 to 1973. He was chairman of the American Chemical Society’s Division of the History of Chemistry in 1988 and is currently councilor of the Baton Rouge section of the American Chemical Society. He was a member of the American Chemical Society’s Joint-Board Council on Chemistry and Public Affairs, as well as a member of the Society’s Committees on Science, Chemical Education, and Organic Chemistry Nomenclature. He has written over 90 publications, including a book on organic nomenclature and a book on the history of organic chemistry.

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