Preserving the Past
Perhaps one of the most interesting and important activities of the Plastics Pioneers is the work of the Plastics History and Artifacts Committee. Because the members of the Pioneers were responsible for or participated in so many early (and recent) achievements of the plastics industry, the PPA is a logical place to capture that history.
You can help us continue to support these programs by making a tax-deductible donation to PPA.
The fascination with preserving living history started in 1953, when a series of tapes were made by many pioneers to record the early days of plastics.
In 1982, a Who’s Who in the Plastics Pioneers was published, giving the plastics background of more than 230 living and deceased Pioneers. That publication, now available on CD, was followed by a 2004 update, capturing information about all Pioneers inducted since 1982.
An even bigger project was recently launched by the Plastics Pioneers: The collection and preservation of the personal recollections of the men and women who actually created and nurtured the plastics industry. The Pioneers have worked with the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. and the National Plastics Center and Museum (NCPM) in Leominster, MA to collect, store, and present these histories.
Plastics Parts and Products
The collection and preservation of artifacts is also an ongoing cooperative effort between the Plastics Pioneers and the National Plastics Center and Museum. For example, a member recently donated an extensive collection of early Tupperware to the NCPM. Another member helped secure the early plastics collection of developer Armand Winfield. The Plastics Pioneers Association also supports a Collections Manager at the NCPM to help expand the Museum’s ability to collect, identify, categorize, archive, and computerize the museum’s current and future collections of articles relating to the history of plastics.
While the collection of living histories and artifacts continues, the Committee brings that history alive at Pioneer meetings with a History Club, where members tell their own individual stories of early plastics developments, and bring examples of historic products. A side benefit of these interesting stories is the capture of this history for posterity.
Finally, an opportunity for Pioneers to bring old plastics articles for identification and evaluation takes place at the Antique Plastics Roadshow.