Preserving the Past… Ensuring the Future
Members of the Plastics Pioneers Association created or contributed to the development of the materials and processes that resulted in the unprecedented growth of the plastics industry.
By the early 1950’s it was noted that some older members were passing on without leaving a record of their achievements. Between 1952 and 1968, fifty-six Pioneers made audio recordings of their Plastics Industry experiences and contributions, including some humorous asides.
These recordings are archived at the Smithsonian Institute and with the PPA Historical Plastics Collection at Syracuse University (SU). The University has a funded project to digitize those recordings and post them on the PPA Historical Plastics website at plastics.syr.edu.
Plastics Parts and Products
In 1991 the PPA established the Plastics History and Artifacts Committee (PHAC) with the goal of collecting, preserving, and presenting the history of the Plastics Industry. The PHAC is actively collecting historically significant artifacts, photos, published articles, documents, books, personal and company histories. All contributions are welcome.
While the collecting of artifacts and documents continues, the PHAC makes these histories come alive at PPA meetings with the History Club presentations regarding significant artifacts, companies, and personal histories. There is also an Antique Plastics Road Show that gives members the opportunity to have their old plastics artifacts identified, evaluated, and appraised.
When the PPA started their Plastics History and Artifacts activity they were contributing financially and physically supporting the National Plastics Center and Museum at Leominster, MA (NPCM). They also archived their artifacts and documents with the NPCM.
In 2007 the PPA established their own Historical Plastics Collection and website at SU. They also purchased, in perpetuity, a display room in the SU Library that houses their materials. In September 2013 the PPA celebrated the opening of the display room that became known as the Plastics Pioneers Reading Room, a Glenn and Patsy Beall gift.
In early 2008 the NPCM was considering shutting down. The PHAC put SU in contact with the NPCM and they agreed to merge in October 2008. In November of 2008 the NPCM closed its doors. In May of 2011 full ownership and control of the NPCM materials was transferred to SU.
In 2015 an anonymous, but very generous, Plastics Pioneer, gave SU $1,000,000 to endow the hiring of a curator for the PPA Historical Plastics Collection. The new curator started work at SU in October of 2017.
The plastics collection and companion website was generously funded by the Plastics Pioneers’ Plastics History and Artifacts Committee, under the leadership of Glenn Beall, by Syracuse University alumnus Harry Greenwald (’51) and the Greenwald-Haupt Charitable Foundation, and Dewey Rainville who donated funds to upgrade the website.
You can help the PPA continue to support these programs by making a tax-deductible donation. Please see the Donation page on this website.