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Edward W. Rowan, Sr. - Hall of Fame Entry
  Author: Plastics Academy Staff
Added: 03/29/2004
Type: Summary
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Edward W. Rowan, Sr. - Hall of Fame Entry


Edward W. Rowan, Sr.




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Edward Rowan was born in New York City on March 29, 1913 and graduated from Yale University in 1935 with a BS Degree in Electrical Engineering. After graduation, he joined the firm of Edgar Steiner & Co., a consulting engineering firm, where he specialized in packaging applications. Two years later, while on a consulting project he was exposed to one of the first injection molding machines as it was being delivered and set up. He very quickly determined that the level of sophistication of the process would demand more from tooling suppliers than the existing die cast industry could supply. Shortly thereafter, he left Edgar Steiner to start a mold designing, building and consulting business, and by 1938 he was supplying molds to Ideal Toy Co., and others.

His varied experience in the plastics industry included:

  • Sure-Latch Lure Co. - one of the first companies to manufacture fishing tackle...
  • Dillon Beck Mfg. Co. - one of the first plastic toy manufacturers...
  • Development of the plastic soda fountain Dixie cup dispenser with unique plastic bonding technique...
  • Development and manufacture of all plastic sextants for the U. S. Navy for use in lifeboats. This was also the first plastic instrument of any type that had micrometer calibrations of this accuracy on plastic to be used in the varying temperature conditions of equator to North Pole.
  • Founder of Parkway Plastics in 1954. Parkway Plastics is a manufacturer of stock plastic jars; they were the first company to design, tool, and manufacture threaded plastic jars. His only son, Edward Rowan, Jr., is Chairman and President of the company today.

Mr. Rowan helped Dr. Islyn Thomas establish the Newark Section of the SPE and was one of its early presidents; he was active in the Section for over 35 years. He was also a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association, Inc. 1973, with the cooperation of the Newark Section of SPE, he designed, constructed and delivered to the State of New Jersey Department of Education, the first mobile plastics processing laboratory. This was a specially built trailer containing actual processing as a "Shop Course" at the high school level. These trailers were totally self contained and requisitioned by school districts as needed.

Two sisters, his son Edward Rowan Jr., daughter-in-law and two grandchildren survive him.

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