Islyn Thomas, O.B.E.
Sales, Process, Management, Machinery
Made many contributions as a leader in the mold and die industry. Active in the production of essential products during World War II, and contributed to the development of the toy and housewares markets. Author of the first book published on injection molding, Injection Molding of Plastics.
In 1975, at the request of Queen Elizabeth II, Dr. Thomas was appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for his contributions to the advancement of plastics throughout the free world.
Islyn Thomas was born in South Wales, the son of a Welsh coal miner. At age 11, he emigrated to America with his parents, who settled in Scranton, PA. In 1930, he graduated from the Johnson School of Technology as president of his class. He later attended New York University, Columbia University, and the University of Scranton.
Dr. Thomas joined the Consolidated Molded Products Corp. in 1930 as a tool and die maker. By 1938 he was the company's chief engineer.
In 1942, Dr. Thomas was named general manager of the Ideal Toy Company and was responsible for converting its operations to war work. The assignment included the production of plastics for the Manhattan Project.
Two years later, Dr. Thomas formed the Thomas Engineering Company, Plastics Parts Development Corp., and then the Thomas Manufacturers Corp. For the next 10 years, he was one of the largest producers of plastic toys and housewares in the U.S.
At the close of World War II, Dr. Thomas helped establish a number of plastics companies in England and Wales. He was also instrumental in helping several U.S. companies establish divisions in those countries.
During the Truman Administration, Dr. Thomas served as a member of the War Production Board. He later worked with Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson on the Atlantic Alliance for Progress program.
In 1952, Dr. Thomas established the Newark Die Hobbing and Casting Co., and later founded the Newark Plastic Machinery Corp. He resigned as president of Newark Die in 1960 to become a consultant to the plastics industry. Under the name of Thomas International Co., he served as consultant to plastics manufacturing companies in more than 20 countries in the free world.
As a professor of plastics engineering at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, he wrote Injection Molding of Plastics, which was published in 1947, and which became a basic textbook. He wrote numerous technical articles for journals in the U.S., Great Britain, and West Germany. For many years, Dr. Thomas also served as a consulting editor to International Plastics Engineering, a London publication.