Walter F. Grote, Sr
A pioneer and innovator in injection molding. Envisioned the future of this unique process in 1929, while many struggled with compression molding of thermosetting and thermoplastic compounds.
Beginning with the first Buckholz injection molding presses (imported from Germany in 1922 by his father William), he began pioneering in the development and manufacturing of plastics products.
Under his management, Grote Mfg. Co. was credited with major developments in early automatic and hydraulic molding machines. His initiatives in product development and marketing were significant factors in the growth of the industry during the 30s.
In the 30s, he was one of the first to perceive the important application of larger plastics reflectors for automotive applications.
Until World War II, Grote remained the nation's pioneer and most fully integrated producer of plastic lenses and reflectors, with capability for optical engineering and testing, as well as injection molding.
In 1950, he pioneered flexible extruded reflective sheeting. In 1964, he introduced the first non-metallic lamp housings, following with other innovations including "turtle-back" clearance lamps and no-splice wiring systems.
Walter F. Grote, Sr. graduated from Fordham University in 1923. He worked at an oxygen production facility in Portsmouth, OH, and then joined his father's manufacturing company, National Colortype Co.
During World War II, his company quickly converted to the production of shell and bomb casings and paravanes for mine-sweepers, winning the coveted "E" Award for Excellence.
He currently resides in Cincinnati with his wife Marianne. Between them they have 13 children and about 54 grandchildren.