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William M. Lester - Hall of Fame Entry
  Author: Plastics Academy Staff
Added: 03/29/2004
Type: Summary
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William M. Lester - Hall of Fame Entry


William M. Lester




Industry Areas:
Sales, Management, Machinery

Updated much of the production equipment used in the industry, and created new and innovative machines.

Before his graduation from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1928 with a BS in mechanical engineering, Lester already had an extensive background of experience in die casting machine and mold design.

In his first job, he was an engineer with the Precision Castings Co., Fayetteville, NY. However, his entrepreneurial spirit prompted him to leave this large company after two and a half years for the more lucrative potentials of his own business, which he started with his father, the Lester Tool and Die Co. in Cleveland, OH. He designed the molds built by the company and the die casting machines manufactured and sold by Reed-Prentice Co. under license from Lester. During this period, he designed and created many auxiliary devices and attachments to tool- room equipment, to facilitate simplification of the mold making process. His creativity in die and pressure casting equipment led to many machine patents in this field.

Because of this background of experience and accomplishments, he was invited in late 1934 to be a participant in Commonwealth Plastics Co., a newly formed joint venture in Leominster, MA. His contribution for his equity was to design, build, and debug a commercial plastics injection molding machine within a ten-week period. At that time the only injection machines available were:

  • The Eckert & Zeigler hand press
  • The H.P.M. hand press
  • Isoma electric press 1-oz. capacity
  • Ucholz hand press

None of these machines was large enough or mechanized sufficiently to provide for commercial use to meet American industry standards for mass production. Lester's first machine was a 4-oz. self-contained hydraulically operated unit with a minimum overall cycle of 6 seconds.

Since the sale of Pyro Plastics Corp., which he founded in 1939 with his wife Betty, he has continued to remain creatively involved as a consultant engineer, and as president of TBL Development Corp., a company dedicated to finding solutions to some of the problems in the industry, with particular emphasis on tamper-evidence packaging in the food, drug, and beverage industries. During this period, he has received U.S. patents on such diverse additional items as the following: rotary internal combustion engine, automatic closure for a squeezable container, high accuracy injector for die casting machines, and affording automatic melt level compensation. He and his two associates currently have on file more than 20 patents in the U.S., and a composite of these world- wide, on tamper-indicating closure devises and special mold tooling design for the efficient manufacture of same.

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