Nowhere is the power and promise of the Human Element more prominently on display than at the US National Inventors Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio. The Hall was founded in 1973 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the National Council of Intellectual Property Law Associations. Here, visitors can ponder the achievements of nearly 400 Americans who helped elevate the human condition with inventions that transformed lives and future horizons. Inductees to the Hall include Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, the founder of our company, Herbert Henry Dow, and, as of May 3, Ray McIntire, inventor of STYROFOAM™ Brand extruded polystyrene.
“McIntire’s invention of STYROFOAM™ Brand extruded polystyrene during World War Two triggered the development of many indispensable insulation products used to enhance the energy efficiency of homes, offices and other buildings around the world today,” said Torsten Kraef, Dow Building Solutions vice president and general manager. “We are very pleased and honored that his achievement will be recognized by induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame this year.”
STYROFOAM™: From Discovery to a Leading Brand
Patented in 1944 as STYROFOAM™, this new material was lightweight but also durable, and exhibited outstanding thermal and moisture-resistant properties. The first application was by the U.S. Coast Guard as an “unsinkable” buoyancy billet in their six-man life rafts. Before the end of the war, both the Coast Guard and the Navy were using unsinkable STYROFOAM™ billets in a wide range of watercraft for their insulation properties and buoyancy.
By the 1950s, STYROFOAM™ Brand products started making a significant impact in the construction market, replacing cork in varied low-temperature applications, and as a thermal barrier in the walls and roofs of institutional and commercial buildings. Pretty soon, the residential construction sector was using this indispensable material for below-grade insulation in the foundations and perimeters of slab-constructed homes.
Nearly 65 years after it was first patented, STYROFOAM™ Brand Insulation is one of the leading brands of extruded polystyrene insulation in the world, easily recognized by its unique trademarked BLUE™ color. Installed for its exceptional insulation properties from rooftops to basement walls in millions of residential and commercial applications around the world, STYROFOAM™ Brand Insulation products are estimated to reduce energy costs by more than $10 billion annually. Other applications range from the original marine buoyancy billets to floral, art and craft products.
Dow continues to leverage its extensive research and development infrastructure to build upon the flagship STYROFOAM™ Brand and expand its portfolio of innovative solutions. Dow Building Solutions is an acknowledged leader in the global building industry, and demonstrates its ongoing commitment by combining technical know-how and a deep understanding of market needs to help customers solve their toughest construction challenges. STYROFOAM™ Brand products also play an integral role in helping Dow achieve its 2015 Sustainability Goals related to energy efficiency and reducing global carbon emissions.
For more information on the US National Inventors Hall of Fame go to http://www.invent.org/2008induction