Gordon M. Kline papers1930-1980
Gordon M. Kline (1903-1996) was highly involved in the plastics industry, beginning in its infancy. He worked in the plastics section of the National Bureau of Standards, editor of Modern Plastics, and with the U.S. government on preservation of significant historical items. The papers document his professional career with the National Bureau of Standards, along with material describing his work with the Society of the Plastics Industry, the American Society for Testing Materials, and the International Standards Organization.
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Gordon M. Kline (1903-1996) was highly involved in the plastics industry, beginning in its infancy. He worked in the plastics section of the National Bureau of Standards, editor of Modern Plastics, and with the U.S. government on preservation of significant historical items.
Kline was born in Trenton, New Jersey, on February 9, 1903. After graduating from the local public high school he attended Colgate University, George Washington University, and the University of Maryland from which he received a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1934.
In 1929 Kline began working at the Plastics Section of the National Bureau of Standards. He became Chief of the Technical Division in 1935. The next year he was named technical editor of Modern Plastics, the industry's major trade journal. During the 1930s, when the plastics industry was still in its infancy, Kline recognized the need for developing specification and testing methods so that this new material could be mass produced. Working closely with the Society for the Plastics Industry, the American Society for Testing Materials, and the International Standards Organization, he and his colleagues at the National Bureau of Standards developed the first widely accepted set of commercial standards for the plastics industry. In 1942, at the request of the British Ministry Supply, Kline was sent to Great Britain to advise plastic manufacturers about possible military applications for this new material. In 1945 he served as a technical investigator for the U.S. Army in Germany, visiting major plastic plants and compiling reports on German technological developments.
After the War at the request of the Librarian of Congress, Dr. Kline and the National Bureau of Standards became involved in an effort to preserve the Declaration of Independence and Constitution in such a way as to permit them to be on permanent exhibit. For these documents, Kline and his staff constructed hermetically sealed frames which contained inert helium gases that eliminated the danger of deterioration from oxidation and acid hydrolysis. In 1952, at the request of the U.S. State Department, Kline became involved in a top-secret project to preserve the Holy Crown of Hungary and other coronation regalia which dated from the reign of Stephen I as the first King of Hungary in the year 1000. These relics had been turned over to the U.S. forces in Germany in 1945 by the Hungarian Crown guards as the Soviet armies were taking over Hungary and were later repatriated in 1978.
Kline retired from the National Bureau of Standards in 1964. He was inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame in 1973. He continued to serve on the editorial board of Modern Plastics until 1981. Kline died in Florida on August 4, 1996.
Scope and Contents
The papers document Gordon Kline's (1903-1996) professional career with the National Bureau of Standards. Included are files describing his work with the Society of the Plastics Industry, the American Society for Testing Materials, and the International Standards Organization. There are copies of the reports that he wrote in 1945 to 1948 describing the state of the German plastics industry. Articles by Kline which appeared in various National Bureau of Standards' publications and in Modern Plastics describe technological developments in the plastics industry, and the expansion of the military and civilian markets for plastics during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. Kline's work with the Library of Congress preserving the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and the work he did for the State Department on the Crown of St. Stephen and Hungarian coronation regalia are also documented, as is a 1959 project to seal historic items in the cornerstone of the extension to the east front of the Capitol building.
No restrictions on access; this collection is open for research.
Language of Materials
Gordon M. Kline photographs (Accession 1995.256), Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.
Finding Aid & Administrative Information
- Gordon M. Kline papers
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- 2021: Ashley Williams