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Oral history interview with Gordon M. Kline

  • 1987-May-15 (First session)
  • 1987-May-16 (Second session)

Oral history interview with Gordon M. Kline

  • 1987-May-15 (First session)
  • 1987-May-16 (Second session)

Gordon M. Kline begins the interview by discussing his work at the National Bureau of Standards during the 1930s, where he focussed on applications of organic resins to aviation. This is followed by a general discussion of his work as head of the Bureau's Organic Plastics Section and as Technical Editor of Modern Plastics. A lengthy section of the interview is devoted to Kline's experiences in Germany in 1945, investigating German plastics laboratories, plants, and processes. The next major portion of the interview covers Kline's experiences as an administrator of the Division of Polymers at the National Bureau of Standards and his role in setting national and international standards of testing for synthetic polymer products. The interview concludes with a brief discussion of Kline's education at Colgate University and at the University of Maryland.

Property Value
Place of interview
  • 58 pages
Rights Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Rights holder
  • Science History Institute
Credit line
  • Courtesy of Science History Institute

About the Interviewer

Jeffrey L. Meikle holds an AB and an AM in American Civilization from Brown University and a PhD in American Civilization from the University of Texas at Austin.  He is Associate Professor of American Studies and Art History at the University of Texas at Austin.  Dr. Meikle is the author of Twentieth Century Limited.  Industrial Design in America, 1925-1939, published in 1979 and is currently writing a cultural history of plastics in the United States

Institutional location

Oral history number 0070

Related Items

Interviewee biographical information

  • February 09, 1903
  • Trenton, New Jersey, United States
  • August 04, 1996
  • Palm Beach


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1925 Colgate University AB Chemistry
1926 George Washington University MS Chemistry
1934 University of Maryland, College Park PhD Chemistry

Professional Experience

New York (State). Department of Health

  • 1926 to 1927 Research Chemist

United States. War Department

  • 1928 to 1929 Research Chemist, Picatinny Arsenal

United States. National Bureau of Standards

  • 1929 to 1935 Research Chemist
  • 1935 to 1951 Chief, Organic Plastics Section
  • 1951 Chief, Organic and Fibrous Materials Division
  • 1951 to 1963 Chief, Division of Polymers
  • 1964 to 1969 Consultant

Modern Plastics

  • 1936 Technical Editor
  • 1936 to 1960 Editorial Director and Consultant, Modern Plastics Encyclopedia

American Society for Testing and Materials

  • 1937 Member
  • 1941 to 1954 Chairman, Federal Specifications Plastics Technical Committee
  • 1948 to 1952 Chairman

International Organization for Standardization

  • 1951 Technical Committee 61 Plastics, Member
  • 1951 to 1958 Chairman

International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC)

  • 1951 to 1967 Section on Plastics and Polymers, Member
  • 1959 to 1963 Section on Plastics and Polymers, Vice-Chairman
  • 1963 to 1967 Chairman
  • 1967 to 1975 Macromolecular Division, Member
  • 1976 to 1987 Observer


Year(s) Award
1952 Honor Award, Washington Section, American Institute of Chemists
1953 Exceptional Service Gold Medal, Department of Commerce
1954 Award of Merit, American Society for Testing and Materials
1965 Rosa Award, National Bureau of Standards
1973 Charter Member, Plastics Hall of Fame
1986 Award of Excellence, ASTM Committee D-20

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PDF — 328 KB

The published version of the transcript may diverge from the interview audio due to edits to the transcript made by staff of the Center for Oral History, often at the request of the interviewee, during the transcript review process.

Complete Interview Audio File Web-quality download

10 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads