Oral history interview with Irvin I. Rubin

Oral history interview with Irvin I. Rubin

  • 2002-Feb-26

Irvin I. Rubin begins the interview by describing his family history and how he came to work in the plastics industry. Throughout the interview Rubin describes the intricacies of working with plastic, starting with the injection molding process. Rubin began working at Robinson Plastics Corporation not long after its inception. There, he developed his intuitive knowledge of plastic molding and began to work as a consultant. A brief interruption to his career at Robinson occurred in 1942, when Rubin was drafted and subsequently released from duty. During the next four years, Rubin worked as the Chief Shift Scientist at Montrose Chemical Company and then as Acrylics Plant Manager at Columbia Plastic Products Manufacturing Corporation, before returning to Robinson Plastics in 1946 as Plant Manager. Rubin eventually become owner of the company and, additionally, founded RLR Industries, Inc. in 1958. Throughout his career, Rubin has been dedicated to the dissemination of plastics education, and now in retirement, he finds himself working toward the preservation of the rich history of the revolutionary plastics industry. In an effort to share his knowledge of the industry's rapid progress, Rubin has run seminars, contributed to or written numerous publications, and is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. Irvin Rubin concludes the interview by reflecting on the profound impact the plastics industry has had on our everyday lives.

Property Value
Place of interview
Original file type PDF, MP3
  • 162 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

James G. Traynham is a professor of chemistry at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. He holds a PhD in organic chemistry from Northwestern University. He joined Louisiana State University in 1953 and served as chemistry department chairperson from 1968 to 1973. He was chairman of the American Chemical Society’s Division of the History of Chemistry in 1988 and is currently councilor of the Baton Rouge section of the American Chemical Society. He was a member of the American Chemical Society’s Joint-Board Council on Chemistry and Public Affairs, as well as a member of the Society’s Committees on Science, Chemical Education, and Organic Chemistry Nomenclature. He has written over 90 publications, including a book on organic nomenclature and a book on the history of organic chemistry.

Physical location


Interviewee biographical information

  • February 1919
  • Brooklyn, New York, United States
  • June 25, 2012
  • Brooklyn, New York, United States


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1938 City University of New York. City College BS Chemistry
1940 Brooklyn College Graduate School

Professional Experience

Robinson Plastics Corporation

  • 1940 to 1942 Technical Director
  • 1946 to 1947 Plant Manager
  • 1967 to 2003 Owner and President

Montrose Chemical Company

  • 1942 to 1945 Chief Shift Chemist

Columbia Plastic Products Manufacturing Company

  • 1945 to 1946 Acrylics Plant Manager

RLR Industries, Inc.

  • 1958 to 1968 Founder and Vice President

Irvin I. Rubin Plastics Corporation

  • 1962 to 2003 Owner and President


Year(s) Award
1989 Fellow, Society of Plastics Engineers
1993 Member, Plastics Hall of Fame

Cite as

Irvin I. Rubin, interviewed by James G. Traynham in Brooklyn, New York, New York on February 26, 2002. Philadelphia: Science History Institute, n.d. Oral History Transcript 0235. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/bv73c1590.

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PDF — 9.2 MB

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

8 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads