Developed numerous technologies in blow molding; involved in start-ups of leading auxiliary equipment firms.
Dewey Rainville, who overcame the depression to become a pioneer and innovator in the plastics industry, died of heart failure on December 9 in Summit, N.J. He was 91.
Rainville’s childhood was spent in an orphanage and a series of foster homes until he ran away and began supporting himself at a very young age while attending school. He signed up for the military program in his high school because the uniform came with something he desperately needed: a new pair of shoes. He then earned a position in the first Naval Officers’ Training Program at the University of Colorado, from which he graduated in 1945 with a degree in aeronautical engineering.
After serving his tour of duty in the South Pacific, Rainville focused his career on theplastics industry. Rainville started a number of companies, several of which survive to this day, including Conair, Universal Dynamics, Inc., and the Rainville Company.
Rainville was awarded more than 15 patents for his unique engineering contributions to the plastics industry. He developed technology that made it possible to make large blow molded plastic containers, including the first portable plastic fuel container known as the “Jerry Can,”and he was awarded a patent for developing the technology that enabled quality neck finishes for plastic bottles–enabling the bottles to have form-fitting tops – that is still the standard method used today.
Rainville received many honors during the course of his career. He was inducted into the Plastics Pioneers Association in 1986; he was a Society of Plastics Engineers Fellow; he received the Milacron David Noffsinger Award for Engineering & Technical Excellence, the New Jersey SPE Award for Technical Achievement and the SPE “Blow Molding” Achievement Award.
Rainville was also dedicated to improving safety and education in the industry. He was
active in developing safety standards for Blow Molding and Auxiliaries, was a major contributor to the ANSI safety standard for Injection Blow Molding, and he lectured around the world on safety issues. Rainville, in his later years, dedicated much time to the Plastics Museum at the Syracuse University.
Rainville was also a patron of the arts. He served as President of the Newark, New Jersey opera and was a longtime patron of the Metropolitan Opera.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 69 years, Nancy, and their children and their
spouses: Denise and Sandy Hoe; Jeffrey and Rosanne Rainville; Mark and Gay Parks Rainville; Donald and Marilyn Rainville; Christina Rainville and Peter Greenberg-as well as eleven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.