Editor's Note: Rubber & Plastics News will celebrate its 50th Anniversary with a special issue Aug. 9. Leading up to that, we will be publishing columns online by current and former staff members reflecting on their time with the publication.
I started my career in the rubber industry in 1970, when I joined B.F. Goodrich as a young rubber chemist. I remember that, at that time, we had two monthly trade magazines, but no newspaper. Of course, later the next year, Rubber & Plastics News came on the scene as a black-and-white print newspaper, consistent with that time period. Life in Akron was very different back then with four very large rubber companies all headquartered in Akron. And I remember that the Rubber & Plastics News offices actually were headquartered in the middle of downtown Akron.
While working for B.F. Goodrich, I started publishing papers from my work experiences in the 1980s. In the '80s and '90s, we witnessed great changes in the rubber industry itself, which certainly affected Akron greatly. RPN became our main way to keep up with all these changes that were happening, not just in Akron, but globally as well.
The Technical Notebook was created soon after the birth of RPN. Since its establishment, hundreds of very interesting papers have been published regarding rubber and plastics compounding and chemistry, engineering, environmental sciences, mechanical designs and so forth. Typical topics that have been covered include technical reviews of tires, hose, belts, silicone, seals, adhesives, non-tire automobile NVH components, latex, recycling, new NR sources, medical applications, and polyurethanes, just to name a few.
With the passage of time, things have changed. There are fewer rubber companies headquartered in Akron that have large payrolls. Much of the rubber business activity in Akron itself has moved to the Akron suburbs and beyond. However, RPN has grown in importance and is a constant in our lives that continues to provide its inclusive coverage of the ever-changing rubber industry.
Dick is technical editor of Rubber & Plastics News. You can reach him at [email protected].