Carla Anderson
Director of Public Relations
(973) 596-3434

Wednesday, February 3, 1999

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New Jersey Inventors
Hall of Fame

      Honoree Background Information

January 1999

1999 Hall of Fame Inductees

Media Contacts:
ARTHUR SCHAWLOW (1921 -)     (650) 470-5618
CHARLES TOWNES (1915 -)     (510) 642-1128

Bell Laboratories/Lucent Technologies of Murray Hill, N.J.

     Charles Townes and Arthur Schawlow are credited with inventing the maser, a device that amplifies electromagnetic waves and creates a means for the sensitive reception of communications and for precise navigation. By applying the same concepts to visible light, Schawlow and Townes were able to create the laser.

     Both Schawlow and Townes sought ways to expand on the maser principle of electromagnetic amplification into shorter wavelengths of infrared and visible light. Their paper published in the August 1958 issue of Physical Review titled "Infrared and Optical Lasers" described the concept and design for the laser. Subsequently, Schawlow and Townes received a patent for their proposal in 1960. Their paper describing the basic principles of lasers initiated the development of a new scientific field and laid the groundwork for a multibillion-dollar industry.

     By the end of the 1960's, eye surgeons were routinely using lasers because the light beams can be made minutely small and be precisely focused. Today, lasers are prevalent in many industries. Both masers and lasers have numerous practical applications in radar, communications, astronomy, navigation, and in the medical and industrial fields.

     In 1964 Townes was awarded the Nobel Prize for his advances in the field of quantum electronics and currently serves as professor emeritus in the physics department of the University of California, Berkeley.

     In 1961, Schawlow became professor of physics at Stanford University, and received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1981 for his work in laser spectroscopy.

CYRUS W. BEMMELS (1912-1993)
Permacel Tape, formerly a Division of Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick, NJ
Nominator and Media Contact: Barbara B. Maher (609) 466-3290 (daughter)

     Cyrus Woodrow Bemmels, Ph.D in 1946 conceived the idea of making very strong thin adhesive tapes by embedding parallel strands of continuing filament yarns in the adhesive, what is commonly referred to as strapping tape. He saw immediately the important features of the invention and made several samples. His colleagues at Permacel were slow to realize the importance of this discovery, but Bemmels persisted in championing his invention until it had been field tested and accepted. In 1949, it was placed on the market and was an immediate success..

     The major breakthrough came when he found a way of embedding strands for support while keeping a thin and flexible backing. He embedded the strands in a rubbery bonding coat, which provided maximum tensile strength and shock resistance because it allowed each strand to shift somewhat. The rubbery bonding coat helps bear the load without breaking one strand prior to another and requires no cross-strands. Bemmels' invention resulted in tape structures five to 10 times stronger than prior tapes without any sacrifice in thickness or flexibility and changed the direction of industrial tape production.

     Bemmels' tapes were used in the packaging industry replacing steel strapping, string and wire. Their high strength and shock resistance adapts them well to heavy jobs such as bundling conduit or pipe and palletizing bulky containers. The tapes also apply easily, prevent shifting, absorb shock, and hinder tampering of cardboard containers. Very high-strength tapes, 500 pounds to 1,000 pounds per inch tensile were developed for heavy-duty packaging where no stretching can be permitted. "Suspension packaging" used in shipping aircraft parts and for meat packaging was another result of Bemmels' work.

     By 1960, Permacel was making 14 different kinds of reinforced tapes, and under Bemmels' patents, licensed the rest of the tape industry in the United States and 26 countries. Bemmels worked on 200 of the other tapes by Permacel, especially the cellophane and electrical tapes. His first patent was granted in 1951 for pressure-sensitive adhesives, followed by 11 more patents over the next 24 years for additional tapes and tape making processes. Bemmels strand-reinforced tapes, at the time of his retirement in 1977, brought in more revenue than any other single invention after Band-Aids in the history of Johnson & Johnson.

     Bemmels was one of the first five scientists to receive the Johnson & Johnson Medal for Research and Development. He retired in 1977.

Carrier Corporation, Syracuse, N.Y. (previously Newark, N.J.)
Media Contact: Eric Johnson, manager, Editorial Services, Carrier Corporation (315) 432-7373;

     Willis Haviland Carrier invented the basics of modern air conditioning when he built his first air treatment device for a printer who needed a method to control changes in humidity. The fluctuations affected the paper's size, causing the color layers in the images to misalign. This first air treatment device was installed in 1902, and the patent for "An Apparatus for Treating Air" was granted in 1906.

     That same year the idea caught the attention of U.S. textile mills. Successful adjustments were made for applications to extreme heat in the mills. The first international sale was to a Japanese silk mill in 1907. The list of clients expanded rapidly as other industries found uses for "conditioned air." Spurred by this success, Carrier and six friends scraped $35,000 together and formed the Carrier Engineering Company in 1915 in Newark, N.J. The company began manufacturing its own products in 1922 when Carrier developed one of the most significant achievements in the industry's history: the centrifugal refrigeration machine. This was the first practical method of air conditioning large spaces.

     This latest invention also was first used in industrial settings to stabilize various processes. Comfort air conditioning as we are familiar with it today made its debut in 1924. Many Americans' first exposure to air conditioning was in movie theaters striving to keep business during summer months. During the late '20s, Carrier developed smaller "unit air conditioners" for small and medium-sized businesses.

     1928 brought the "Weathermaker" that regulated year-round, household air temperature, moisture, circulation and cleaning. But the Great Depression stopped this line for a time. After World War II, the housing industry began to expand into suburbia and with it came air conditioned homes. About 430,000 homes had central air in 1955. Thirty years later, air conditioning was included in 70 percent of all new U.S. homes and nearly 90 percent in the American South.

Cyber Corp., West Orange, N.J.
Media Contact: Haig Kafafian (973) 731-2580

     Haig Kafafian's inventions applied the principles of cybernetics -- the science of control to create some of the first communications devices for the handicapped. His communications systems and their offshoots have allowed many persons with limited mobility to lead confident productive lives, and develop their innate talents.

      Kafafian's inventions, which he manufactured under the CYBERCOM trademark permit persons who are unable to type or use a conventional keyboard, but who can control a single part of their body, to communicate effectively. He developed interfaces suitable for people whose loss of fingers or muscle coordination do not allow the use of multi-key keyboards. Keyboard interfaces were reduces from the standard 104 keys to 14 then to seven, then to two, and finally to one. Injured veterans, quadriplegics, cerebral palsy and thalidomide victims were table to communicate effectively through Kafafian's systems.

     Before focusing on the needs of the physically challenged, Kafafian was involved for twenty years in designing aircraft control and missile guidance systems and served as director of the Guided Missiles Division of the National Company. He is a Fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences, and has served as President of the Academy of Sciences at Philadelphia. Kafafian's commitment to the physically challenged has led him to grant license-free use of his 11 U.S. and foreign patents in this field.

Valcor Engineering Corporation, Springfield, N.J.
Media Contact: Lilyan Kreitchman (561) 477-9853 (widow)

     Morton A. Kreitchman's three patents for various fluid control valves launched his company, Valcor Engineering, from a Newark, N.J. loft in 1951 into an international corporation specializing in fluid control valves for the aerospace, nuclear, biomedical and chemical industries.

     Kreitchman first designed a valve that expanded the then state-of-the-art shear seal or gate valves by connecting a floating solenoid parallel to the valve. A solenoid is an electromechanical device such as a coiled wire. When a current runs through it, the coil acts as a magnet and draws moveable parts to it. Use of a solenoid not only reduced the size, weight and cost of the valve operation but also most importantly permitted the valve's seal to operate repeatedly and consistently without damage, a capability required for a multitude of applications. The invention was patented in 1956.

     Until Kreitchman met the challenge, seal shear valves operating with contaminated fluids, such as found in many aircraft fuel systems, wore out quickly. Aircraft fuel systems are prone to grit contamination because of the large volume and multiple tanks. Grit in the fuel would damage the valve seat and the sealing element would wear out from sliding back and forth over the valve seat. The valves prior to Kreitchman's invention required a small seat opening and a larger valve system in order to control flow and minimize wear, also made them undependable, especially in aircraft fuel systems. When the valves were used in aircraft fuel systems they caused leaks and a fire hazard if the fuel ran onto a hot engine under certain conditions.

     More than 40 years later, over 1 million of Kreitchman's reliable and safe valves are still working on aircraft, fuel control systems and turbine-driven auxiliary power systems throughout the world.

     Kreitchman also helped the beverage dispensing industry to meet sanitary requirements with an inexpensive valve assembly that minimizes crevices and areas where sediment and organic matter collects and is easily cleaned and sterilized. Several thousand of these valves were manufactured through the 1960s.

     His third major contribution, the electromagnetic pump, provides a low-cost, precision pump for dispensing very small quantities of liquid. The pump is used in scientific and medical applications. Kreitchman devised a unique solution by replacing a motor typically used for these applications with a solenoid-operated pump. He also used the principle of a floating "O" ring to control the pumping action, rather than a conventional piston and check valve.

     Kreitchman earned a bachelor's in mechanical engineering from Newark College of Engineering (NJIT) in 1944. Kreitchman worked for RCA in Camden, N.J., and IT&T in Newark before founding Valcor, where he was president until his death in 1987.



Curtiss-Wright Flight Systems, Inc., Fairfield, N.J.
(973) 575-2331 Website:

     William Hickerson's invention, the Power Hawkô Rescue System, is a self-contained, portable extrication kit for use by fire departments and rescue squads. The Power Hawk spreads, cuts and lifts machinery, usually vehicles, during rescue operations resulting from accidents or weather disasters.

     The Power Hawk is the result of defense conversion and technology transfer. A rotary gearbox that comprises the wing flap actuator of a military jet aircraft, the F-16 Fighting Falcon, was adapted for use in the Power Hawk. Hickerson, a 24-year veteran volunteer firefighter, recognized the potential application of the gearbox for tearing and cutting automobiles to free victims from twisted metal.

     The system is operates on 12 volts DC power, which gives it a number of significant advantages as compared to other extrication kits on the market, that are hydraulic systems powered by gas engines. The Power Hawk is driven by an electric motor that drives a gear train to produce extremely high spreading and cutting forces.

     A major advantage is quieter operation, which reduces victim trauma and allows better communication among rescue workers and victims. The system can be carried and operated by one person. The Power Hawk does not require set up time for hoses and is more versatile in terms of application because several hazards, such as exhaust fumes, high pressure, explosive fuel, and environmentally hazardous hydraulic fluid, are eliminated.

     The Power Hawk rescue system is currently used by emergency personnel in over 45 states and 15 countries. Customers include fire, first-aid, police and sheriff departments, rescue squads, and both U.S. and foreign militaries.

     Hickerson is currently Vice-President and General Manager of Curtiss Wright Flight Systems Commercial Technologies Division and currently holds three patents.

Wilmington, N.C. (formerly of Kinnelon, N.J.) (910) 256-2920

     In 1979, Ronald J. Vigneri and a partner opened Rocket Man Inc. to develop, build and race hydrogen powered racing cars. They set a Guinness Record for speed on ice at 248 mph. In 1980, Vigneri started his own company, Venture Enterprises, and transferred the hydrogen peroxide chemical technology, a rarely used gas-chemical technique, for rocket-powered cars to environmental clean up. During this time, he patented his remediation method for hydrocarbon groundwater contamination through the company's CleanOX Division.

     He started a third company, Thermox Corporation, in 1981. During the next four years Vigneri invented, built, marketed and patented an oil well fracturing stimulating system, which also employed hydrogen peroxide technology by essentially mounting a rocket onto an oil well, and developed computerized oil well analysis and field management software. In 1992, Cleanox Environmental Services Inc., Vigneri's fourth company was born. He served as senior vice president for R&D operations. Clients in 14 states used Vigneri's services, applying his patented process for in-situ chemical oxidation to remediate groundwater contamination. The company was sold in April 1998 to ManTech International, where Vigneri now serves as corporate senior technical advisor.

     Prior to starting his own companies, Vigneri worked as a corporate engineer over the course of 10 years at Bendix Corp., North American Philips and Holobeam Inc. At age 24, while at Bendix he received a patent for the laser gyro and electronic tachometer now used in the Boeing 757, 767 and 717 aircraft and in satellite launch systems. He holds six U.S. patents and 18 patents are pending.

     Vigneri earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering (cum laude) from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a master's degree in electrical engineering from Newark College of Engineering (NJIT).


Bell Laboratories/Lucent Technologies of Murray Hill N.J.
Media Contact: Roger Stricker (908) 903 6271

     The "Optical Fiber for Wavelength Division Multiplexing" (WDM) is an optical fiber designed for very high capacity communications systems invented by Robert Tkach, Andrew Chraplyvy, and Kenneth Walker.

     What makes this fiber special is that it is provides a solution to the need for increasing the capacity of multiple light wavelength systems - Wavelength Division Multiplexing. Lucent Technologies incorporates this new technology into their Truewave‘ fiber which allows communication service providers the capability to increase capacity both efficiently and economically, and assures robust operation over long distances. They can add capacity by adding optical channels, multiple wavelengths, at the terminals without having to replace or add more fibers.

     Truewave™ fiber has been accepted as a new standard, ITUG655 joining unshifted fiber and DSF as standard fiber designs. Truewave‘ sets a precedent for future Wavelength Division Multiplexing systems having achieved $500M in revenues within a 3-year period.

     Kenneth L. Walker is presently the technological and managerial leader of optical fiber research and development at Lucent Technologies in Murray Hill, New Jersey, where he has spent his entire professional career. In addition to the patent cited above, Dr. Walker has 29 other issued patents. He has an impressive history of technological leadership in the area of optical fiber design and processing, including work on optical fiber design and specialty fiber devices such as optical amplifiers as witnessed by 17 of the last 30 patents issued to Lucent Technologies in the last 4 years. These patents cover an excess of $500M per year of Lucent Technologies products, and have been licensed to a significant number of external companies.

     Dr. Andrew Chraplyvy adds to his credit 13 additional patents. A leader in the study of high capacity lightwave communications systems, Dr. Chraplyvy is an expert in fiber optics, fiber networks, nonlinear interactions in fibers and lasers. He currently heads the lightwave systems research department at Lucent Technologies Holmdel, NJ plant.

     Robert Tkach has contributed extensively to optical communications systems and network technologies related to optical communications systems and networks including work on WDM, linear and nonlinear propagation in optical fibers, semiconductor lasers and solid state lasers and optics. He is an inventor on six patents with five more pending.


LISA GABLE (1922 - )
East Windsor, N.J.
Media Contact: (609) 443 7474

     Working as an insurance representative in 1989, Ms. Gable used to find that her bra straps would slip from her shoulders as she gave presentations to prospective clients. From this embarrassing experience, Ms. Gable's created "STRAP-MATE" as a practical remedy for slipping bra straps.

     With some research, Gable discovered that she was not alone - approximately 40 million women suffer from sloped shoulders, which cause bra-straps to slip off. Secured by removable clips, the Strap Mate's design keeps bra-straps intact. The design has gone through several transitions, evolving into a single elastic, horizontal hooking device, which spans the shoulder blades parallel to the back closure between the bra straps. STRAP-MATE prevents bra straps from falling, sliding or slipping, and easily attaches, adjusts and repositions to the wearer's comfort zone.

     Ms. Gable has sold more than 200, 000 STRAP-MATEs, many via QVC, where she typically moves 10,000 straps in a 10 minute segment. Gable's distributor, Fashion Forms supplies some of her biggest accounts, which include Lady Grace, Macy's, Nordstrom's, and Sterns. In addition to its domestic success and marketability, the STRAP-MATE has exhibited international appeal, eliciting queries from Germany, Singapore, Australia, South America and Pakistan to name a few.

     Other creations available through Gables' company, "LG Accessories", include Easy Care Laundry Bag, a new type of laundry bag which prevents hosiery from knotting and tangling and Mini STRAP-MATE for camisoles and slips.

     Born Lisa Goldschmidt in Germany, Lisa Gable journeyed to New York with her parents in 1937 in flight of Hitler's regime subsequently settling among friends and family in Newark. Exposed to the challenge of creating a new life for herself at a young age, Gable's spirit and perseverance helped her defy the challenges of learning English as a second language, marrying at the age of 18, rearing two sons, pursuing a career as a cosmetitian for 15 years in Newark and finally starting up her business, LG Accessories.

Maplewood, N.J
Media Contact: (973) 762 - 7304

     William R. Greeley's invention of the Bulb and Plant Auger with its soil clearing whip and triangular tip has made the planting of bulbs and plants much faster, easier and less messy than previously possible.

     The Bulb and Plant Auger, with a 2-3 inch steel diameter that bends around a narrow shaft, inserts directly into an electric, cordless or gas-powered drill to quickly and easily drill holes for planting bulbs and plants. Two of its patented features are key to its usefulness to gardeners. The soil clearing whip, located six inches above the auger base, measures the appropriate depth for bulb planting and clears the excavated dirt away from the hole to prevent it from falling back when the drill is pulled out of the ground. Its triangular tip serves to loosen the soil beneath the hole to promote strong root growth and to cut away roots that might otherwise get caught in the auger.

     Greeley and his friend Harry Heide formed the G & H Manufacturing Company and began to market the auger in 1987. The product quickly gained popularity in several gardening catalogs including Smith and Hawken, Gardener's Supply, Breck's and Kinsman and in retail gardening centers. By the mid-1990's, such well-known chains as Hechingers, HQ Warehouse, Lowes, The Home Depot, Builders Square, and Earl May Seed and Nursery began carrying the product.

     William Greeley is neither an engineer nor a gardener by trade. It was his passion for gardening, especially his love of tulips, that inspired him to create a more efficient way to plant.

     Greeley plants over 5000 bulbs annually and his gardens have been featured on the cover of New Jersey Home and Garden, The Newark Star Ledger Gardening Special Edition and the Asbury Park Press.

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