Hussey's company did some research and development for Avonite back then, and he realized that the R&D at Avonite would take them, as fabricators, in new directions. Avonite came up with a two-part fusion adhesive that contained catalyst and resin, which, together with v-grooving technology and together, with other grass-roots techniques, enabled fabricators to make "invisible" seams and build-up edges to any thickness. Thus, the price of sheets came down because they could now be cast in ½ in. instead of ¾ in., further revolutionizing the industry that has grown to what it is today.
-- Joanna Duggan
Dr. Don Slocum, The Father Of Solid Surface
As Seneca eloquently wrote in his Letters to Lusillius: "The deep waters of time will flow over us; only a few people of genius will lift a head above the surface." A man turns toward genius because of his vision; what makes a man a genius is his ability to see the obvious. Dr. Don Slocum is one of those few.
Having graduated Cum Laude from Davis and Elkins in 1951, Dr. Slocum went on to earn a master's degree in physical biochemistry at the University of Vermont and a doctorate in chemistry from Ohio State University. He also holds a doctorate in professional studies from Pace University. As a scientist, corporate executive and entrepreneur, Dr. Slocum has led a fascinating life. Along his remarkable journey he worked as a chemical engineer for the giants of the industry: DuPont, Procter & Gamble, Hoffmann-La Roche Pharmaceuticals, Masonite, International Paper, Curtiss-Wright Aerospace Technology and NL Industries. It was during his association with DuPont that Dr. Slocum invented solid surface material. Given the name Corian, the product was launched when the first sheets were produced by DuPont in 1964. The rest, as they say, is history.
Dr. Slocum has been honored with many awards over the years: The Distinguished Alumnus Award from Davis and Elkins in 2004; New Jersey Inventor of the Year in 1989; and inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame, the Kitchen and Bath Industry Hall of Fame, and the International Solid Surface Fabricators Association Hall of Fame. He is also listed in Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare, and Who's Who in Finance and Industry. And he is still inventing! However, Dr. Slocum doesn't just work, invent and win prestigious awards.
Family and sports are a big part of what makes up the man. An avid softball player, Dr. Slocum has traveled all over the world to play semipro ball and has quite a few stories to tell dating back to when the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn. He enjoys hiking, being out in the beauty of nature, and has traveled extensively.
For more than 40 years, solid surface has continued to grow in popularity at an astonishing rate. Solid surface has developed and grown to maturity, with quite a few major corporations and many minor companies producing thousands of different types of solid surface materials. Each of these manufacturers uses a different combination of chemicals to produce their products; however, the recipe for most solid surface materials relies on two main ingredients: natural mineral filler and a resin binder as originally invented by Dr. Slocum. His idea for a material that would be totally solid all the way through, nonporous, stain-, chemical- and fire-resistant — yet usable, beautiful, and able to be manufactured with standard woodworking tools — became a reality surpassing perhaps even his own vision. But I might be wrong on that; who can say if solid surface has yet reached the full potential of Dr. Slocum's vision? Visions are the stuff of dreams, and dreams are renewable. No matter what our age, there are still untapped possibilities within us, and new beauty waiting to be born.
Marie Diane Gerace, administration and industry relations with the International Solid Surface Fabricators Association (ISSFA); 975 American Pacific Dr., Suite 102, Henderson, NV 89014; 877-GO-ISSFA; www.issfa.org.