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Jen S wrote at 2007-06-27 23:51:46
Dear Andy,

Dr. William Chalmers was my grandfather. He invented plexiglass while he was a student at McGill university. He travelled everywhere studyingand was a very knowledgable person. He was born in Scotland in 1905 and moved here to Vancouver, BC with his parents and two brothers when he was very young. He lived in Vancouver BC with his wife and four children. He passed away at the age of 89 in 1994.


Jen S wrote at 2007-12-01 22:37:19
Dr. William Chalmers was my grandfather. He was born in Scotland in 1905 and moved to Vancouver BC at a young age. He had five children and lived in Vancouver for his remaining years. He passed away of cancer in 1994. He was the only inventor of Plexiglass, he invented it when he was studying at McGill University.


Steven Olson wrote at 2008-01-15 04:51:11
This is not true, plexiglas is a product of Rohm and Haas, Otto Rohm invented PMMA in 1901 (before Chalmers was even born!)first production was in 1927 and in 1930 R HIll in england and W.Bauer in Germany prepared the rigid transparent forms.



Reference: Plastics Materials, J.A Brydson, referenced from the patents! So be careful what your grandpa tells you, especially when they claim to have invented something when they are not even on the patent, or were not even born until after the invention.


JShirreff wrote at 2008-07-18 22:19:09
Dr. William Chalmers was the inventor of Plexiglass. He is my grandfather and he was a Canadian citizen who was born in Scotland in 1905. He invented Plexiglass while he was studying at McGill University.

He lived to the age of 89 when he passed away from cancer. He was married for over 50 years and had 5 children.


jen s wrote at 2008-07-18 22:23:45
Actually my grandfather Dr William Chalmers has the patent for plexiglass he invented it in 1931!!...read a book and you would know this!


Jen S wrote at 2008-07-18 22:30:31
If you look up Canadian inventors you will see that im correct my grandpa was a very intelligent scientist and was the original inventor in 1931 but did sell the patent...would you like to see the legal document to believe that last statement. You should really watch what you say when you are so wrongly informed. maybe you should do your own homework...im guessing you are probably American and didn't check the CANADIAN INVENTOR website and see that the information im telling you is correct! Have you ever read the Canadian inventors book???

probably not you'll find Plexiglass and its inventor Dr. William Chalmers!!..




HY wrote at 2008-07-18 22:34:54
** Here you go now all you have to do is scroll down to PLEXIGLASS and ill show you im wright you narrow minded idiot!!



Made In Canada - Canadian Inventors and Inventions

------------------------------------------------------------------



The history of invention in Canada has followed a long and noble path. Canadian inventors have patented more than one million inventions, yet few people can name more than one or two Canadian inventors or any Canadian accomplishments.



"Our innovators have given novelty, variety, and colour to our lives with their great practical gifts, and the world would be an exceedingly boring and grey place without their vitality." - author Roy Mayer from his book Inventing Canada





Canadian Inventions

Only a small percentage of the great inventions invented by Canadian inventors are listed below.







5 Pin Bowling ...a truly Canadian sport invented by T.E. Ryan of Toronto in 1909



Able Walker ...the walker was patented by Norm Rolston in 1986



Access Bar ...patented food bar designed to help burn fat by Dr Larry Wang



Air-Conditioned Railway Coach ...invented by Henry Ruttan in 1858



Abdominizer ...the infomercial exercise darling invented by Dennis Colonello in 1984



AC Radio Tube ..invented by Edward Samuels Rogers in 1925



Acetylene ...Thomas L. Wilson invented the production process in 1892



Acetylene Buoy ...invented by Thomas L. Wilson in 1904



Agrifoam Crop Cold Protector ...co-invented in 1967 by D. Siminovitch & J. W. Butler



Analytical Plotter ...a 3d map making system invented by Uno Vilho Helava in 1957



Andromonon ...a 3 wheeled vehicle invented in 1851 by Thomas Turnbull



Anti-Gravity Suit ...invented by Wilbur Rounding Franks in 1941, a suit for high altitude jet pilots



Automatic Foghorn ...the first steam foghorn was invented by Robert Foulis in 1859



Automatic Machinery Lubricator ...one of the many inventions invented by Elijah McCoy, the "Real McCoy"



Automatic Postal Sorter ...in 1957, Maurice Levy invented a postal sorter that could handle 200,000 letters an hour



Basketball ...invented by James Naismith in 1891



Bone Marrow Compatibility Test ...invented by Barbara Bain in 1960



Bromine ...a process to extract was invented by Herbert Henry Dow in 1890



Calcium Carbide ...in 1892, Thomas Leopold Willson invented a process for Calcium Carbide



Canada Dry Ginger Ale ...invented in 1907 by John A. McLaughlin



Chocolate Nut Bar ...Arthur Ganong made the first nickel bar in 1910



Computerized Braille ...invented by Roland Galarneau in 1972



Creed Telegraph System ..in 1900, Fredrick Creed invented a way to convert Morse Code to text



Compound Steam Engine ...invented by Benjamin Franklin Tibbetts in 1842



CPR Mannequin ...invented by Dianne Croteau in 1989.



Electric Car Heater ...Thomas Ahearn invented the first electric car heater in 1890



Electric Cooking Range ...Thomas Ahearn invented the first in 1882



Electric Light Bulb ...Henry Woodward invented the electric light bulb in 1874 and sold the patent to Thomas Edison



Electron Microscope ...Eli Franklin Burton, Cecil Hall, James Hillier, Albert Prebus co-invented the electron microscope in 1937



Electric Organ ...Morse Robb of Belleville, Ontario, patented the world's first electric organ in 1928



Electric Streetcar ...Invented by John Joseph Wright in 1883



Fathometer ...An early form of sonar invented by Reginald A. Fessenden in 1919



Film Colourization ...invented by Wilson Markle in 1983



Garbage Bag ...(polyethylene) invented by Harry Wasylyk in 1950



Goalie Mask ...invented by Jaques Plante in 1960



Gramophone ...co-invented by Alexander Graham Bell & Emile Berliner in 1889



Green Ink ...currency or greenbacks ink invented by Thomas Sterry Hunt in 1862



Half-tone Engraving ...co-invented by Georges Edouard Desbarats & William Augustus Leggo in 1869



Heart Pacemaker ...invented by Dr. John A. Hopps in 1950



Hydrofoil Boats ...co-invented by Alexander Graham Bell, & Casey Baldwin in 1908



IMax Movie System ...co-invented in 1968 by Grahame Ferguson, Roman Kroitor and Robert Kerr



Instant Mashed Potatoes ...dehydrated potato flakes were invented by Edward A. Asselbergs, in 1962



Insulin Process ...Fredrick Banting, J. J. Macleod, Charles Best and Collip invented the process for insulin in 1922



JAVA ...a programming language invented by James Gosling in 1994



Jetliner ...the first jetliner was designed by James Floyd in 1949



Jolly Jumper ...a baby's delight invented by Olivia Poole in 1959



Kerosene ...invented by Doctor Abraham Gesner in 1846



Lawn Sprinkler ...another invention made by the Real McCoy



Light Bulb Leads ..leads made of nickel & iron alloy were invented by Reginald A. Fessenden in 1892



Marquis Wheat ...invented by Sir Charles E. Saunders in 1908



Mcintosh Apple ...invented by John McIntosh in 1796



Music Synthesizer ...invented by Hugh Le Caine in 1945



Newsprint ...invented by Charles Fenerty in 1838



Odometer ...invented by Samuel McKeen in 1854



Paint Roller ...invented by Norman Breakey of Toronto in 1940



Plexiglas ...(Polymerized Methyl Methacrylate) invented by William Chalmers in 1931



Polypump Liquid Dispenser ...Harold Humphrey made pumpable liquid hand soap possible in 1972



Portable Film Developing System ...invented by Arthur Williams McCurdy in 1890, but he foolishly sold the patent to George Eastman in 1903



Potato Digger ...invented by Alexander Anderson in 1856



Process to Extract Helium from Natural Gas ...invented by Sir John Cunningham McLennan in 1915



Prosthetic Hand ...an electric prosthetic invented by Helmut Lucas in 1971



Quartz Clock ...Warren Marrison developed the first quartz clock



R-Theta Navigation System ...invented by J.E.G. Wright in 1958



Radio-Transmitted Voice ...invented by Reginald A. Fessenden in 1904



Railway Car Brake ...invented by George B. Dorey in 1913



Railway Sleeper Car ...invented by Samuel Sharp in 1857



Robertson Screw ...invented by Peter L. Robertson in 1908



Rotary Blow Molding Machine ...this plastic bottle maker was invented by Gustave Côté in 1966



Rotary Railroad Snowplow ...invented by J.E. Elliott in 1869



Rubber Shoe Heels ...Elijah McCoy patented an important iimprovement to rubber heels in 1879



Safety Paint ...a high reflectivity paint invented by Neil Harpham in 1974



Screw Propeller ...a ship's propeller invented by John Patch in 1833



Silicon Chip Blood Analyzer ...invented by Imants Lauks in 1986



SlickLicker ...made for cleaning oil spills, patented by Richard Sewell in 1970



Snowblower ...invented by Arthur Sicard in 1925



Snowmobile ...invented by Joseph-Armand Bombardier in 1922



Standard Time ...invented by Sir Sanford Fleming in 1878



Stereo-orthography Map Making System ...invented by T.J. Blachut, Stanley Collins in 1965



Superphosphate Fertilizer ...invented by Thomas L. Wilson in 1896



Synthetic Sucrose ...invented by Dr. Raymond Lemieux in 1953



Television ...Reginald A. Fessenden patented a television system in 1927



Television Camera ...invented by F. C. P. Henroteau in 1934



Telephone ..invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876



Telephone Handset ...invented by Cyril Duquet in 1878



Tone-to-Pulse Converter ...invented by Michael Cowpland in 1974



Trivial Pursuit ...invented on December 15, 1979 by Chris Haney and Scott Abbott



Tuck-Away-Handle Beer Carton ...invented by Steve Pasjac in 1957



Undersea Telegraph Cable ...invented by Fredrick Newton Gisborne in 1857



UV-degradable Plastics ...invented by Dr. James Guillet in 1971



Variable Pitch Aircraft Propeller ...invented by Walter Rupert Turnbull in 1922



Walkie-Talkie ...invented by Donald L. Hings in 1942



Wireless Radio ...invented by Reginald A. Fessenden in 1900



Wirephoto ...Edward Samuels Rogers invented the first in 1925



Zipper ...invented by Gideon Sundback in 1913







Canadian Inventors







Are You A Canadian Inventor?

Are you a professional living in Canada?

Do you have an idea you think may be a money maker and you don't know how to proceed?



Use these resources for finding Canadian funding, innovation information, research money, grants, awards, venture capital, Canadian inventor support groups and the Canadian government patent offices.  


HJHATUA wrote at 2008-07-21 21:29:15
For 3 years, I have been investigating the possibility that Dr. Chalmers invented Plexiglas. I actually knew Prof. Whitby, Dr. Chalmers research advisor at McGill. The earliest patent covering poly(methyl methacrylate), German patent DRP 656642(Oct 27, 1928), mentions Walter Bauer of Rohm and Haas as the inventor. It contains the following (translated) claim:

PATENT CLAIM:

Use of polymerization products of homologs of  acrylic acid or of functional derivatives of these homologs or of mixtures of the above-mentioned polymerizates with or without organic additives for the production of plastics.



This patent is dated earlier than anything that can be attributed to Dr. Chalmers.



Dr. Chalmers' Ph.D. dissertation (April 1930) does not mention methyl methacrylate, the monomer used to make Plexiglas and it even says that this compound was not known at the time. Chalmers' 3 patents also do not mention methyl methacrylate or its polymers.



Dr. Chalmers was a good scientist. He published a valuable theoretical paper on the mechanism of polymerization and should be recognized for that. He did recognize during his studies at McGill that methacrylate polymers were potentially valuable as plastics but I do not believe that he ever investigated methyl methacrylate or it's polymers. He should not be regarded as the inventor of Plexiglas.



I would very much like to review any information Jen S or J Shirreff has about contracts Dr. Chalmers had with Rohm and Haas or any other entity regarding the purchase of his patent(s). I have copies of all his patents and they do not cover polymers from methyl methacrylate, only softer polymers that are not good plastics.



If there is any way I could arrange for direct contact with Jen S or J Shirreff, I would appreciate doing so because I need to obtain information about Dr. Chalmers and his interactions with the Canadian Research Council and with the chemical industry.  


Steven Olson wrote at 2008-07-25 03:04:16
Funny, I actually did get this answer from Plastics Materials by Brydson, so the source text was correct. Thank you for helping to answer this completely. If Someone has actual proof, not just conjecture and circular arguments with name calling, then I am happy to admit my answer, and the textbook, is incorrect. (A British text, used all over Europe by PHD chemists). So there we have it, MMA invented by Rohm and Haas in Germany, maybe Chalmers did something with it in Canada, but the original works predate his by many years.



A final note: If you look up patents in Taiwan, Japan and others, you will also find that they have a lot of "copying" patents that copy others that pre-date them, the original patent just did not submit outside their country and the countries in the old days did not have computer searches to check on the work in other countries.



Regards All,

Steven Olson


DEREK BAWN wrote at 2009-09-16 05:55:27
September 15 2009



Dear Sir:



According to Denny Boyd, (Deceased), fromer columnist for the Vancouver Sun, in an article after visiting with Dr. William Chalmers, it at McGill University that he discovered a method of polymerizing methyl methacrylate (MMA). The article/column can be found in the August 26 1987 issue of the Vancouver Sun, Vancouver British Columbia.



The significance of this for me was that my friend Dr. John David Kuntz, invented the first successful replacement inter-vertebral disc made from MMA for human use. in 1979 he successfully replaced two cervical discs in his patient.



By 1983 he had replaced 576 cervical discs in 300 patients with a 98% success rate (documented by the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons).



Thereby hangs a Thirty Year Saga - too long for this writing.



MMA was first used for bone fusion by Dr. Cleveland in 1955 at Wisconsin University.



I personally spoke to Dr.Chalmer's daughter with regards to acquiring the original sample so that Dr. Kuntz could give more credit to Dr. Chalmers based on it very important application, but her 'partner' refused the request.



Derek Bawn


DEREK BAWN wrote at 2009-09-16 06:12:49
September 15 2009



Dear Steve:



According to Denny Boyd, (Deceased), former columnist for the Vancouver Sun, who wrote an article after visiting with Dr. William Chalmers, it was at McGill University that he discovered a method of polymerizing methyl methacrylate (MMA).



The article/column can be found in the August 26 1987 issue of the Vancouver Sun, Vancouver British Columbia.



The significance of this for me, was that my friend Dr. John David Kuntz, invented the first successful replacement inter-vertebral disc made from MMA for human use. In 1979 he successfully replaced two cervical discs in his patient.



By 1983 he had replaced 576 cervical discs in 300 patients with a 98% success rate (documented by the American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons).



Thereby hangs a Thirty Year Saga - too long for this writing.



MMA was first used for bone fusion by Dr. Cleveland in 1955 at Wisconsin University.



I personally spoke to Dr.Chalmer's daughter (after the death of Dr. Chalmers) with regards to acquiring the original sample so that Dr. Kuntz could give more credit to Dr. Chalmers based on its very important application, but her 'partner' refused my request.



Derek Bawn




DEREK BAWN wrote at 2009-09-16 06:23:39
More on Dr Chalmers

Derek Bawn





WILLIAM CHALMERS AND

METHYLMETHACRYLATE



November 2001

Author: Michelle Gault



Every time you slip on a pair of safety glasses, before firing up the

tablesaw or swinging a hammer, you’re shielding your eyes with one

more great Canadian workshop invention. Those shatterproof plastic

lenses are the direct result of the work of Dr. William Chalmers.

While a graduate research student at McGill University in the early

1930s, Chalmers perfected a technique of producing transparent

polymerized methyl methacrylate — or, in lay terms, acrylic. He

discovered that methacrylic ethyl ester and methyacrilic nitrile

could be readily polymerized — that is, joined together at the

molecular level to create a new substance. In this case the new

material was thermoplastic resin characterized by its optical

clarity.  



The idea of methyl methacrylate polymers goes back as far as

1877, but previous production attempts always resulted in a smoky,

opaque material. Chalmers was the first to produce a clear, workable

product.  



He was granted the patent in 1931. He then sold his invention to

Imperial Chemical Industries. In 1996, ICI granted a license to Du

Pont to produce the material commercially.  



Since DuPont acquired the formula, Chalmers’ transparent acrylic

has gone into everything from car taillights to airplane

windshields to blade guards to, yes, safety glasses.  



.  

By Lee Oliver. This excerpt reprinted with permission from Canadian

Home Workshop magazine.  


DEREK BAWNd wrote at 2009-09-16 06:26:17
And yet more - Derek Bawn



Unknown inventor

William Chalmers

Your winter cover story "Can University Research Pay

Off?" triggered a fond memory of my two years as

an editor on the McGill Daily (1975-76). I was writing

some sort of satirical article and I wanted to use the

word "plexiglass."

As an American struggling a bit against culture

shock, however, I was doubtful that Canadian

students would be familiar with a term I assumed to

be American, and so I invented a more self-

explanatory word "plastiglass." Luckily, my editor

(also an American) questioned it and restored the

word "plexiglass." Years later, it was the McGill News

that taught me that plexiglass was invented at McGill

by William Chalmers.

Charlie Clark, BA'76

via e-mail

Ed. note: According to an earlier McGill News article

("Reclaiming a long lost hero," by Hugh Wilson,

Summer'87), William Chalmers was little known even

by those who followed him at McGill's chemistry

department. As a graduate student of Professor

George Whitby and the recipient of a National

Research Council (NRC) scholarship, Chalmers

conducted pioneering research in polymer

chemistry (the joining together of organic

compounds to make new substances). One of

his discoveries was the tough substance known as

Plexiglas (like Kleenex, the trademark name became

a general term.) Though it was little used until

WWII, Chalmers immediately saw the material's

commercial potential and pushed for a patent, which

was negotiated by the NRC.

He went on to work with Nobel Prize-winning

polymer scientist Herman Staudinger in

Germany, then returned home to Canada in the

mid-1930s, setting up a chemical business with

a partner in B.C. McGill, not much interested in

Chalmers's work at the time of his discovery,

eventually established one of the world's finest

polymer chemistry departments. Chalmers was

invited to visit the department in 1987, when,

he said, he was "treated royally."


HJHATUA wrote at 2009-10-19 21:07:52
Mr. Derek Bawn has recently provided additional helpful information on this topic. I wish to now provide a link to my website which summarizes what I have collected about the invention of Plexiglas. Please link to  sites/google.com/site/hjhatua/



HJHATUA  


Annoyed By Immaturity wrote at 2010-04-14 13:17:21
http://inventors.about.com/od/cstartinventions/a/Canadian_2.htm ._. Seriously, everyone just shut up. It says it right there. The end.


Skeptic wrote at 2010-09-03 20:13:49
http://www.rohmhaas.com/history/ourstory/innovation_plexiglastriumphs.htm



My father worked for Rohm and Haas from after WWII to the early 70s and he always said it was a Rohm and Haas product (and he brought home sheets of it for various projects). I hardly think Rohm and Haas would lay claim to it, considering they could be sued in court,  without the legal right actually in their possession.



"Röhm and his team spent three years working on their discovery, which Röhm trademarked as Plexiglas. They investigated its properties and developed a process for mass production. Haas sent his people over to Darmstadt to learn, and he set up his own laboratory in Bristol, Pennsylvania, in 1934. A transatlantic acrylic collaboration began in earnest, and Plexiglas became commercially available in 1936. "



My father worked at the Bristol plant in their research labs and his name is on patents for several substances he synthesized for the company. My mother has the paper copies.



If Chalmers actually did patent plexiglas, or PMMA, where is the patent on file?




HJHatUA wrote at 2010-11-07 17:56:56
Please link to the following site for information that has been collected on this subject.  The link provided previously was incorrect.  

http//sites.google.com/site/hjhatua/  


nick g wrote at 2010-12-23 01:33:24
hahah... gotta love some of the sources being quoted here...



namely "Denny Boyd, former columnist for the Vancouver Sun"



so are we really quoting a journalist for clarity on scientific discovery?  How bout you just quote yourself next time, its equally valid.


Swifti wrote at 2011-02-05 03:06:23
Check this out this source in Dupont's site: http://www2.dupont.com/Heritage/en_US/1931_dupont/1931_indepth.html



Lucite® : 1931In Depth







Unfortunately for DuPont, the Rohm & Haas Chemical Company discovered methyl methacrylate at about the same time and developed it under the name Plexiglas®. A third player, ICI, developed a more efficient production process. Both DuPont and Rohm & Haas licensed the process and began commercial production in 1936. Lucite®, however, never generated substantial earnings for DuPont. Since it was that company’s primary product, Rohm & Haas was able to commit more resources to Plexiglas® and it consistently undercut DuPont in price. While sales of polymethyl methacrylate dwindled, the Lucite® name lived on. During the 1950s, DuPont developed two distinct lines of acrylic resin coatings: Lucite® acrylic automobile finish lacquers, marketed commercially in 1956; and Lucite® acrylic paints, introduced to consumers in 1960. In 1963 DuPont commercialized an exterior, acrylic Lucite® house paint, and 10 years later introduced a Lucite® interior enamel with Teflon® E added. These products never caught hold, however. DuPont sold its consumer paint business in 1983 and its acrylic resin operations 10 years later. Today the Lucite® name is carried on in the DuPont line of commercial acrylic automotive lacquers.  


Sees123 wrote at 2011-02-25 15:31:34
Jen you state that he was ur grandfather but in two different pieces you wrote once that he had 5 children and once that he had 4.. uhh.. can you please get your facts straight and then let me know?



Jen S wrote at 2007-06-27 23:51:46

Dear Andy,

Dr. William Chalmers was my grandfather. He invented plexiglass while he was a student at McGill university. He travelled everywhere studyingand was a very knowledgable person. He was born in Scotland in 1905 and moved here to Vancouver, BC with his parents and two brothers when he was very young. He lived in Vancouver BC with his wife and four children. He passed away at the age of 89 in 1994.





--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jen S wrote at 2007-12-01 22:37:19

Dr. William Chalmers was my grandfather. He was born in Scotland in 1905 and moved to Vancouver BC at a young age. He had five children and lived in Vancouver for his remaining years. He passed away of cancer in 1994. He was the only inventor of Plexiglass, he invented it when he was studying at McGill University.


jjjjacob wrote at 2011-07-22 01:41:06
Actually, it was my grandma! Her name was Bethyl Yuman and she was an inventor from 1903-1942. She had placed a claim for the patent in 1912 and had been denied that claim after the formula had been stolen from her in 1926 by Dr. William Chalmers. After she had been raped several times she gave it away willingly. This turmoil has haunted our family for years now and the fact that this discussion is still going on is very disturbing!


bradshawrd wrote at 2014-10-25 13:41:41
Here is a link from McGill University. According to this Dr. Chalmers received his PhD from McGill in 1930. He apparently did not inventory Plexiglas - instead he developed a method that made its production more efficient that was patented. He sold that patent to ICI (a British company) shortly thereafter. I would imagine his dissertation would provide some information although this may have been completed before the work mentioned below.



http://www.mcgill.ca/about/history/1919-1960



1931: The world welcomes Plexiglas

William Chalmers' contribution to the invention of Plexiglass, 1931

In 1911, German scientist Otto Röhm invented a resilient, flexible and transparent substance. Trouble was, one key ingredient was hard to find: methyl methacrylate. Enter William Chalmers, PhD'30, a McGill graduate student who devised a new method for producing the chemical.  Knowing that Imperial Chemical Industries in Britain was doing similar work, Chalmers sold them his patent. One of the first commercial uses for ICI's Perspex—now known as Plexiglas—was to make see-through machine gun turrets for B-19 bombers. Today, Plexiglas is used in everything from aquariums to contact lenses to motorcycle helmets.


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