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Edwin F. Bushman Papers

A description of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MCZ
Date: 2007

Biographical History

Edwin F. Bushman (1919-2003) was an American engineer and consultant in the plastics field.

Born in Aurora, Illinois, to George J. and Emma Gengler Bushman, Edwin F. Bushman received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Illinois in 1941. In 1941 and 1942, he did postgraduate study at the California Institute of Technology. He married Louise Kathryn Peterson on January 3, 1946. Mr. Bushman lived and worked primarily in southern California.

Bushman was involved in the plastics industry beginning in the late 1930’s. He designed and co-teamed numerous projects. During his early career, he assisted in the design and development of overhead storage compartments and lighting areas in commercial aircraft and airline food carts. During World War II, he served in the War Department working on military projects. In the early 1960’s, he assisted in the design and development of helmets for the US military and NASA, and worked on the design of fiberglass survival kits for Boeing Airplane Company.

A pioneer in the fields of acrylic and fiberglass products, he obtained eight U.S. patents in plastic products, carbon, colored glass fibers, process and applications. He actively promoted the plastics field and was a speaker at and organizer of numerous professional conferences. He received numerous awards including SPE’s Lundberg Award in 1981 and was named Western Plastics Man of the Year in 1972. In 2005 he was posthumously inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Edwin F. Bushman Papers span the period 1946-1992 and focus primarily on research and documentation for projects conducted over the course of his career. The records consist of correspondence, technical reports, product literature, photographs, hand drawings, technical drawings and blueprints that relate to various projects with which Mr. Bushman was associated.

Bottle holder materials consist of correspondence and drawings relating to various bottle holder models designed by Edwin Bushman. Documents include three illustrative drawings of bottle holders, eight measured drawings, and correspondence relating to the manufacture and sale of the model H6 to the Mountain Valley Water Company.

FLUOR Products Company materials relate to the FLUOR Products Company of Santa Rosa, California, and in particular, to the FLUOR product, "ploy-grid" packing used in cooling towers. The sub-series correspondence includes one report, and two sets of photographs that are attached to the accompanying correspondence and therefore left in place.

Helmet materials relate to the Sierra Engineering Company's development of two types of helmets. The first helmet was developed for the US military for use by armored vehicle crewmembers. Sierra Engineering Company of Sierra Madre, California, manufactured the AVC helmet for the US Army. The second was developed for General Electric Co. and NASA for the Skylab program. Mr. Bushman contributed to these projects as an engineer in Sierra's research and development department. The Sierra Armored Vehicle Crewman's (AVC) Helmet records form the bulk of the correspondence. The records relate to the development, testing and manufacturing of the helmet and associated parts. Much of the correspondence relates to testing and development.

Suitcase materials relate to luggage molded of reinforced plastics developed by Edwin Bushman for the General American Transportation Corp. (GATX) of Chicago, Illinois and Belber Trunk & Bag Co., of Philadelphia. A new firm, Saberly Products Corp., was established to assemble and merchandise the new line of luggage under the Saberly name.

Survival kit materials consist of correspondence, reports, photographs, and technical drawings/blueprints that relate to Mr. Bushman’s work developing a survival kit container for the Boeing Airplane Company of Seattle, Washington while employed as the technical director at General American Transportation Corp. (GATX). The papers consist mainly of sales invoices and testing information for the survival kit. The photographs document testing activities and contain photos with a press release.

Taperflex of America materials relate to Mr. Bushman's work with the company Taperflex of America, a maker of molded water skis in San Fernando, California. The bulk of the series consists of inter-office memos found in the correspondence sub-series. Photographs illustrate the molding process.

Miscellany contains records that relate to professional memberships and social events as well as projects throughout Mr. Bushman's career. The material includes correspondence and reports, newsletters, product literature, photographs, technical drawings and blueprints.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is arranged into seven series by project, as it was received, to preserve the original order and context. The series are arranged chronologically.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has numerous holdings in the areas of plastics and industrial design. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

Subject Headings


Bushman, Edwin F.

Corporate Bodies

Fluor Products Company.
Mountain Valley Water Company.
Saberly Products Corp.
Sierra Engineering Company.
Skylab Program
Society of Plastics Engineers.
Society of the Plastics Industry.
United States. -- Army.


Armored vehicles, Military -- Safety appliances.
Plastics industry and trade -- Technological innovations.
Plastics industry and trade -- United States -- History.

Genres and Forms

Blueprints (reprographic copies)
Technical reports.


Industrial Designers.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Edwin F. Bushman Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Transfer from National Plastics Center and Museum, 6 Nov 2008. Originally, gift of Joan Bushman, 2007.

Table of Contents

Bottle holder

FLUOR Products Company



Survival kit

Taperflex of America