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Erik Furholmen Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 22 Sep 2011

Biographical History

Erik Furholmen (1896-1963) was a Norwegian-American engineer, teacher and entrepreneur.

Born in Oslo, Norway, Erik Furholmen emigrated in 1905 with the rest of his family to the United States. In school he followed in the footsteps of several others in his family by studying engineering. His formal education included engineering at the University of Minnesota and toolmaking at Dunwoody Institute in Minneapolis.

He began his toolmaking career with H. E. Wilcox Motor Co. in Minneapolis, where he was a machinist, tool designer and tool maker, eventually becoming assistant to the superintendent. In 1920 he went to Chicago to work in the Machine Design Division of Jos. T. Ryerson & Co.

In 1924 he returned to Minneapolis where he became chief draftsman for Minneapolis Honeywell Co., and in 1930 he was assigned to develop their new plastics engineering department. From 1938 to 1944 he was Chief Estimating Engineer for Chicago Molded Products Co. in Chicago, Illinois. During World War II he was also an instructor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he taught evening classes in Elementary Plastics Engineering and Plastics Production and Fabrication.

From 1944 to 1946 Furholmen was Works Manager and Chief Engineer, first with Cincinnati Advertising Products and then with Superior Plastics in Chicago.

Furholmen was a speaker at a number of technical society meetings and authored technical articles regarding plastics engineering that appeared in national trade magazines such as Modern Plastics and Machinery. He contributed a chapter to Herbert Chase's book Handbook on Designing for Quantity Production, two editions of which were published by McGraw Hill (1944 and 1950).

In 1947, Furholmen and Norman Nelson formed a partnership to start their own company, Furnel, in Chicago. The company specialized in product development, tooling and production with the emphasis on plastics. Furnel, Inc. continued after Nelson's departure in 1952, and Furholmen continued his plastics engineering work until his death in 1963.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Erik Furholmen Papers consist of company material, product data, pubilshed material and reports.

Company data contains copies of the Chicago Molded Products Co. (CMPC) company newsletter, Plastics Progress, and some publicity brochures.

Product data consists of patent , publicity and technical data relating to several CMPC products, including Teflon, Rulon, and the MegaColor Meter for precise coloring of plastics.

Published material includes articles by and about Furholmen.

Reports contains one annual report and several company reports to foreign associates and licensees. Some of the reports bear the acronym CAMPCO, which is presumably a variation on CMPC and thus the same company. However, this cannot be stated definitively.

Arrangement of the Collection

Material is arranged alphabetically.


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

Two plastics artifacts donated with the collection have been transferred to the Plastics Artifacts Collection. One autographed book has been transferred to Rare Books for cataloging.

Special Collections Research Center has considerable holdings relating to plastics manufacturing and engineering, including manuscript collections of both individuals and companies as well as published books, serials and monographs. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index under "Plastics" to located other manuscript collections, and to the Classic Catalog to located cataloged published items.

See also the Syracuse Plastics Collection website at, which has digital images of a wide range of plastic artifacts in our holdings.

Subject Headings


Furholmen, Erik.

Corporate Bodies

Chicago Molded Plastics Co.
Dixon Co.


Chemical engineering -- Handbooks, manuals, etc.
Engineers -- United States.
Methyl methacrylate.
Plastics -- Coloring.
Plastics -- Extrusion.
Plastics industry and trade -- United States.
Plastics machinery industry -- United States.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Design patents.
Technical reports.



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Erik Furholmen Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Portions gift of Glenn Beall, 2011.

Portions gift of David Furholmen, 2011.

Table of Contents

Company data

Product data

Published material