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Joseph McDonald Collection of Plastics Patents

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MM
Date: 2006

Biographical History

Joseph McDonald was an American researcher and consultant in the field of plastics. He was employed by Sweetheart Plastics, Inc., a division of Maryland Cup Corporation, in Wilmington, Massachusetts. He later formed Joseph McDonald Associates, Inc. in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Joseph McDonald Collection of Plastics Patents contains copies of patents for plastic food and beverage containers collected by Joseph McDonald from 1951 to 1989, in the course of his work for Sweetheart Plastics, Inc. (originally Maryland Cup) and a selection of technical offprints and reports. Many of these patents are the work of Thomas W. Winstead who head the research division of Sweetheart.

Patents contains copies of patents for plastic food and beverage containers. Notes and letters regarding work and research on products and patents by Sweetheart Plastics are kept with the patents they describe. These patents originate mostly from the United States Patent Office but include one Canadian and one German patent.

Publications contains articles, papers, and reports about plastics and its applications, including electrical insulating, styrene and packaging. It contains two reports written for Sweetheart Plastics relating to extrusion and thermoforming technical data (1966) and two reports written for Winstead Patents, a division of Maryland Corp. (1977 and 1989).

Arrangement of the Collection

Collection found in archives intact in a largely chronological order. Notes and letters were kept with patents as found to preserve original order and context as much as possible.


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


McDonald, Joseph.
Winstead, Thomas W.

Corporate Bodies

Dow Chemical Company.
Maryland Cup Corporation.
Sweetheart Plastics, Inc.
United States. -- Patent Office.


Beverage containers.
Food containers.
Plastic containers.
Plastics -- Extrusion.
Plastics in packaging.
Plastics industry and trade.
Plastics machinery.

Genres and Forms

Notes (documents)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Joseph McDonald Collection of Plastics Patents,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Transfer from National Plastics Center and Museum, 2008.

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