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Eugene F. Phillips Papers

A description of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 14 Jan 2021

Biographical History

Eugene F. Phillips (1930-2018) was an American industrial designer and engineer.

Born on September 7, 1930, in Derby, CT Phillips graduated from Crosby High School in Waterbury, CT in 1948. He served his country aboard the USS Gherardi (DMS-30) from 1951-1955, as a welder and then a First Class Petty Officer. He graduated from the University of Connecticut in Storrs, with a BS in Mechanical Engineering (1961) and an MBA (1966).

In 1961, he joined Plax Corporation in Hartford, Connecticut as a Development Engineer; Plax was subsequently acquired by Monsanto Corporation in 1963. Mr. Phillips worked out of Monsanto's Research and Development (R&D) packaging facility in Bloomfield, Connecticut, and regularly interacted with other Connecticut locations including Deep River, Stonington and South Windsor. There he worked on films, foam boards, AstroTurf, and rain flap products. He also worked side by side with notable and talented colleagues like Michael Gigliotti (Gloucester, MA) and Puru Agrawal (Akron, OH).

Most notably, he played a key role in developing blow molding technologies for bottles as part of the LOPAC (Low Oxygen PACkaging) project for carbonate bottles made from acrylonitrile, specifically polyacrylonitrile styrene. The bottling polymer was more pliable and safer than glass, and it was both recyclable and refillable. As a result he worked with a number of major beverage companies such as Anheuser-Busch, Coors, Dr. Pepper, PepsiCo. and Coca-Cola. Monsanto officially rolled out its Cycle-Safe campaign in 1975. Coca-Cola began advertising the bottle as the "Easy Goer" and "Lift it - You'll Love it" because the containers were much lighter than current glass.

During the development of Cycle Safe plastic bottling technology an issue was noticed with the screw top cap. During the unscrewing action the cap could rapidly spin free causing the carbonated beverage to spray its pressurized contents. Recognizing the issue his team of engineers were instrumental in developing in a mold with straight slots features to relieve pressure within the bottle by allowing the gas to escape the perpendicular grooves in the threads thereby giving a type of audile indication that the beverage was under pressure. Phillips is listed on patent 3,722,725, "Package for Pressurizes Fluent Materials," dated March 27, 1973.

As Director of International Licensing for Monsanto, Mr. Phillips traveled the world working with multi-national corporations like Metal Box and Yoshino Corporation. After retiring from Monsanto in 1988 he established a private consulting company, Phillips International, which specialized in packaging of consumer products with clients in several countries.

Phillips married Elizabeth Huber on December 4, 1954. He and his wife had four children: Beth Ann, Lugene, Donna, and Paul.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Eugene F. Phillips Papers is made up of artifacts, correspondence, invention records, legal material, memorabilia, photographs, printed material, subject files, and video/audio recordings. The entire collection relates to plastic bottle design and development by Plax and Monsanto.

Artifacts consist of items manufactured by Plax/Monsanto, primarily plastic bottles and containers. Of particular interest are the numerous Coca Cola and beverage bottles in various colors, shapes, and sizes, as well as novelty toiletry bottles in various shapes (e.g., robot, bear, Batmobile). There are also some items relating to the manufacturing process such as cylindrical preforms, pellets of plastic material, sample bottles, bottles printed with promotional information, and so on.

Correspondence consists of inter-company memos between supervisors and employees, and business-related letters between coworkers, contractors, patrons, and other companies and individuals. Much of the correspondence is about the federal regulations issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) impacting Plax and Monsanto plastic bottle development between 1950 and 1988.

Invention records consists of Plax and Monsanto work files tracking the progress of their plastic developments and inventions. There are original and working set copies for every invention made by Plax/Monsanto from 1937-1960. The invention records are in the original order by the ID number assigned by Plax; it is unclear what the difference is between "P." and "S." invention records.

Legal material consists of agreements, patents, and a court case. The agreements relate to legally-binding business deals, obligations, and contracts between Monsanto and other companies, dating from between 1970-1988. The bulk of the legal material consists of patents -- originals, bound copies, and photocopies -- for Plax and Monsanto inventions. The court case was between Plax Corporation, plaintiff, vs. Precision Extruders, Inc., et al, defendants, in which Plax was alleging infringement of two of its patents.

Memorabilia consists of a variety of items pertaining to Eugene F. Philipp, Plax/Monsanto, and Plax/Monsanto employees. The bulk of the series is made up of work books created by Plax/Monsanto engineers James Bailey, R. W. Caulfield, Ira H. Gutman, and Raymond Jesianowski between 1937 and 1965. These contain notes regarding the progress of various projects, developments, and inventions. Memorabilia also contains articles by Eugene F. Phillips, a few awards he recieved, some Coca-Cola and Monsanto items such as bags, posters, and some humorous items such as a multi-panel cartoon portraying the founding of Plax Corp. and a parody bottle label.

Photographs are in the form of prints, slides, and transparencies. They cover Plax and Monsanto sites, buildings, manufacturing lines, plastic products and inventions, mechanical equipment, and employees. There are a few personal photographs

Printed material consists of articles on technical aspects of plastics production, Monsanto publicity or promotional material, newspaper clippings about Plax/Monsanto (most concern how FDA regulations would impact the plastics industry), Plax publicity or promotional material, and some miscellaneous items.

Subject files cover a range of topics relating to Plax, Monsanto, and plastics development and production. Among other things, these include blownware, conferences, Cycle Safe technical information, licensing agreement lists, press releases from Monsanto (again, most regarding FDA regulations), and items relating to Plax history including photographs and timelines.

Video and audio recordings include talks by various individuals at a symposium, as well as presentations on products (e.g. the Easy Goer bottle), processes (e.g., Blowing M/C), and production methods (e.g., "Unimate Robot for Arc Welding"). Formats vary and include VHS, 1" videotape, 1/2" videotape, U-matic, audiocassette, and 16mm films.

Arrangement of the Collection

Artifacts were roughly categorized by size and similar-sized items arranged in each box. They have been assigned ID numbers, but are not described at the individual item level. All other series are in alphabetical order by name or topic.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advance 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

All recordings have been digitized.

Special Collections Research Center has extensive holdings related to plastics and industrial design, in both manuscript and print collections. Please search our collections to find related manuscript material, and refer to the Classic Catalog to locate cataloged items.

Subject Headings


Bailey, James (inventor)
Caufield, R.W.
Gutman, Ira H.
Jesionowski, Raymond.
Phillips, Eugene F.

Corporate Bodies

Coca-Cola Company.
Monsanto Company.
Plax Corporation.


Beverage containers -- Design and construction.
Beverage containers -- Specimens.
Blow molding.
Heat resistant plastics.
Injection molding of plastics.
Manufacturing processes.
Patent infringement.
Patent suits.
Plastic bottles -- Design and construction.
Plastic bottles -- Specimens.
Plastics -- History.
Plastics -- Molding.
Plastics industry and trade -- Patents.
Plastics industry and trade -- United States.
Plastics machinery.
Plastics plants.
Reinforced plastics.
Rotational molding of plastics.
Thermosetting plastics.


Bloomfield (Conn.)
Stonington (Conn.)

Genres and Forms

16mm (photographic film size)
Clippings (information artifacts)
Legal documents.
Logs (records)
Negatives (photographs).
Research notes.
Slides (photographs)
Sound recordings.
Technical reports.
Video recordings (physical artifacts)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Eugene F. Phillips Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Beth Ann, Lugene, Donna, and Paul Phillips, 2020.

Table of Contents



Invention records

Legal material



Printed material

Subject files

Video and audio recordings


Note on alternate formats:

All recordings have been digitized.