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Armand G. Winfield Papers

A description of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: DGI/MM
Date: 2006

Biographical History

Armand G. Winfield (1919-2009) was an American inventor, researcher, and educator in the field of plastics.

Armand G. Winfield was born December 28, 1919. He graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in 1941. During his junior and senior years, Winfield was named an assistant in the Geology Department and Assistant Curator of the school's museum. He attended field sessions in anthropology at the University of New Mexico in the summers of 1939 and 1940. While in the army, he created fake wounds for training soldiers. After he was discharged, he returned to museum work.

In 1945, Winfield founded Winfield Fine Art in Jewelry in New York City, with his brother. He invented the first mass-production method of embedding objects in clear acrylics creating one-of-kind original wearable works of art. Winfield would embed the art, shape it and then convert it into the actual piece of jewelry. Some of this jewelry has ended up in galleries and collections, including the archives of The Smithsonian Institute's Museum of American History in Washington, DC (1988), and the National Design Museum; the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York City (1994); the Royal Science Museum, and the National Historic Plastics Museum, both in London; and in the Center for Southwest Research in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the National Plastics Center in Leominster, Massachusetts.

Winfield attended graduate school at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, 1948-1950, and went on to hold a succession jobs in the plastics industry. From 1957 until 1963, he worked as Plastics Consulting Engineer at DeBell & Richardson Inc., in Hazardville, Connecticut. During his years at DeBell, he taught as a plastics engineer in Yale's School of Art in New Haven in 1960-1961.

In 1964, Winfield started his own company, consulting in plastics research and development until 1994. During this time he became involved in designing and directing the construction of 13 separate installations for the New York World's Fair. These projects included the American Express Outdoor Map of the World, the General Electric VIP pavilion, a portion of the Singer Sewing Machine Exhibit and a number of sets for Leon Leonidoff's WonderWorld Productions.

He began teaching at the Pratt Institute in New York in 1964 and became a consultant and instructor at the Institute's School of Industrial Design in Brooklyn, New York. That led to his appointment as a Visiting Critic in Architecture for plastics at the College of the City of New York (CCNY) a few years later.

Winfield took an interest in the use of plastics in building and construction and in 1968 he was awarded a grant by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and assigned to survey the use of plastic materials for housing in developing countries. Following his survey, in 1971 Winfield was invited to present an updated study for UNIDO on the "Uses of Plastics in the Building Industry" in Vienna, Austria.

In May of 1971, Winfield and his wife Barbara, who was also his business partner, were invited to Sydney, Australia where he gave a lecture on "Plastics in Building" and on "The Use of Plastics as Low Cost Housing Potentials" at the Second Australian Symposium on Reinforced Plastics and Composites.

His work on the use of plastics in housing led him to work on creating soft surfaces for the elderly and infirm in housing. In 1971, he was issued a patent on his work. He authored "The World's First Soft Bathroom" and "Impact Absorbing Laminate and Articles Fabricated There From." C.A.R.E. Inc. retained Armand's firm in 1972 to design, develop and produce a low-cost prototype house for Bangladesh, India, primarily using jute as the building material along with polyester binders.

Winfield obtained a U.S. Patent No. 3,819,466, "Reinforced and Insulating Building Panel" and assigned it to the C.A.R.E. organization. The house became known internationally as the C.A.R.E./Bangladesh/Winfield house and stood on Long Island weathering for 18 years.

Relative to his work in housing, Winfield made his way to Santa Fe in 1979 and to the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico. In 1984, Winfield and his wife hosted five students form the Armand Hammer United World College of the American West, Montezuma, New Mexico. Then, in 1993, Winfield was appointed Director, and became the founder of the University of New Mexico's New Training and Research Institute for Plastics (TRIP). He served as Director of the Institute until April, 2004, when health problems forced his retirement.

He is the author of nearly 350 published articles, chapters and books on plastics and related subjects. He lectured all over the world and worked tirelessly to educate young people. In 1983, he was elected to the Plastics Pioneers Association in recognition of the service.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Armand G. Winfield Papers contains the professional papers and some personal papers of Armand G. Winfield. It focuses on the client files of Winfield's consulting company which he formed in 1964 with his wife, Barbara.

Client folders contains all of Winfield's numbered client files.

Miscellaneous client folders includes business dealings with clients not numbered.

Papers contains "100 Years Young," by Winfield, professional and personal communications and finances, printed material, newspaper and magazine clippings, and two VHS tapes.

Arrangement of the Collection

Collection is divided into the series listed above and alphabetized.


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. See also the Armand G. Winfield Collection, Cooper-Hewitt Museum and the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Design, New York; and the Armand G. Winfield Papers at the Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico.

Subject Headings


Winfield, Armand G.

Corporate Bodies

Pratt Institute. School of Art and Design.
Bristol-Myers Co. Ltd.
College of Santa Fe.
Foster Grant (Firm)
Hallmark Cards, Inc.
Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.)
Santa Fe Chamber of Commerce (Santa Fe, N.M.)
Society of Plastics Engineers.
United Nations Industrial Development Organization.


Plastics -- Research.
Plastics as art material.
Plastics in building.
Plastics industry and trade.


Santa Fe (N.M.).

Genres and Forms

Research notes.
Catalogs (documents)
Technical drawings.
Technical reports.
Video recordings (physical artifacts)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Armand G. Winfield Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Transfer from National Plastics Center and Museum, 11/06/2008.

Originally, gift of Armand G. Winfield in memory of Barbara LaBarge Winfield, 2004

Table of Contents

Client files, with project number

Client files, no project number

Subject files