While Ben didn’t listen, Ray Confer did & built Confer Plastics in North Tonawanda NY; along the way inventing:
- the living hinge (used on millions of tool cases), and
- the flexible fuel funnel (found in almost every garage),
- one of the first blow-molded Kayaks and paddleboards,
- the first all-plastic swimming pool ladders, and
- some of the biggest Blow molding machinery on the planet.
A number of companies are telling their story on their websites these days — Confer Plastics is one. A terrific story worth a read:
Click on the link above to get the full story. In short, Ray Confer got a job after the war (WW II) at Norton Laboratories in Lockport, NY where he dabbled in plastics chemistry and product design during what were the formative years of the plastics industry. He dreamed of opening up his own plastics factory where he could develop new plastics applications and turn his ideas into products.
He bought a farm — achieving his first dream — and tilled the farm at night, worked on plastics by day, to save the money to open his own plastics company. He and a business partner rented space behind a small machine shop in North Tonawanda, and set up a company called Air Mold.
He then leveraged his home and farm – towards the purchase of plastics molding equipment. They worked on perfecting blow molding techniques. A few years later he and other associates created another firm, Air Lock Plastics, and by the 1960’s were inventing products like the Living Hinge.
In the early 70’s Ray created Confer Plastics with his son. At Confer he created the Flexible Fuel Funnel. And then came the plastic swimming pool ladders, kayaks, etc.
The company continues to expand at this writing.
Confer make the plastic ladder we’ve put in our backyard pool. It is a very good ladder and it’s nice to know it’s made near Buffalo, NY.