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History of the manufacturer  

Boonton Rubber Mfg. Co.; Boonton NJ

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Name: Boonton Rubber Mfg. Co.; Boonton NJ    (USA)  
Abbreviation: boonton-ru
Products: Model types

Boonton Rubber Mfg. Co.
124, 224, 324, 424, 624 Fanny Road
Boonton, NJ (1923-1925)

Boonton Radio Corp.
624, 724 Fanny Road
Boonton, NJ (1923-1925)

Manufacturers of Bakelite products and a few known radio related products. 

Note that the later (1934) Boonton Radio Corp. was established by different founders and specialized in test instrumentation.

Founded: 1891

In 1891, the Loanda Hard Rubber Company was founded by Edwin A. Scribner (1856-1898), and began the manufacture of molded hard rubber products. Seven years later, Mr. Scribner died, and the management of the firm fell to his son-in-law Richard W. Seabury (1883-1970). In 1906, it was Richard W. Seabury, who, casting about for new materials, learned of experiments with synthetic resins made by Dr. Leo Baekeland, for whom the well-known material, Bakelite, was later to be named. Richard W. Seabury, became the world's first molding of organic plastics in 1907. The company was renamed the Boonton Rubber Company in 1907 and later the Boonton Rubber Manufacturing Company in 1911.

The molding of vulcanized asbestos and the development of radio circuits may seem to be entirely disassociated activities, but it was in a tiny molding department of the Loando Hard Rubber Company that Boonton's world-renowned electronic industries first began. By 1950 these companies, Radio Frequency Laboratories (1922), Boonton Radio Corp. (circa 1924-earlier company) [both founded by Seabury & others], Boonton Radio Corp. (1934-later company), Ballantine Laboratories (1932), Measurements Corp. (1940), Aircraft radio Corp. (1927) and Ferris Instrument Corp. (1932) are known wherever precision instruments are used.

For many years, Richard W. Seabury had been engaged in the development of molding processes for bakelite as a licensee under the patents of Dr. Leo H. Baekeland. Mr. Seabury's concern produced a great variety of molded parts including many pieces for electrical equipment.

In 1922, business was thriving and the future looked very bright as an enterprising new industry, radio broadcasting, was sweeping the nation. There were big demands for moldings of coil forms and many of the parts that were used in the early radio sets but it was soon discovered that material which was satisfactory for ordinary electrical use was a poor insulator at radio frequencies. To solve the problem and thus meet the requirements of his customers, Mr. Seabury engaged the help of a competent radio engineer, Dr. Lewis M. Hull, who years later was to become president of Aircraft Radio Corp.


Dr. Hull and his associates, while working on various molding materials, had to devise new electronic devices for test purposes. In doing so, their creative minds brought forth circuits that were innovations to the art and the radio industry deluged them with new technical problems to solve. Thus a tiny molding plant had spawned a highly technical new enterprise, founded by Seabury & others, that in 1922 became known as the Radio Frequency Laboratories, known simply to radio men as RFL.

Other financial backers included Dr. Edward Weston, of instrument fame, Valentine B. Havens and Clinton P. Townsend, noted attorneys. Additional radio engineers were engaged, one of these being Stuart Ballantine (1897-1944) who made some of the most important contributions to radio that the first half century was to witness. 

While working at RFL, it was Stuart’s invention, the Ballantine Variotransformer Model 5, and the Radio Frequency Amplifying Unit Model 5, and later the Portable Receiver “Light Four” that most likely resulted in the founding of the first Boonton Radio Corp. (circa 1924). Ads from that period show that they list the same 624 Fanny Road, Boonton, NJ address as Boonton Rubber Mfg. Both companies sold the RF Amplifying Unit Model 5, but only Boonton Radio Corp. sold the Portable Receiver “Light Four. The logo shown is RFL, which reflects the design of Radio Frequency Laboratories Company and manufactured by the molding department at Boonton Rubber.

Seabury changed the name Boonton Rubber Mfg. to Tech-Art Plastics Co. and moved it to Morristown, NJ in 1933 to avoid confusion with the Boonton Molding Co., founded by his younger brother-in-law George Scribner (1891-1972) in 1920. It's likely that difficult times during the Great Depression also had a factor in this name change, and also likely that the first Boonton Radio Corp. was divested.

Another capable engineer who joined this group was William D. Loughlin (1893-1950) who held the office of president of RFL from 1930-1934.  He left the company and established his own company, the second Boonton Radio Corp. (1934) which specialized in test equipment.

Another related company was the Boonton Molding Company (1920). Taken from "" where you find an interesting timeline with history for plastics:

"After working for five years for his brother-in-law at the Boonton Rubber Manufacturing Company (founded by his father), George Scribner (1891-1972) founded the small Boonton Molding Company down the street from the Boonton, New Jersey, family business. Starting with one press, the new company grew quickly to become a leader in the manufacture of phenolic plastic products, developing new molding techniques and applications. By the 1930s the Princeton- and Columbia-educated Scribner was also expert in the use of urea formaldehyde press molding, and was experimenting with injection molding. By the 1950s Boonton was producing the top-rated (by Consumer Reports) melamine Boontonware, which kept two of the three Boonton molding plants in operation producing hundreds of thousands of the stylish and near-unbreakable dishes."

There is also a book (35 pages): Molded Insulation Boonton Rubber Manufacturing Co., Boonton, New Jersey - Softcover (1914).


-- Boonton New Jersey and its role in the Electronic Precision Instruments Industry, reprinted from The Citizen of Morris County Mid-Century Edition, 30 June 1950, thru the courtesy of Ballantine Laboratories.
-- American Plastic-a Cultural History, 1995, Jeffrey L. Meikle, Rutgers University Press.
-- Corporations of New Jersey List of Certificates to December 31, 1911, Compiled by the Secretary of  State, Trenton N.J., MacCrellish & Quigley, State Printers, 1914, page 84.
-- Index of Trade-Marks Issued from The United States Patent Office, 1933, pages 127, 253, 341.


Some models:
Country Year Name 1st Tube Notes
USA  23/24 Radio frequency amplifying unit model 5   This model "Radio frequency amplifying unit model 5" offers a wave length from 200 to 600 ... 
USA  24 Portable   This "Portable" is from a listing at page 36 of the book "Radio Collector's guide 1921-193... 
USA  23 Ballantine Variotransformer Model 5   The Boonton Ballantine Variotransformer Model 5 was a transformer designed for r... 


Further details for this manufacturer by the members (rmfiorg):

Manufacturer documentationtbn_boonton_rubber_corp_catalog_1914.jpg


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