New Jersey Inventors
Hall Of Fame

2001 Award Winners

Hall of Fame

Gerald Ash
New Jersey native Gerald R. Ash, who was born in Paterson and lived for many years in West Long Branch, started working for AT&T Bell Laboratories in 1976 as a member of the technical staff. Since 1998, he has been a district manager of strategic standards at the AT&T Labs, Middletown.

Ash has made unique contributions to the telecommunications industry by inventing three dynamic routing schemes, which were patented from 1982 to 1995. His schemes, based on algorithms which he created with his colleagues, reroute calls to avoid delays due to network congestion during peak times such as holidays or natural disasters.

Dynamic Nonhierarchical Routing (DNHR), the first of his routing schemes, completes calls by accessing the available network bandwidth without the limitation of hierarchical routing rules. The routing changes with the time of day to optimize bandwidth utilization and to maximize completion rate. Reduced costs and better service have resulted.

Real-time Network Routing (RTNR) provides real-time adaptation of network routing to changes in traffic. This ultimately improves network reliability and robustness while minimizing capital investment.

End-to-End Class-of-Service (ECOS) facilitated the introduction of key service protections and premium service quality in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

Ash, who was named a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers in 1993, received his bachelor's degree from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, and his master's and doctoral degrees from California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, all in electrical engineering.

Harold Black (1898 - 1983)
In 1927, the late electrical engineer Harold S. Black (1898-1983) formerly of Summit, was on a ferry heading toward his office in New York City when an idea that would change the course of electronic communications popped into his head. His idea was for a "negative feedback amplifier," whereby distortion is eliminated by feeding back part of the communication signal into the amplifier. At the time of his invention, Black worked at Western Electric's West Street Labs, New York City, the forerunner of Bell Telephone Laboratories.

Black sketched his idea on the only paper available to him then, a copy of The New York Times. He had been researching the solution to distortion in amplified sound for almost four years before this breakthrough. It was probably the most significant patent of some 347 patents granted to him.

Early in his career, Black was assigned the task of reducing amplifier distortion so that a large number of multichannel amplifiers could be hooked up in random to carry telephone calls over longer distances. The job required an amplifier superior to any then existing. Many other researchers before Black were aware of this need. On that fateful morning in 1927, Black realized that by utilizing negative feedback, he could obtain a desired reduction in distortion at the expense of a sacrifice in amplification.

The theory was first used to improve long-distance telephone service, and has recently been applied to fields such as biomechanics, bioengineering, digital computers, artificial limbs for the disabled, automatic controls for wheel chairs, and high fidelity sound reproduction. Many new weapons systems, such as radar-directed bombing and radar-controlled missiles, depend on negative feedback for their success.

Throughout his lifetime, Black was also a literary critic, teacher and lecturer. During World War II, Black was the first to produce pulse modulation and designed pulse code modulation multichannel microwave radio relay systems, which today are widely used for military and domestic uses. 

Black graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA in 1921 and received an honorary doctorate in engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Born in 1898 in Leominster, MA, Black adapted his negative feedback system to aid the blind and deaf from 1966 until his death. 

Black was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Akron, OH, in 1981. He was awarded the Worcester Polytechnic Institute's highest honor, the Robert H. Goddard Award in 1981 for recognition of outstanding professional achievements. He also received 10 medals, 11 fellowships, nine awards and numerous honors. Black wrote Modulation Theory, published in 1953.

Donald L. Campbell,Homer Z. Martin (1910-1993),Eger V. Murphree (1900-1962),Charles W. Tyson (1900-1977)
Four researchers from Standard Oil Development Co. of New Jersey (now Exxon) in Linden, achieved one of the most important chemical engineering breakthroughs of the last century. In 1942, the quartet, affectionately dubbed the "four horsemen" by their colleagues because of their team's effectiveness, developed the fluid catalytic cracking process.

This process, whereby large hydrocarbon molecules are broken into smaller ones at high temperatures, enabled petroleum refiners to transform crude oil into high-octane gasoline. Today, fluid catalytic cracking is used worldwide to produce 500 million gallons of gasoline daily, approximately 50 percent of global demand. Historians say that this invention was instrumental to the Allies' air victories in World War II. They also credit it with ushering in the age of the automobile in the last century and the development of a multitude of other refined petroleum products such as plastics, fabrics and cosmetics.

The four inventors - all of them then residing in New Jersey - included Donald L. Campbell, then of Short Hills, now of Bay Head, the late Homer Z. Martin, Ph.D. (1910-1993) formerly of Elizabeth, the late Eger V. Murphree (1898-1962) and the late Charles W. Tyson (1900-1977) both formerly of Summit.
Donald L. Campbell
Born in Clinton, Iowa, in 1904, Donald L. Campbell, Bay Head, has always been fascinated by inventing and solving problems. Campbell spent 41 years with Exxon, 25 of them with Exxon Research and Engineering Company. In September 1999, Campbell was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Akron, OH. In October 1999, he received the Ronald H. Brown American Innovator Award, presented by the U.S. Commerce Department's Patent and Trademark Office, Washington, D.C. He attended Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Business School, Boston. When he retired in 1969, Campbell had amassed 30 patents for Exxon.

Homer Z. Martin
Martin worked from 1937 until his 1973 retirement as a research chemical engineer at Exxon Research and Engineering Company. His accomplishments include garnering 82 patents. Martin received a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the Armour Institute of Technology, Chicago, in 1931, and master's and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. Upon retiring to Sun City, AZ in 1973, he joined the Sun City Symphony and Musicians clubs, Fine Arts Society, Doctor's Quartet, Sun City Chamber Group, and Men's Golf Association. He was a member of the American Chemical Society and American Institute of Engineers.

Eger V. Murphree
Born in Bayonne in 1898, Murphree moved to Kentucky with his family as a youngster. He received a bachelor's degree in chemistry and mathematics and a master's degree in chemistry from Kentucky University. Upon receiving his degrees, he worked for several years as a high school teacher and football coach, then he attended MIT. In 1924, he worked at Solvay Process Company as a chemical engineer, and in 1930, joined what was then Standard Oil Development Co. of New Jersey. From 1947 to 1962, he served as president of Standard Oil Development Company, renamed Esso Research and Engineering in 1955. In 1956, he was given the job of directing military projects related to the guided-missile program.

He served one year as special assistant to former U.S. Secretary of Defense Charles Wilson. Murphree, who also served as a member of the committee that organized the Manhattan Project, was widely recognized as a leader in the fields of synthetic toulene, butadiene and hydrocarbon synthesis, fluid catalytic cracking, fluid hydroforming, and fluid coking.

Charles W. Tyson
Born in Chicago in 1900, Tyson received his bachelor's and master's degrees in chemical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He served as director of the petroleum development division before his appointment in 1961 as special assistant to the vice president of Exxon Research and Engineering. At his retirement in 1962, he held 50 patents.

Abdul Gaffar
Dentists and researchers say the most significant breakthrough for dental health since the introduction of fluoride in the 1950s was the 1988 discovery of Colgate Total, the nation's first antibacterial toothpaste. Longtime Princeton resident Abdul Gaffar, a researcher and executive since the early 1970s at Colgate-Palmolive Company, Piscataway, invented the four patents which contributed to the product's discovery and success. Gaffar is now vice president for growth technology development for the company.

When Colgate Total was introduced in the United States in 1998, Business Week magazine hailed it as one of the year's best products. It is the first multi-benefit product approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the control of dental infections; 31 dental associations around the world have endorsed it because it's been clinically proven to reduce gingivitis (advanced gum disease) up to 30 percent. Studies show that by using Colgate Total, consumers can not only save their teeth, but up to $875 million in annual dental care costs. Moreover, an additional $400 million is estimated to be saved from the decline in treatment for advanced periodontal disease, which the use of this special toothpaste can prevent.

The active ingredient in Colgate Total is triclosan, an antibacterial agent. Gaffar's invention of a copolymer delivery system for triclosan allows the antibacterial agent to stay on teeth as it acts to destroy bacteria that tries to invade the teeth and gums. Triclosan remains on the teeth for up to 12 hours between brushings, preventing formation of bacterial plaque - the precursor of gingivitis.

Gaffar earned a doctorate in immunochemistry/microbiology from Ohio State University, Columbus, a master's degree in bacteriology/chemistry from Brigham Young University, Utah, and a bachelor's degree in chemistry/bacteriology from the University of Karachi, Pakistan.

Arun Netravali
Westfield resident Arun Netravali, Ph.D., president of Lucent Technologies Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, since 1999, is a leader in the field of digital technology. His 1983 patented invention, "The Video Signal Interpolation Using Motion Estimation," improved high definition television (HDTV) plus benefited the delivery of broadcast television, compact discs, digital video displays, and the Internet. The algorithmic principles he used in his patent provide the basis for coding and decoding various digital video signals.

Prior to Netravali's invention, efforts to code and transmit video in digital format encountered significant obstacles. Earlier coding algorithms obtained substantial compression ratios but created problems like blurring and other undesirable artifacts, especially in rapid motion scenes.

Netravali realized that the required transmission bandwidth for digitally coded, full-motion video could be reduced, without the loss of image quality, by computing estimates of the displacement of objects in the pictures. In particular, he showed that displacement estimates are best-formed recursively, with updates being formed only in moving areas of the picture.

Netravali received his undergraduate degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, India, and his master's and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from Rice University, Houston. He holds an honorary doctorate from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale, Lausanne, Switzerland. The co-author of two technical books and the editor of a collection of technical papers, all about digital video, he has also written and co-authored more than 150 scholarly journal articles. He holds more than 70 patents in computers as well as digital video technology. His awards include a 1994 EMMY for the HDTV Grand Alliance and more recently in 2000, the Frederick Philips Award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.

Glen A. Reitmeier
Former Ewing resident and Trenton native son Glenn A. Reitmeier, a researcher and manager at Sarnoff Corporation, Princeton since 1977, has been an important inventor and a critical advocate for the creation of high definition television (HDTV). His 1992 patent, "An HDTV Compression System," described the key system architecture for a packetized transport layer that makes digital television a flexible delivery system for all types of digital data.

The layer has become a crucial part of the United States standard for digital high definition television and the MPEG-2 standard, established by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). MPEG (pronounced M-peg) is the name of the family of standards used for coding audio-visual information (e.g., movies, video, music) in a digital, compressed format.

Reitmeier has contributed to digital television developments like object coding and wavelet image compression in MPEG-4, advanced MPEG-2, compressed bitstream processing, improved integrated circuits for digital television receivers, and the integration of video in computers. He holds 45 patents in digital television technology, with other patents pending.

Starting in 1989, Reitmeier led the development of the Advanced Digital HDTV system, one of four competing digital HDTV systems vying to become the next standard for television in the U.S. After successful testing of the system, he became a key member of the Digital HDTV Grand Alliance, a group of representatives formed in 1993, with representatives from seven prominent U.S. organizations that had developed competing digital HDTV systems. The Grand Alliance, which received the encouragement of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, created a best-of-the-best of competing systems to create a U.S. standard for HDTV.

Later, Reitmeier took a leading role in the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC), the industry-wide organization which formalized the alliance's work to gain FCC approval in 1996. To date, Canada, Mexico, Korea and Taiwan have also adopted the ATSC standards.

Reitmeier received his bachelor's degree in engineering from Villanova University, Villanova, PA, and his master's degree in systems engineering from the University of Pennsylvania Moore School of Electrical Engineering, Philadelphia. He was an adjunct faculty member in the department of electrical engineering at Villanova University from 1980 to 1989. Since 1995, he has lived in Yardley, PA with his wife Elaine and their two children.

Inventors of the Year

 

Philip Anderson
If you've noticed those omnipresent white plastic security tags hanging from garments in stores, you're looking at a component of an electronic surveillance system invented by Philip Anderson, Ph.D., of Madison. This invention helps prevent theft and shoplifting. Earlier security systems were prone to false alarms and poor detection rates.

In 1987, as president of the former Livingston-based company, Identitech Corporation, then a joint venture of Allied-Signal Inc., Morris Township, (now Honeywell International, Inc., Morris Township) and Sensormatics Electronics Corporation, Deerfield Beach, FL, Anderson developed this technology which uses amorphous metal, another Allied product.

Anderson's electronic article surveillance system consists of two parts: A small strip of amorphous metal attached to an item, and two electro-magnetic sensors positioned near an exit. When someone exits past the sensors with an item still containing the security tag, the metal strip within the tag begins vibrating. The movement, in turn, disturbs the detection system's electromagnetic field and triggers an alarm to warn store personnel of a possible theft.

Hospitals use other versions of this security system to protect babies from possible abduction, and to prevent patients from wandering away from a convalescent or psychiatric facility. More than 164,000 of these systems are installed worldwide. Owners of discount, variety, home improvement, hardware, entertainment, and specialty stores, say Anderson's invention is their top choice for security.

A professor of physics at Ramapo College since 1990, Anderson teaches introductory and advanced physics, electronics and invention courses. He has 20 years of experience with product development and is a consultant to Fortune 500 companies and the U.S. Army. He has 29 U.S. patents and more than 100 patents worldwide covering amorphous metals, sensors, and medical, automotive and security devices.

Anderson received a doctoral degree in physics from Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, a master's degree in electrical engineering and a master's degree in physics, both from Drexel University, and a bachelor's degree in physics from Widener University, Chester, PA.

J. Thomas Jennings
One day as he watched his wife pour laundry detergent into the washing machine without measuring the specified amount, J. Thomas Jennings of Mountainside knew there had to be a better way. Jennings spent many hours over the next three years cutting apart and reconfiguring hundreds of plastic containers trying to design a built-in measuring device.

The result of his experimenting was a self-contained measuring chamber within the container itself. This invention patented as the tip "N" measure dispensing container, is available in a variety of styles and sizes. Jennings has gone on to receive additional U.S. and foreign patents for other measuring and dispensing devices, including a patent for his invention, the exact dose tip "N" measure container. It has a drain back feature that allows excess fluid in the measuring chamber to drain back into the container. A precise amount of fluid is dispensed.

After inventing the device in the early 1980's, Jennings founded Container Manufacturing, Inc., Middlesex, to manufacture his invention. Since then, he has received 11 patents, with three others pending. The company manufactures 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Jennings' new measuring device eliminates spillage, waste and misapplication of any concentrated liquid product. It also minimizes the potential for human contact with such toxic materials as weed killers and paint thinners. This occurs because the package is not opened until the user is ready to dispense the measured amount of product needed. Jennings' invention is used worldwide.

The invention has won many packaging awards, including awards from the National Association of Container Distributors, the Institute of Packaging Professionals, and the World Packaging Organization.

Jennings, a native of Newark, attended what was then Newark College of Engineering (now NJIT) following his U.S. Navy service in World War II.

James D. Johnston
Electrical engineer James D. Johnston, a Morris Township resident, has been called the father of perceptual audio coding for his work in audio sound at AT&T Bell Laboratories since 1976. Today, he is a technology leader at AT&T Labs Research, Florham Park. His work has enabled the distribution of digital music over the Internet as well as digital radio.

Throughout the 1990s, Johnston invented a number of basic techniques which are used in perceptual audio coding and especially in Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) Layer-3 (also referred to as MP3) and MPEG Layer-2 Advanced Audio Coding (AAC). MPEG (pronounced M-peg), is the name of the family of standards used for coding audio-visual information (e.g., movies, video, music) in a digital compressed format. AAC is an audio compression format that is more efficient than MP3.

The major advantage of MPEG files compared to other video and audio coding formats is that MPEG files are much smaller for the same quality of sounds and images because they use sophisticated compression techniques. Johnston is hailed for making files smaller because he found a way to reduce the bit rate needed for transmission or storage of audio by a factor of ten or greater. Seven of Johnston's patents related to this new technology were filed from 1991 to 1997. Lucent Technologies, Murray Hill, now owns them.

MP3 has been the motor of change for the music industry. A large number of new Internet companies use the technology which has emerged from this work as the foundation of the electronic music distribution business. Sales of products directly based on MP3 technology, like AAC players and jukebox systems, are estimated to reach $1 billion this year and at least double that sum next year.

Johnston was born in northeastern Ohio. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, in electrical engineering with side interests in mathematics, radio broadcasting and coherent image signal processing. He is a fellow of the Audio Engineering Society, a senior member of the Institute for Electronic and Electrical Engineers, and has published more than 50 technical papers and has been awarded more than 20 U.S. patents.

Jack H. Winters
Middletown resident Jack H. Winters, Ph.D., a technology leader at AT&T Labs Research, Middletown, since 1981, pioneered the application of adaptive antenna arrays to cellular radio systems. His work predated the deployment of the first cellular radio system in the United States.

Winters' most significant invention was his 1996 patent for wireless systems entitled, "Block Radio and Adaptive Arrays for Wireless Systems." The patent, in addition to earlier work Winters had done, made the application of smart antennas practical and effective. The invention has enabled a single base station receiver with wideband reception to process signals from many terminals or multiple signals from a single terminal. This invention, coupled with Winters' other pioneering work on smart antennas, is critical for the growth of cellular phone use. Analysts expect these inventions to play a crucial role in the future of cellular phone systems by more than doubling their capacity.

Winters received his bachelor's degree from the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, and his master's and doctoral degrees from Ohio State, Columbus, OH, all in electrical engineering. He has written articles in more than 25 journal publications, authored more than 30 conference papers and been granted 10 patents in communications.

Special Award

 

David Brown
Douglas Brown was in his East Brunswick garage bundling papers as part of his newspaper distribution business when he grew frustrated by fruitless attempts to tie them. He thought there had to be a better way and later discussed his ideas with his son David, who was then in his early twenties.

David, who is now 33 and a North Brunswick resident, devised a successful prototype for solving the dilemma. He devised the "String Thing," a small, notched piece of recyclable cardboard with a center hole, slits on the sides and an attached eight-foot-long string.

The person tying up newspapers loops the string around the materials, pushes the string through the center hole and ties the bundle tightly. Next, string is wrapped around the materials the other way. Finally, the string is pulled into the side slots which finish the tying. The entire process should take less than a minute.

In addition to newspapers and magazines, Brown's device can securely tie junk mail, loose branches, and maybe even old skis, boards, and other materials to be discarded.

Brown spent four years planning how to manufacture and market his invention. He and his aunt, Virginia Brown, of South Orange, founded a company, Zel Products Inc., based in East Brunswick, that now sells thousands of the "String Things" annually to counties and municipalities. Regular customers include Hudson County, the cities of Newark and Jersey City and the townships of East Brunswick and Egg Harbor.

Brown has retained Pittsburgh Steelers football player Josh Miller to market the invention. Miller appears in uniform on the packaging with the slogan: "Josh Miller Gets On The Recycling Kick!" The "String Thing" is Brown's first and only patent. Other family members hold six unrelated patents. Also named on the "String Thing" patent are Brown's aunt, Virginia, and his father, Douglas. Brown received a bachelor's degree from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Pomona.

Wellington Titus (1872 - 1941)
In 1907, in a section of Hopewell, once called Marshall's Corner, the late Wellington Stockton Titus (1872-1941) known to friends and family as "Welling," made baseball history. As catcher for the local amateur baseball team, the Hopewell Athletic Club, Titus invented and patented what he called a "base ball back stop." Baseball lovers today better know his invention as the batting cage.

As the story goes, Titus disliked chasing errant pitches and fouled back baseballs. To save time and play more ball, Titus created a portable batting cage. His cage served as the prototype from which the current baseball batting cages have evolved.

The device was an immediate hit and before the patent was approved, Titus had signed an agreement with A.G. Spalding and Brothers Company, to manufacture his portable batting cage. Spalding paid Titus five dollars for each cage sold. The cage was a hit because it was portable, stationary, adaptable in and out of doors, and prevented lost or stolen balls. Prior to Titus' invention, baseball teams hired young boys from the neighborhood as ball chasers.

When Titus wasn't inventing, he made his living moving houses. His unconventional house moving methods were said to amaze experts. It was not unusual for engineering students at nearby Princeton University to watch his productions. To move a house, Titus would often hitch a horse to a beam which, in turn, was connected to a windlass, a contraption used for hoisting or hauling. Six to eight men would then place heavy wood runners under the raised house while six other men soaped the runners to make the building slide. In later years, crank case drainings were added to the soap to make the house slide even more easily.

Although Titus had never received a formal engineering education, Hopewell residents considered him a natural born civil engineer. Titus also designed a baseball bat called the "Black Diamond," knitting needles, and bootjacks, each one of which featured the head of a different creature of nature. A local foundry molded these unique products.

Fred Topinka
During a 40-minute power outage at the construction site beneath the New York University Medical Center in 1991, a light went on for Fred Topinka, Allendale. He wondered how construction workers could find a safe exit to the stairs. The experience prompted him to imagine what might be done to help. In time, he imagined a hanging, glowing lighted lamp cage guard made of plastic that would glow in the dark and lead construction workers in these types of emergencies to safety.

In 1996, he was granted a patent for a plastic lighted lamp cage made of fluorescent and phosphorescent materials. The invention, marketed as a "Safety Cage," can be used with any color incandescent lamp and will continue to glow a yellow-green color for approximately 20 minutes after the lights go out. Moreover, the Safety Cage features a horizontal arrow that remains illuminated to show the way to a nearby exit. A user can rotate the cage, using its movable locking collar, to indicate the closest exit in an area. This is vital in emergency situations, when electricity is out and people need to locate an exit.

Today, on construction sites in public places throughout the U.S., Topinka's cages are used. Topinka co-owns West Port Industries, Inc., Saddle Brook, which manufactures the safety cages, in addition to temporary lighting systems for construction sites. In 1975, Topinka founded Topinka Associates, Inc., Rochelle Park, a company that markets and sells products for 15 electrical manufacturers nationwide.

A Coast Guard Reservist from 1965 to 1971, Topinka, who received an associate's degree in accounting in 1975 from Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, was recognized in the newest Who's Who publication for his invention and entrepreneurship. In 1983, he received a Masters Club award from American Saw and Manufacturing Company, East Long Meadow, MA.