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Nathaniel C. Wyeth ( 1911 - 1990 )  Category ( Inventors ) [suggest a correction]

Nathaniel WyethIf you've ever drunk a soda or other carbonated beverage, then you've held the major invention created by Nathaniel C. Wyeth. An American mechanical engineer and inventor, he is best known for created the polyethylene terephthalate beverage container that could withstand the pressure of carbonated liquids. Lighter than glass and virtually unbreakable, the container now is made from recyclable PET plasticc.

Wyeth was born on 24 October 1911 in Pennsylvania near Chadds Ford to artist and illustrator N. C. Wyeth. His siblings included famous painters Andrew Wyeth and Henriette Wyeth Hurd. Although surrounded by artists, Nathaniel displayed an engineering talent throughout his childhood.

Wyeth attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he achieved bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering. He joined DuPont in 1936 as a field engineer, but by 1963 he was the company's first engineering fellow. When he retired in 1976, he was DuPont's first senior engineering fellow. It was at DuPont where Wyeth developed his inventive bottle in 1967; however, Wyeth also is attributed with the development or co-development of twenty-five products.

Wyeth received the 1981 Society of Plastics Engineers international award for outstanding achievement, and was inducted into the Society of the Plastics Industry Hall of Fame in 1986. He was a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Nathaniel, along with wife Caroline Pyle, was the father of musician Howard (Howie) Pyle Wyeth, John, David, N. Convers, Andrew and daughter Caroline who died young. He had one other son, Newell, a three-year-old who died with Nathaniel's father, N.C. Wyeth, in a car that was struck by a train in 1945. Caroline was the niece of Howard Pyle, Nathaniel's father's tutor and a famed illustrator. Nathaniel's musician son, Howie, was Caroline's uncle's namesake.

Nathaniel died on 6 July 1990 in Glen Cove, Maine.

Image: Nathaniel C. Wyeth.

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