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The Heenan Hall of Fame

Al Heenan

(Sidney Allen Heenan)


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Sidney Allen "Al" Heenan, a chemical engineer and inventor with Stimsonite Corporation, developed the raised pavement reflector markers used throughout the world to help guide traffic.

A longtime resident of Park Ridge, he died age 78 on 20 March 1997 in a Greenbrae, California hospital.

In 1994, in recognition of his inventions impact on automobile accidents, He was named Inventor of the Year by the Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago.

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Ronald A. Sandler, the association member who nominated him for the award, wrote: "A principal aspect of his invention was the discovery that ordinary plastic [acrylic], which, though relatively soft, could beused on the roadway even though subject to the conflicting effects of tire wiping and abrasion. The significance to highway users was early recognised by various publications of numerous state highway departments that began to adopt and use the Heenan pavement marker."

The first use was in California in 1963. Because of problems caused by snowplows in Snow Belt states, he developed a more abrasion resistant front surface for the reflectors and a special casing to hold them in place when a snowplow scraped at them. The result was a marker that could be used anywhere.

Mr. Heenan graduated in 1940 from the Armour Institute (now the Illinois Institute of Technology) and worked for Niles-based Stimsonite and its predecessor company for 49 years.

Mr. Heenan was survived by two sons; John and Thomas, two daughters; Susan O'Connell and Barbara Ma and three grandchildren.

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Written by Andy Long, published on the internet 02 July 1997, based on Chicago Tribune 23 March 1997. From: http://www.nku.edu/~longa/public_html/heros/al.html


Nominations for the Heenan Hall of Fame are welcome, and should be sent to Andrew Heenan. While I am happy to make up a page for any Heenan Achiever, I cannot do the research. Please include what details you can, and the web address of any pages with further information.

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