RDAbbott was founded in 1948 by Robert David Abbott after he retired from C.P. Hall. Mr. Abbott was a former TLARGI (The Los Angeles Rubber Group, Inc.) Chairman and had a real passion for the local industry. He spent much of his time spearheading an effort by TLARGI to develop a rubber technology major at the University of Southern California (USC). His efforts included gathering equipment donated by the local industry, establishing a lab on the USC campus, and completing the daunting task of developing a course curriculum. Unfortunately, Mr. Abbott died of a heart attack in 1955 before the first student had graduated.
This rubber technology course was taught at the USC School of Engineering until the 1980s when USC decided to move away from rubber. But the course has survived and still exists today as the TLARGI Basic Rubber Technology Course, a condensed 20-week format which is taught at RDAbbott’s facility in Cerritos, CA.
In 1956 RDAbbott was purchased by Mr. Abbott’s right-hand man, Carl Hogland. Carl was intent on commercializing a novel new technology patented by his former schoolmate, Dr. Donald Alstadt, a product which later became known as Chemlok®. In 1958 RDAbbott became LORD Corporation’s first chemical distributor. (After more than 60-years, Chemlok® remains one of our most critical product lines.)
In 1966 Carl found a partner, Johnny Arensmeyer, and they merged in Johnny’s company, Veraco Die. Veraco patented a very innovative moving die system for extruding tire tread. Although RDAbbott sold this company in 2010, Veraco dies are still used today for the rapid prototyping of new tread designs.
Carl retired in 1979 and Johnny subsequently decided to extend ownership to his long-time employees, Bob and Eloise Baatz. They worked extremely well together and were successful in expanding their ancillary product lines.
In 1992 they announced their retirement and sold the company to Jerry Wicker, who was a long-time C.P. Hall man, just like Mr. Abbott. Jerry did wonders for the company with his tremendous knowledge of the industry and his indelible style. He moved the company toward rubber polymers and laid the groundwork for our partnership with Bayer Polymers. In 2001 Jerry sold the company to Keith Thomas who continued Jerry’s initiatives in product line expansion.
Today, RDAbbott is one of the largest suppliers to the North American rubber industry, and rubber remains our primary focus.