Canadian Packaging

Paper Industry International Hall of Fame adds six new inductees

By Canadian Packaging staff   

General Corrugated Paperboard Packaging Charles Klass Ecosynthetix Gardner Systems Hewlett-Packard Institute of Paper Chemistry Irwin Pearl Juhani Strömberg Kohler Coating Niilo Heikki Hakkarainen Otto Kress Paper Industry International Hall of Fame Raf. Haarla Raflatac Thomas Gardner United Paper Mills UPM

Thomas Gardner, Niilo Heikki Hakkarainen, Charles Klass, Otto Kress, Irwin Pearl and Juhani Strömberg chosen as Paper Hall’s 22nd Induction Class.

Appleton, Wisconsin—The Paper Industry International Hall of Fame’s membership roster will expand to 135 on October 6, 2016 with the induction of six more paper industry notables who have been chosen as the 22nd induction class.

Thomas Gardner, Niilo Heikki Hakkarainen, Charles Klass, Otto Kress, Irwin Pearl and Juhani Strömberg will join 129 previous members of the Paper Hall of Fame during induction ceremonies at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel in Appleton, Wisconsin.

The Paper Industry International Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who, through their inventions, initiative and efforts, have built or improved paper and allied industries worldwide.

Each of the six inductees is being recognized in one or more categories, including Academic, Economics, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Inventor/Innovator, Service and Research & Development.


This year’s inductees are from Finland and the United States.

The 2016 inductees are:

  • Thomas Gardner—Gardner conceived of and developed a new process for drying paper using air. His inventions that resulted from this concept have been applied to a number of different aspects of papermaking and paper processing. Gardner applied his air drying knowledge to improving the dryers on Yankee tissue machines, developing systems for drying heat set inks, and inventing the “Floater” dryer that allowed drying heat set inks on both sides of the web at up to four times previous speeds. He also developed the Pocket Ventilating system, and the Gardner-Blow-Through SteamControl System. In 1967 he founded Gardner Systems where he served as president and chief executive officer until his retirement in 2011. Appleton, Wisconsin USA;
  • Niilo Heikki Hakkarainen (deceased)—Hakkarainen took over as president and chief executive officer of United Paper Mills at a time when it was suffering from severe financial problems and needed an entirely new strategy. He converted a centrally managed company into a group of profit centers that were compelled to compete not only on the market but also with each other. The strategy was a success. When UPM started investing again, it was in the area of TMP based papers (newsprint and both coated and uncoated magazine grade papers) using path breaking new technology. Hakkarainen trusted his young engineers and gave them his full support. Developments during this time included pressure sensitive label laminates, air laid papers, composite materials with paper, polymers and aluminum foil and an aseptic liquid packaging system. At the end of Hakkarainen’s era in 1991 UPM was Finland’s strongest pulp and paper company and also one of the world’s largest. Helsinki, Finland;
  • Charles Klass—Klass has a long history of service to the paper industry from the 1970s. However, beginning in 1986 Klass made his mark on the industry as a consultant to numerous companies involved in coating various paper grades. His contributions led to the commercialization of the metered size press, coating of deinked post-consumer recycled waste papers, the addition of fluorocarbons for grease resistance, the development of Crayola Wonder paper, the development of rod coaters for Kohler Coating, the commercialization of nanoparticle biolatex binders for Ecosynthetix, and the development of Colorlok technology for Hewlett Packard for their inkjet papers. Madeira Beach, Florida USA;
  • Otto Kress (deceased)—When the Institute of Paper Chemistry opened in 1929, not only was Dr. Kress responsible for the academic direction of the organization, but the many hats he’s worn within IPC over nearly nine decades have been critical in establishing the success of the organization from the beginning. His vision, persistence and drive have withstood the test of time. For the first eighteen years of IPC’s existence, Dr. Kress served as the inaugural technical director, setting the tone for cutting-edge graduate programs for the industry, conducting invaluable research and maintaining a complete library on the subject. In addition to this role, over the course of almost 90 years, he has served in every capacity needed or imaginable, from janitor to secretary, lab technician and teacher. With his help, the Institute of Paper Chemistry became the first graduate program in pulp and paper sciences in the U.S., and he was the first practitioner and likely creator of an IPC academic program to produce “scientific generalists” who understood and could apply a wide range of scientific disciplines to paper manufacturing. He navigated the treacherous conditions of the Great Depression and the economic impact of World War II, and was still able to energize and bring the American paper industry to the forefront of the international scene. Appleton, Wisconsin USA;
  • Irwin Pearl (deceased)—Dr. Pearl strengthened the paper industry and many mills with his skills as a researcher in organic and analytical chemistry. He left a vast legacy of knowledge and service. Dr. Pearl was a pioneer in creating more value from wood by finding uses for the lignin and other materials that are normally just burned after being separated from wood fibers. Starting in 1941, he was one of the first in the world to recognize and explore the hidden value of lignin in black liquor. This work not only laid a foundation for the creation of new industries, but it also helped save lives as one of the products he helped extract from lignin was used to treat thousands of people with a deadly infection. Dr. Pearl was a strong believer in the use of waste materials for value-added products, and he saw lignin derivatives as a rich opportunity that could rival petroleum and coal tar as a source of synthetic materials. He showed that with further chemical treatment, the lignin in black liquor from kraft pulping could yield useful lignosulfonates similar to those coming from sulfite pulping. The work he launched was ahead of its time, and today is known as biorefining. Appleton, Wisconsin USA;
  • Juhani Strömberg—Strömberg conceived of and spearheaded water-based label stock laminates, which development revolutionized the global market. Label stock is important for the paper industry because the final product needs both face papers and release papers. In 1969, Strömberg was named product development manager in Raf. Haarla, later Raflatac, a division of UPM (United Paper Mills). He soon realized that water-based label stock laminates would have great opportunities because of qualitative and environmental reasons, although market share was only three percent primarily because of cost as it was manufactured off-line. Strömberg’s vision was to produce them on-line. He also led the development of a superior glassine released paper, and influenced the development of better quality face papers. The developments revolutionized the global market, with market share of 65 percent by the end of the 1980s. Helsinki, Finland.

The 22nd annual ceremony will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 6, 2016 followed by dinner at 6:30 and the ceremony at 8 p.m. Attendees also will have the opportunity to witness the hanging of the commemorative plaques at the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame within the Paper Discovery Center located at 425 W. Water Street, along the Fox River in Appleton, in the historic Atlas Paper Mill.

Reservations and sponsorships for the induction event can be made through the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame office at 920-380-7491.

About Paper Industry Hall of Fame, Inc.
The Paper Industry International Hall of Fame, Inc. is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to celebrate all things paper, the wonder and the legacy.The organization recognizes annually people who have made preeminent contributions to the paper industry worldwide by inducting them into the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame. More information at


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