Over 70 years, Stanley I. Mason, Jr. invented dozens of items that Americans use every day, in their clothing, grooming, and dining.
Born in 1921 in Trenton, New Jersey, Mason created his first invention at the age of 7: a clothespin fishing lure that sold to his friends. Through a successful career in school, including a bachelor’s degree from State College in Trenton, and service as a fighter pilot during World War II, Mason never lost his twofold impulse to invent better versions of practical products and to profit from his improvements.
In 1949, Mason had his first major breakthrough: changing his baby boy’s diapers inspired him to invent, and later patent, the world’s first disposable, pin-free diapers that were contoured to fit a baby’s bottom. This humble yet significant innovation was only the beginning of a truly impressive career.
Mason called himself “an inventor of ordinary, everyday products---not high-tech, but common, useful things.” In the last 50 years of his life, his over 100 inventions and 55 patents included the squeezable ketchup bottle, granola bars, heated pizza boxes, heatproof plastic microwave cookware, stringless Band-Aid® packaging, dental floss dispensers, and “instant” splints and casts for broken limbs.
Mason used to take his ideas to the companies who sold the products, but the companies started coming to him. The company Mason founded in Weston, Connecticut in 1973, Simco, Inc., had done successful product development for 40 of the Fortune 500 companies. Simco specialized in food-packaging, cosmetics, and medical devices.
Stanley Mason frequently lectured at high schools on entrepreneurship, and had written Inventing Small Products for Big Profits, Quickly.
Mason died at the age of 84 in 2006. His career was proof that an aspiring inventor needs neither abstract theory nor high technology to become a major success.