As inventor and entrepeneur, Mario Maccaferri pioneered several markets and technologies often combining plastics and music. He developed a plastic reed to replace cane in wind instruments. He also invented the plastic clothespin as well as the Uniform Melt Extractor, which was the forefunner of today's screw injection preplasticating unit.
As inventor and entrepeneur, Mario Maccaferri pioneered several markets and technologies, often combining plastics and music.
Born in Cento, Italy, Maccaferri was trained as a classical guitarist and in 1926 became a professor at the Conservatory of Music in Sienna. His concert career continued until he sustained a hand injury in 1932. In the meantime, he had developed a second career designing and manufacturing musical intruments. He founded the French American Reed Company in Paris in 1933 and moved the firm to New York City in 1939. Soon after, he developed a plastic reed to replace cane in wind instruments. Among its users were Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw and Jimmy Dorsey.
His next invention was the injection molded clothespin, whose success led him to found Mastro Industries, Inc., a custom molder which, at its height, employed 300 people, operated 28 injection machines, and provided services from engineering and moldmaking to assembly, finishing, and packaging.
The experience led to Maccaferri's invention of the Uniform Melt Extractor, the forerunner to today's screw injection preplasticating unit.
Mastro became the largest manufacturer of injection molded wall tile, producing over 2-million sq.ft. per year; developed the plastic ukelele, shipping over 9-million of them between 1949 and 1958; and went on to develop other plastic musical instruments: guitars, banjos, drums, trumpets, and saxophones.
In the 1960s, Maccaferri was involved in the design of 8-track audio cartridges.
In 1988 he produced the first full-scale, professional-quality plastic violin. It was used in a Carnegie Hall recital in 1990.
Mario Maccaferri is survived by his wife Maria, a son, and two daughters.