Marvin Pipkin
Nov.18, 1889 - Jan.7, 1977

Marvin Pipkin is best known as the inventor of the inside-frost process of bulbs for incandescent lamps, which was developed in 1925, as well as the improved process developed in 1947, which consisted of an application of silica to the inside of the bulb. This process was called: "Q-coat."

Marvin Pipkin was born in the Christina area south of Lakeland, Fl. and he was know to have a pronounced Dixie accent. He was the son of David M. and Catherine ( Moore ) Pipkin. His father was a farmer and grove owner and planted the first citrus trees in the Medulla and Christine areas.

Marvin attended schools in Lakeland for his primary education, and secondary education at the Summerlin Institute in Bartow, Fl. After graduuation from high school Pipkin joined a prospecting firm foa a year and then worked, for a short time, at the International Agricultural Corp, later known as the International Mineral and Chemical Corp. of Bartow.

Pipkin recieved a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Alabama Polytechnic Institute ( AP ) in 1913, after working for a year in fertalizer and phosphate laboratories he returned to API and in 1915, earned a master's degree.

Marvin enlisted in the Army on Nov.5, 1917 in Jacksonville, because the Germans has introduced poisonous gas into warfare, there was a need for persons with a chemical background to work on gas masks, he entered as a private in the Gas Defense Department at Nela Park in Cleveland.

One of the first discoveries that came out of the Nela laboratory was due to Pipkin. He found that the activity of charcoal for phosgene ( a highly poisonous liquid ) could be increased significantly  by the introduction of hydrated manganese dioxide into it. Pipkin attained the rank of Master Engineer, senior grade. He remained at Nela after his service ended to work in the Lamp Development Laboratory.

People wanted to reduce the unwanted glare from incandescent lamps and the former process called for a process where they etched the outside of the lamp, this greatly reduced the strength of the bulb. In 1925 Pipkin developed an etch on the inside of the bulb that did not weaken the glass  (U.S. Patent #. 1,687,510 ) . The work in 1947 resulted in an improvement in the coating  that lasted for 30 years.

Marvin Pipkin retired from Nela Park in 1954 and resettled in his home town of Lakeland,Fl.. He had married Katherine Patricia Enright ( d 1957 ) on July 21, 1919 and they had 3 children. Marvin Pipkin passed away at the Lakeland General Hospital in 1977 after a long bout with cancer.

Marvin Pipkin
Mr.Marvin Pipkin, 87,of Beacon Road,Lakeland, died Friday.
He was a native of Lakeland. He was a research scientist for General Electric and a member of Tuscan Lodge F and AM of Bartow Shriners, the American Chemical Society and Knights of Pythias of Mulberry.
 Survivors are:
 Mrs. Richard H.Jones, Mrs. Joseph Reasoner, Mrs. Donald Kahlson.
David, Francis, and Wilbur.
Miss Beulah Pipkin  and Mrs. Baldwin Wylie.
7 grandchildren and
2 great grandchildren
Fitzgerald Cemetery, Lakeland,Polk Co.,Florida
Gentry - Morrison Southside Funeral Home,Lakeland.

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source: The Lakeland Ledger
page created: February 3,2010
updated March 18,2010
by: Peggy McSwain