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Herbert T. Pratt

by Susan J. Ainsworth
April 21, 2014 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 92, ISSUE 16

Herbert T. Pratt, 88, a retired DuPont technical marketing associate and a resident of Newark, Del., died on Jan. 23.

A native of Eden, N.C., Pratt earned a B.S. in chemical engineering from Tri-State College (now Trine University) in Angola, Ind., in 1945.

After working briefly for Fieldcrest Mills in Eden, he joined the textile fibers department of DuPont as a customer service representative in 1952. He rose through the ranks to become a research engineer in 1963, a technical specialist in 1972, and a technical marketing associate in 1980. An authority on the identification and use of textile fibers, he was DuPont’s contact for law enforcement agencies seeking help in the identification and use of textile fibers as legal evidence.

Pratt published more than 200 papers on textiles and the history of chemistry.

He received the 1993 Olney Medal and the 1997 Harold C. Chapin Award, both from the American Association of Textile Chemists & Colorists. He also received three awards from the American Society for Testing & Materials (now ASTM International) for his pioneering work in terminology management.

Pratt was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1947.

After retiring from DuPont in 1985, he enrolled at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vt., receiving a master’s degree in history in 1987.

Pratt founded the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s Bolton Society, an organization for those who shared his passion for collecting antiquarian chemistry books. He was involved in numerous historical organizations in Delaware and was an archivist and member of New Castle Presbyterian Church.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Mary; sons, Warren and Michael; daughter Alison Hetzel; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. His daughter Ann Girvin died in 2012.

Obituary notices of no more than 300 words may be sent to Susan J. Ainsworth at and should include an educational and professional history.



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