Edgar R. Lang, 98, retired chemist

Posted: September 30, 2012

Edgar Reed Lang, 98, a retired physical chemist with Rohm & Haas Co., died Tuesday, Sept. 18, at Normandy Farms Estates in Blue Bell from complications of a recent stroke.

A native of Sioux Falls, S.D., Dr. Lang earned his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the South Dakota School of Mines in 1936. He earned his master's degree and doctorate in physical chemistry at Ohio State University.

He was then recruited to Rohm & Haas in Philadelphia by founder Otto Haas, Dr. Lang's daughter, Karen Lang Black, said. He received a deferment during World War II because of his critical skills and was instrumental in the Bristol production plant's winning an award for excellence.

During his 36-year career with Rohm & Haas, Dr. Lang oversaw the research and development of plastic products, mainly Plexiglas, and was granted at least eight U.S. and a number of international patents.

He was among the first at the company to work with vinyl chloride and to develop polymers from it.

The new material was a financial success for Rohm & Haas, especially during World War II, when it helped protect soldiers on the battlefield.

Plexiglas, clear and shatterproof, was used for shields on gun turrets and as cockpit covers on fighter planes.

Dr. Lang, known to friends as Reed, enjoyed a wide array of hobbies, including mineralogy, jewelry design and crafting, and photography. From age 8 until last year, he made Christmas cards for friends and family.

Dr. Lang was a member of Carmel Presbyterian Church in Glenside for 62 years, serving as a deacon and Bible teacher. He elected to have his body donated to for medical research.

Dr. Lang's wife of 65 years, the former June Baker, died in 2005. In addition to his daughter, he is survived by sons Philip and Gary; grandchildren; great-grandchildren; and a sister, Helen Jorgensen of Sioux Falls.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at Normandy Farms Estates, 9000 Twin Silo Dr., Blue Bell.

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