Skip to main content

Wilbur L. Price Biographical Sketch

Wilbur Leonard Price (1911-1967) was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. His mother died when he was three. His father believed in hard work, and Price's paper route as a child led him to believe that everyone should have such an experience. When he was older, he worked for a construction company and built filling stations. He was employed by a large paint company while attending the University of Louisville. Price was a good student and liked chemistry. He loved research and was happiest when working in the lab. He frequently said, "Human behavior is unpredictable, but you always knew what went into a test tube and could change what came out." Next to being in his lab, he liked baseball.

It was Price who developed a coating that stuck to bobby pins. Previously, the coating popped off when the bobby pin was bent, and the exposed area rusted. He developed the formula while in college. When the news of his discovery was heard, many companies came after him. He accepted a job in Chicago and left Louisville.

His next big accomplishment came years later when he developed a furniture varnish that would not show marks, prints, or burns, and would not crack. The lacquer men said, "It can’t be done." But he was a varnish man and worked at this hopeless assignment year after year, day and night, without positive results. His dream came true when he developed AMROC. The new finish was introduced at the Furniture Mart in Chicago, and Price was the talk of the show; it was the finish everyone had been waiting for. Again Price got top recognition and was in demand, but by this time his health was too poor to make a change. Now his interest was in resins, which were new. He so badly wanted to work with resins and use them in the making of new products, but time ran out.

It was chemistry, and the love of it, that started Price on his way as an Industrial Research Scientist, and made him an outstanding man in the paint business.

(based on information from Mrs. Price)