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Irwin Lachman (born 1930) an engineer and a co-inventor of the catalytic converter.


Lachman was born in Brooklynmarker, New Yorkmarker in 1930 and grew up in Jersey Homesteadsmarker, New Jerseymarker.


At Corning Glass Works, Lachman was a member of the team that invented the first inexpensive, mass producible catalytic converter for automobiles operating internal combustion engines. In addition to Irwin Lachman, the team consisted of engineer Rodney Bagley and geologist Ronald Lewis.

Their work was a response to the Clean Air Act and reduced polluting emissions from the combustion process by 95%. Additionally, because the catalyst they used in their invention, platinum, required removing lead from gasoline as an additive, their device offered a secondary benefit to the environment by reducing lead pollution.

Lachman, along with Bagley and Lewis, were inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Famemarker in 2002 and received the 2003 National Medal of Technology at a White House ceremony . The team also won the International Ceramics Prize of 1996 for Industry and Innovation "Advanced Ceramics." Lachman received a B. Eng. from Rutgers Universitymarker in 1952 and a Ph.D. in ceramic engineering from Ohio State Universitymarker in 1955, holds 47 U.S. patents and has authored numerous technical papers.


  1. "Bush to give Senior Scientist Tech Honor," by Martin Espinoza, The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, CA, February 18, 2005
  2. "THE CLASS OF 2002: They invented LASIK surgery, seat belts, and aspirin, among other things" By Jim Quinn, Invention and Technology Magazine, Fall 2002, Vol 18, Issue 2.
  3. "President awards national science and technology medals" from Associated Press in USAToday, March 14, 2005
  4. "Role of Ceramics in a Self-Sustaining Environment, Proceedings of FORUM '96 of the Academy of Ceramics held in Cracow, Poland, June 1996.
  5. Rutgers Focus, May 30, 2007

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