Smith. Hinsdale Smith Jr.
December 18, 1997
SMITH. Hinsdale Smith Jr., founder and former CEO of Nikor Products Company, died Saturday (Dec. 6, 1997) in Suffield. He was 96. From its 1930's beginnings in New York City until its sale in the mid-70's in Springfield, MA, Nikor Products had become the world's foremost supplier of stainless steel developing tanks and related specialty products. Born in Springfield, MA, the son of automotive pioneer, Hinsdale Smith Sr., who designed and produced the 1898 Automotor, one of America's earliest cars, and later patented the ''convertible'' caused Hinsdale Jr. to be raised in an engineering environment. Coincidentally, he also came from the same Eastman lineage which founded Eastman Kodak. While sometimes sported by his family humorously, both influences may have played a role in his uncanny ability to design complex equipment which he could do ''almost anything''. It ranged from special paper trimming, microfilm aperture card mounting, and label dispensing to his extensively patented tank and reel design which is still widely emulated by other manufacturers today. The lattermost patent and design played a key role in World War II when, after the bombing runs, aerial battle damage assesment photography needed rapid processing. Because of this need, Nikor Developing Tanks gained both national and international preeminence overnight, while the company was identified as a critical industry by the war department. A 1926 graduate of Dartmouth College where he developed a keen interest in celestial navigation, Mr. Smith became well-known in sailing circles as a former Corinthian and member of the Off- Soundings, Essex, and New York Yacht Clubs. Also, as an avid marksman who consulted frequently with Hartford/Springfield area firearms manufacturers, he helped found the Fox Hollow Gun Club-a favorite gathering spot in Suffield for sporting arms industry executives. Mr. Smith was also known as a popular amateur actor with the Suffield Players and former president of Rotary International in that town. Predeceased by his wife of more than 50 years, the former Marjorie Leighton of Boston, Mr. Smith leaves a niece and nephew, Cynthia N. Travers of Newton Centre, MA and Bruce H. Nichols of Clearwater, FL. A memorial service will be at the Suffield Calvary Episcopal Church Chapel at 2 p.m. Saturday, January 17, 1998. Nicholson & Carmon Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangement