Elected in 1994
“For contributions to the development of xerographic copying and printing,
including manifold inventions.”
BY DAN A. HAYS
SUBMITTED BY THE NAE HOME SECRETARY
ROBERT W. GUNDLACH, a prodigious inventor of photocopying technology at Xerox Corporation, died on August 18, 2010, in Rochester, New York, at the age of 83.
Robert, or Bob as he was called by his many friends, was born in Ebenezer, New York, a small town near Buffalo, on September 7, 1926. His father, Emanuel, was a chemist who invented the hair-dressing Wildroot Cream-Oil. His grandfather was a minister in the German Reformed Church, but Emanuel and his family became members of a pacifist organization called the Fellowship of Reconciliation. Bob attended the University of Buffalo but was drafted after the end of his freshman year. After a year in conscientious objector camps, he returned to the University of Buffalo and switched his initial major from chemistry to physics. He obtained a B.S. degree in 1949 and continued graduate work in physics toward an M.S. degree.
In seeking a job, Bob was interested in companies that did not do war work. He found a job at Durez Plastics and Chemicals in the physical testing laboratory. In 1952 he learned from a University of Buffalo classmate that the Haloid Company, a small photographic firm in Rochester, New York, was hiring for work on a new dry electrophotographic process for copying