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photo of red fire truck with people riding in Brigden Fair parade1946 Fire Truck and the History of Polymer Corporation

Two weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King met with President Roosevelt of the United States and Prime Minister Churchill of Great Britain, in Washington. They discussed the possible loss of their natural rubber supply and how they could get a supply of sufficient synthetic rubber for the war effort.

The Baruch Report of 1942 stated:

“Of all critical and strategic materials, rubber is the one the lack of which presents the greatest threat to the success of the Allied cause. If we fail to secure quickly a large new rubber supply, our war effort and our domestic economy both will collapse; thus the rubber situation gives rise to our most critical problem.”

The Polymer Project was ranked second in importance only to the Manhattan Project.

In February of 1942, Singapore fell to Japan with the loss of approximately 90% of the world’s natural rubber. The Polymer Corporation was formed on February 13, 1942.

Only 14 months after ground was broken, Polymer Corporation was operating and the plant produced its first synthetic polymer in September of 1943. By the middle of 1944, the plant was producing rubber at its design capacity. Polymer supplied more than 40,000 tons of synthetic rubber per year to the war effort.

Canadian Synthetic Rubber Limited operated Polymer until 1951 when Polymer assumed operation December 31, 1951.  Polymer Corporation was sold to the Canadian Development Corporation in 1971.  In 1973, Polymer Corporation Limited was changed to Polysar Limited.

In 1986, Polysar won the Canadian Engineering Achievement Award. It was one of 10 engineering achievements to win the award. The 10 were picked from 110 for outstanding Canadian achievements of the previous 100 years.

Polysar was featured on the back of the ten dollar bill from 1971 to 1988.

In September 1988, Nova Corporation purchased Polysar which sold it to Bayer AG in October 1990. 

Bayer AG. bought Miles Inc. in January 1992 and changed the U.S. and Canada holdings to Miles Inc.  In 1994, Bayer AG reacquired the Bayer trademark for the U.S. and Canada and all of the holdings became Bayer Inc.  Bayer’s rubber division, including Polysar, later became LANXESS.

This fire truck was purchased in 1946 by the Polymer Corporation. It was maintained by volunteer company employees. In 2013, the fire truck was donated to the Moore Museum.