Richard Reifers who, in addition to his pioneering work with egg cartons, invented the button lock used on all paper and Styrofoam cartons today including Pactiv, Hartmann, Dolco, Omni Pak and many others, died February 22. He had patents on egg trays, meat trays, McDonald's beverage carriers, and on manufacturing and drying molded pulp cartons and trays. He is the inventor of the Pillow Post carton for better egg protection and the Super View carton for better egg visibility and refrigeration. He designed denesting ledges for cartons and trays to improve machineability. He also had patents on child-proof closers for Calmar, a plastics division of Diamond. He was awarded additional patents on closers in the past few years.
Reifers retired as group vice president of Diamond International, responsible for all the egg carton operation in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia. He also was responsible for Manchester Machine in Ohio, Calmar in California and Diamond Systems in Michigan.
"Reifers is the single most influential person in the egg packaging industry to develop a carton that would protect the egg, allow maximum refrigeration in less time and operate efficiently on automated graders from 1957 forward, with reliable denesting, dating and carton closing that has been imitated and copied all over the world," said Jim Nield, former president, Diamond International.
Reifers, who was born in Indiana in 1919 and died in New Canaan, Connecticut. He is survived by five children and six grandchildren.