ILC Milestones - ILC Dover

ILC Milestones

1947 International Latex Corporation divided into four separate divisions. One was an outgrowth of the specialty group named the Metals Division located at Pear and Mary Streets in Dover, Delaware. The Metals Division made display racks for Playtex products such as girdles, swim caps, baby pants as well as life vests, life rafts, and anti-exposure clothing. The other three divisions became Playtex (rubber and fabric goods), Chemical Division (known as Reichhold Chemical Co.) and the Pharmaceutical Division (which made items such as throat lozenges).

1952 The Metals Division was awarded a contract to supply the Navy and Air Force with high altitude pressure helmets. The work force at this time was about 30 people.

1954 Stanley Warner Corporation purchased the controlling interest in the International Latex Corporation.

1955 The Metals Division changed its name to the Special Products Division.

1956 The high altitude pressure helmet contract expanded to include high altitude pressure suits. The fact that the Special Products Division was involved in rubber compounding and dipping methods helped resolve the problems of flexible joints in these suits (elbows, knees, and waists). Work continued on life rafts for the Army and prototype helmets for the space program.

1958 The Special Products Division became known as the Industrial Products Division.

1960 Production was busy with softgoods assembly work, which included ammunition pouches, harness straps, and first aid pouches. A facility in Frederica was used as a warehouse to support this production.

1962 The Industrial Products Division began work on the Apollo Space Suit as a subcontractor to Hamilton Standard. The work force at this time numbered 50.

1964 The Industrial Products Division was re-named the Government and Industrial Division.

1965 The Government and Industrial Division was awarded a prime contract on the Apollo Lunar Space Suit. The work force increased to 200.

1966/1967 The International Latex Corporation formally split into three separate entities: IPC (Playtex), Standard Brands (Reichhold), and ILC Industries (formally the Government and Industrial Division).

1966 In November, ILC Industries, Inc. was incorporated in the State of Delaware as a wholly owned subsidiary of Stanley Warner Corporation.

1967 On December 22, the Stanley Warner Corporation merged into the Glen Alden Corporation. The company developed at its own expense, a barrier bag used to protect consumable-combustible cartridge cases for munitions. ILC eventually sold 475,000 barrier bags to the US Army. Under an Air Force contract, ILC started production of 384 double-wall air supported structures in the Frederica facility. As a spin-off of the double-wall structures, ILC started designing, fabricating and installing single-wall air-supported structures used as warehouses, field houses, and tennis court and swimming pool enclosures. Drawing on experience gained on high altitude helmet manufacturing in the early 50's, ILC Industries, Inc. produced a line of riot helmets and face-shields that were used by police and fire departments in larger cities during the late 1960s. At this time ILC Industries Inc. was manufacturing motorcycle helmets along with the Vari-Shield face shield, which was popular with motorcyclists and snow-mobilers.

1968 Our combined work force in Dover and Frederica numbered 755. At this time, 90% of the company's revenues came from the space suit program. We began production of 1,000 inflatable boats for the US Army.

1969 In January, ILC went public and sold 225,000 shares of common stock to the public at $7.25 a share. Glen Alden retained 70% ownership of the company. (All outstanding public shares were purchased by Rapid American, when they acquired Glen Alden.) The proceeds of the sale were used to purchase Bio Medical Electronics Inc., a producer of patient monitoring equipment that went out of business in 1972. July 20, 1969, will be remembered by many ILC employees as a highlight of their lifetimes. Neil Armstrong, attired in an ILC Industries Inc. designed and manufactured Apollo space suit took man's first step on the moon. An interesting fact of that mission and other lunar missions was that the space suit was the only item to be used on the lunar surface and brought back to earth, unlike their other flight equipment. Our space suits were used on the remainder of the Apollo flights and in Skylab and the Apollo Soyuz Test Project.

1970 The work force grew to 900. ILC Industries Inc. won a contract to rebuild portions of the Family IID 200,000 cubic foot balloons in conjunction with the Air Force. This lead to the design and manufacture of a variety of Aerostats for use in the United States' drug interdiction efforts. ILC Industries, Inc. purchased Steinthal & Company Inc., an established manufacturer of military parachutes in Roxboro, NC. The company eventually was sold in 1976.

1971 ILC Industries Inc. expanded with the purchase of the Data Device Corporation, located in Bohemia, NY and engaged in the research and development, manufacture, and sale of advanced electronic components. The Dover operation became known as ILC Dover, a Division of ILC
Industries, Inc. ILC Dover manufactured and marketed a line of goggles, called ILC GOGGS, used by skiers.

1973 ILC Dover designed and manufactured a liquid cooling vest that was a spin-off of the cooling garment used by the astronauts. The Cool Vest™ became an industry standard.

1974 The Skylab program ended, and ILC Dover experienced a major reduction in the work force. Over a 2-year period, the work force in Delaware fell to 25.
ILC delivered its first aerostat (200,000 cu. ft.) to the USAF for use at Cudjoe Key Air Force Station. Manufacturing moved from Dover to the Frederica facility, followed by engineering and technical support (tech writing, drafting, test lab, etc.).

1975 ILC Dover closed the Pear Street facility and consolidated its entire operation in Frederica. Total operations were conducted in a 45,000-square foot building and two inflatable structures. Under a NASA contract, ILC continued space suit development activities such as Lightweight Intra-vehicular Suit, an Improved Thermal Micrometeoroid Garment, an Emergency Intravehicular Suit and an Orbital Extravehicular Suit. ILC Dover won a contract with the Defense Personnel support Center to manufacture goggles for military use. These goggles had multiple lenses to protect against sun, wind, and dust. ILC made about 100,000 pairs of goggles a year for several years.

1976 ILC Dover won a contract to develop the DPE, a highly reliable, mobile, disposable ensemble for use in lethal chemical environments for the Army's Chemical Systems Laboratory in Aberdeen, MD. This contract lead to our development of the Chemturion suit line (introduced in 1979).

1977 ILC Dover was awarded the contract to develop, certify, and manufacture the Shuttle Space Suit. ILC subcontracted to Hamilton Standard. We grew to 100 employees. ILC Dover developed a protective garment for use by the Environmental Protective Agency inspectors in hazardous environments; such as, rail, truck and industrial chemical spills. Rapid American Corporation purchased ILC Industries, Inc. from the Glen Alden Corporation.

1978 ILC Dover further expanded after being awarded a NASA contract to provide Crew equipment and stowage provisions for the Space Shuttle. ILC Dover opened a new facility near Houston's Johnson Space Center, and started a division named ILC Space Systems.

1979 The Chemturion suit line was introduced for use by the EPA, NIOSH, the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, and many industrial companies such as DuPont, Dow, Georgia Pacific and Eli Lilly.

1980 ILC Dover was awarded a contract to design and fabricate the Cyclocrane, a hybrid aerostat with wings. Each wing had its own engine and propeller for lift and directional capability. The Cyclocrane was test flown in Oregon in 1983.

1981 ILC Dover was awarded a contract to develop collapsible fuel and water tanks for the Army. Over a 9-year period, 3,000 through 210,000 gallon (5,000 barrel) tanks were manufactured on an around-the-clock work schedule, resulting in the production of 5,280 tanks. The Frederica facility was purchased, which consisted of Building #1 plus 35 acres of land. At peak employment times, company population rose to 418. ILC Dover was awarded a contract through NASA and the Air Force to design and manufacture the Propellant Handlers Ensemble (PHE). These suits were used to protect the handlers of liquid rocket fuel. Five hundred fifty
suits were manufactured.

1982 Homer Reihm became President and General Manager of ILC Dover, Inc., and John McMullen and Carl Zlock were named Vice Presidents. Mr. Reihm had served as Vice President and General Manager from 1976. Rapid American sold ILC Industries to Leonard Lane. Building 2 was erected, adding 38,000 square feet to the facilities. ILC Dover was awarded the advanced development phase of the M43 Hood/Mask integrated with a battery powered motor blower filtering system, for use on the Apache helicopter. Torpedo recovery bags were developed and manufactured through a contract with Rocket Research. Bags were used to float Navy practice torpedoes for reuse. ILC received multiple orders for additional bags over the years.

1983 ILC Dover again was in the forefront of the United States space program. Our Shuttle Suit was used on STS-6 for EVA (the first flight of the Challenger) in conjunction with a satellite launch. This marked the first American to walk in space since 1974. ILC Dover, under contract from Aerojet, began its first semi--automated assembly line, which turned out 1,318,680 Airinflated Decelerator Systems (AIDS) through 1988. Building 3 was erected to add production
floor space of 38,000 square feet. Our M40 mask production line assumed this area. XM40 Development contract was won by ILC Dover to design and develop a replacement for the M17 Gas Mask.

1984 Kathy Sullivan was the first US Woman to walk in space, another milestone for ILC. She wore our Shuttle Suit. ILC Dover became incorporated on June 27 under the name ILC Dover, Inc.

1986 Building 4 was erected, adding 33,000 more square feet. This space became the balloon production area. Also, Building #5 (13,500 square feet) was built. ILC Dover was awarded the contract to develop an improved Collective Protective System (M28), better known as SCPE, for the US Army.

1987 ILC Dover won a contract with Boeing to finalize design and qualify the AERP Hood/Mask for Air Force use. ILC Dover was awarded a contract from the Air Force to develop a new Transportable Collective Protective System (TCPS) for use in chemical and biological environments. ILC began work on the MK III advanced development space suit. Building #6 (12,000 square feet) was constructed.

1988 ILC Dover won a production contract for the Chemical Biological Protective Mask (M40), built at a rate of 15,000 a month. ILC was awarded a contract from General Electric for five 595K balloon systems.

1989 Under contract from Honeywell, ILC began production of Ram Air Decelerator (RAD) cup assemblies. Production ran for 1 year with 1,843,000 units produced. ILC (Antigua) Ltd. became an offshore softgoods manufacturing facility. RADs were manufactured there along with the M40 Carriers and the HGU-41/P Hoods.

1990 ILC Dover was awarded a production contract for Collective Protection Systems M28 and M20E1). Boeing awarded a protective Integrated Hood Mask (PIHM) contract to ILC – 5,300 hood/masks were produced. ILC Dover entered the world of advanced composites. We were awarded a contract from the Garret Engine Corporation to develop spinner cones for use on jet aircraft engines.


1991 ILC Dover was awarded a contract from the US Air Force to manufacture 10,500 PIHMs. ILC was awarded a contract by Alliant Techsystems to manufacture 100,000 heat-sealed AIDS for use on Navy Tomahawk missiles.

1992 ILC Dover was awarded a contract from Boeing to develop and fabricate the Upper Pressure Garment, Lower G Garment, and Air-Cooling Garment of the F22 Aircraft Life Support System. ILC Dover was awarded a contract from Loral for the detailed design and fabrication of 8 each 420,000 cubic feet aerostats. ILC Dover was awarded a contract for the partial design and full fabrication of a 620,000 cu. ft. logging balloon. Due to its success, another balloon contract was awarded in 1993. ILC Dover was awarded a contract from the Air Force for the first of three 275K Aerostats.

1993 ILC Space System Division was sold to Oceaneering Space Systems, Inc. of Houston, TX. ILC installed its first Vapor Guard Tank Cover at Reichhold Chemical Corporation in Cheswold, Delaware.

1994 ILC Dover was awarded a contract by the German company, Zeppelin, for the detailed design and fabrication of a hybrid airship envelope. ILC Dover was awarded a contract from NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) to develop and manufacture the airbag landing system for the Mars Pathfinder Mission. ILC produced its 500,000th M40 on December 9.

1995 ILC was awarded a contract to design, develop, and test an Integrated Ballistic Helmet (IBH). This was followed by an order for 741 production units. ILC Dover teamed with FPT Industries Ltd. to be their US manufacturer of fuel cells. The fuel cells are for the V22 Osprey aircraft manufactured by Boeing Helicopter, and were required to withstand gunfire and crash impact with minimal damage. ILC was awarded a contract from the American Blimp Corp for the manufacture of six Lightship envelopes. ILC continues to build these structures for American Blimp today.

1996 ILC won a contract with satellite manufacturer TRW to perform preliminary development of a Space Rigidizable Antenna to enhance satellite communications systems such as cell phones and Direct TV. ILC again began work to put people on the moon, performing a study for the design of an Inflatable Lunar Habitat. In November, ILC was awarded a contract to build 184,000 M40 masks. ILC was awarded a contract to develop the Hasty Hide Shelter for the US Special forces. This camouflage system enabled the individual to conceal themselves during multiple day missions. Impact bags were designed and developed by ILC in conjunction with JPL to support the Mars Pathfinder Mission. On December 4, Pathfinder launched from Cape Canaveral with ILC's Airbag Landing System aboard. ILC completed development of a flexible pharmaceutical powder transfer system with Eli Lilly and filled its first order for these systems (DoverPacs).

1997 July 4, Mars Pathfinder successfully landed on Mars while being cushioned by ILC’s airbag system. Zeppelin flies its first airship in more than 50 years. This unique semi-rigid airship utilizes an envelope structure developed and manufactured by ILC Dover. ILC produces another two structures for Zeppelin over the next 4 years. The Manufactured Products Division in support of the M40 Mask Programs TACOM Rock Island was created. This decision resulted in an award of 455,277 units over the next 5-year period. ILC delivered an advanced space suit to NASA/JSC that was a prototype of a suit to be used for planetary surface EVA, later called the I-Suit.

1998 ILC won NASA’s prestigious George M. Low Award for quality. ILC receives ISO 9001 certification.

1999 ILC enters into a 10 year business agreement with TCOM LP, a company specializing in the development of lighter-than-air systems. ILC built the large aerostat envelopes for TCOM and provided materials development expertise to assist them in development of new LTA products. An advanced space suit glove, the Phase VI Glove, was implemented for the Shuttle and International Space Station Programs.

2000 ILC was awarded a contract by Raytheon to initiate a materials development effort for the world’s largest radome structure for the Sea Based X-Band Radar System. This contract resulted in a 4-year development effort culminating in delivery of the finished radome structure. The Manufactured Products Division entered into an agreement with 3M Products to produce the FRM40 Mask System.

2001 The team of TCOM, ILC and Uretek develop and manufacture the world’s largest pressurized LTA vehicle for CargoLifter in Brand, Germany. The system consists of a 75 ton lifting sphere, referred to as the AirCrane. It has a diameter of approximately 200 feet. The entire structure was developed and delivered in an 8-month period. The Manufactured Products Division was awarded a 5-year IDIQ Contract from TACOM Rock Island for the manufacture of
the M40 and M42 Configuration Mask Systems.

2003 Twin Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, successfully land on Mars using ILC impact bags to cushion their landings. ILC won a NASA NRA award to develop strength-augmented space suit technology. ILC Dover SCape Hood NBC Escape mask was commercially launched. The product is a unique mask with an integral blower ideally suited for civilians and untrained users. ILC Dover won contract to supply SCapes to Calhoun County, AL. Behrman-Capital acquired a
majority stake in ILC Industries. ILC receives ISO 9001:2000 certification.

2004 As part of a team supporting NASA/JSC, ILC began negotiating the largest initial space suit contract in company history. Under a DARPA contract, ILC developed a 300-meter radar antenna structure called ISAT using inflatable, rigidizable shape memory polymers.

2005 ILC delivered the Sea Based X-Band Radar Radome to Raytheon which was subsequently deployed at Corpus Christi, TX. ILC won a $12M award from NASA to develop “Intelligent, Flexible Materials” for lunar habitats. In partnership with Wave Biotech, the FlexMixer, a revolutionary disposable mixer to support the needs of pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical customers, was launched.

2006 ILC awarded a 5-year IDIQ contract for advanced development of airbag landing attenuation systems for Earth entry capsules by NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA. ILC Dover’s Sentinel XL™ powered air purifying respirator receives NIOSH approval. Drum Transfer System for active pharmaceutical powder containment launched.

2007 ILC receives Lockheed Martin’s prestigious STAR supplier award which recognizes superior quality and delivery performance. ILC Dover delivers 12-foot (3.65 meter) diameter inflatable structure (habitat) made of multilayer fabric to Langley for ground-based evaluation of emerging technologies such as flexible structural health monitoring systems, self-healing materials and radiation protective materials. Revolutionary ArmorFlex® 110 permanent static dissipative
film introduced to pharmaceutical industry. Antarctic inflatable habitat designed under NASA/NSF joint project.

2008 Inflatable Habitat survives and thrives after 250 days in harsh Antarctic environment. Sentinel XL ™ PAPR receives NIOSH CBRN approval – only system to carry CAP 2 protective rating. ILC selected as one of 11 companies and one university to evaluate concepts for lunar surface exploration equipment. ILC Dover Joins Oceaneering International Constellation Space Suit System (CSSS) Team.

2009 ILC partners with ULA and NASA to develop inflatable deployable sun shield. ILC space suits support dramatic Hubble repair mission. ILC supports WVU’s Inflatable Tunnel Plug Demonstration for Homeland Security Personnel.