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Eugene Hindin, Engineer and Inventor, Dies at 89

May 12, 2011
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Eugene Hindin, 89, an engineering executive and inventor, died April 23 at his home in Narberth.

Hindin was born July 14, 1921, in the Strawberry Mansion section of Philadelphia, to a family of Russian Jewish immigrants. He began working odd jobs to help support his family from the age of 9, after his father died. With assistance from the White-Williams Foundation, he graduated from Central High School in 1938.

After high school, Hindin worked in iron workshops in Brooklyn and Philadelphia, and in a civil engineering job at the Frankford Arsenal. After serving in the U.S. Army, he returned to the Frankford Arsenal and, eventually, continued his education at Drexel University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1947 and a master's degree in 1954, both in mechanical engineering. He earned a first place award in mechanical engineering.

Hindin began working at Strick Trailers in 1952. After managing a manufacturing plant in Chicago for two years, he returned to Philadelphia and became executive vice president of the company in 1959. He later served in the same capacity at Gindy Trailers, also based in Philadelphia.

After Gindy was acquired by Budd Company in 1975, Hindin became president of Budd's trailer division. In the late 1970s, he joined a group of engineers developing the RoadRailer, a freight vehicle capable of traveling on both highways and railways without the need to transport cargo in between.

He served as senior vice president of engineering and manufacturing for Bi-Modal Corporation, the company that designed and manufactured the RoadRailer at a plant in West Chester. He held numerous patents for freight-carrier components.

Hindin was known for his stamina and "hands-on" approach, often staying in meetings longer than many executives of his stature. In 1965, at a meeting of engineers in the Netherlands, which was organized by the International Standards Organization to design a standardized shipping container, he and two other engineers worked in a Dutch railroad factory for 48 hours straight.

They emerged with the first technical drawings of the standardized corner fitting now used on virtually every shipping container around the world. Even late in his career, Hindin could be found personally inspecting the underside of rail cars and he traveled on a number of sometimes harrowing test runs for the RoadRailer.

Although he officially retired in 1988, Hindin continued to work as a consultant for many years.

Hindin is survived by his wife of 31 years, Marilyn Hindin; two children; four stepchildren; and 11 grandchildren.

Memorial donations can be made to: White-Williams Scholars, 215 S. Broad Street, 5th floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107.

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