Frederick Kraissl, Jr. was born in New York City on July 7, 1899 and received his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry in 1921 from Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn. While an undergraduate he was in the Army as Polytech became a preliminary training corps location. His Master's degree was obtained at Columbia in 1922 and he undertook further graduate studies in chemical engineering with especial reference to manufactured glass. During summers he worked for the Corning Glass Works where his father was his immediate superior, and so great was his respect for his father that he retained the Junior in his name to the end of his days.
Fred met Alice L. Plenty of Hackensack, New Jersey while she was studying for the Bachelor's degree at Barnard. She assisted him in some of his graduate work and they were married in 1925. They were blessed with two daughters, five grandchildren and a number of greatgrandchildren. The industrial company they founded together in 1926, the Kraissl Company, has been most successful and continues under the able management of the younger generation.
Besides their home in River Edge, which was built for Fred and Alice while they were on their honeymoon and which they occupied all their lives, they had a summer home on Long Island's North Shore. Fred, at one time, was Commodore of the local Power Squadron there. During World War II he was a lieutenant colonel in the Chemical Warfare Service. His consulting firm of Kraissl Associates held numerous patents licensed for manufacture by the Kraissl Company.
Fred's interest in mineralogy, spurred by mineralogy courses at college and aided by the keenest research instincts and natural leadership talents, resulted in executive positions wherever he joined mineral societies. Alice was beside him always to aid in the tasks into which his boundless energy and tireless enthusiasm led him. He served as President and Trustee of the Franklin-Ogdensburg Mineralogical Society, Trustee and President of the Franklin Mineral Museum (for which his dedication was endless), President and Trustee of the North Jersey Mineralogical Society, and President of the Eastern Federation of Mineralogical Societies. Fred's photographs of delicate crystal formations were widely shown. His studies of mineral fluorescence were, likewise, recorded on film. Put together with appropriate commentary, these became a slide lecture which he prepared for the Franklin Mineral Museum.
Perhaps one high point in Fred's career was his attainment of the Doctor of Philosophy degree. The studies and laboratory work, in considerable part sponsored by the Corning Glass Works, had been done at Columbia, but writing of the thesis was to take place half a century later, refined by a lifetime of observation and engineering experience. Titled "A Study of the Mechanics of Colors in Gems and Minerals", the paper incorporated the tremendous gains in the science since Fred's college days, and portions of it were published in 1981. In this work, as in all else, Alice encouraged and supported him. His passing, on November 30, 1986, so soon after that of Alice, bears additional testimony to the closeness of this remarkable couple.
John L. Baum
Curator, Franklin Mineral Museum