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June 10th, 2009

Randy Ragan (1915-2009)

Published on June 10th, 2009 | By: pwray@ceramics.org

Randall (Randy) Ragan died May 5th, 2009 at the age of 94.  Randy was trained in ceramics at Ohio State University from 1934-1939, He served in the Navy in WWII and retired as a Lt. Commander. He joined Gladding, McBean &.Co. after the war, then the largest diversified ceramic company west of the Rockies. He worked in research and while there invented and patented a process for making conductive floor tile for hospital operating rooms to drain off static electricity and eliminate explosions.


He also invented and patented the “cover” process of roll compaction for making thin, inexpensive wall tile. This process was later adapted by others to roll compacting insulating ceramics for high temperature printed circuit boards called “Ceracircuits.”


He left GMcB to found Microelectron, the first use of this word, which later became the generic description of an industry. He developed resistive and conductive thick film printable pastes and is the “Father” of the thick film industry. These were a key to the RCA MicroModule program of the 1950’s. He sold his company to Electra, moved to San Diego in “Ceramic Valley USA” ( Sorrento Valley) and continued to innovate.


He invented the thick film fuse in wide use in electronic hardware and the thick film potentiometer.

His retirement from Electra was brief. He formed Ragan Technologies Inc. and worked with the roll compaction process to create new uses for the technology. Among these were High Shear Compaction and Zero Shrink Ceramics. He continued his creative work at a new company, Ragan Labs LLC.


Ragan was an Emeritus member of the American Ceramic Society, and a charter member of ISHM later IMAPS. He was awarded the Carl Gjiesbeek award for ceramic inventions leading to significant economic impact in 1991. He was awarded the John T. Wagnon award for contributions to the thick film industry in 1998. He was a national officer of the Screen Process Printing Association. He helped form the San Diego Chapters of ACerS, ISHM and IEPS.


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