1971 Horatio Alger Award Winner
"The most important thing is your self-respect. It doesn't matter what people think about you but what you think about yourself."
Bob Abplanalp was born in the Bronx in 1922 to Swiss immigrant parents. His father was a machinist. Abplanalp attended local schools, and then attended Villanova University to study mechanical engineering. He left school to open a small machine shop that produced war supplies for the Allies. In 1943, he joined the U.S. Army, serving in the European theater.
After the war, Abplanalp went back to his machine shop, but found it $10,000 in debt. He worked hard to make it profitable. Three years later, he designed the first workable aerosol valve that could be inexpensively mass produced. This device would soon be used by millions.
Abplanalp and two partners founded Precision Valve Corporation. In 1968, he bought out his original partners and became the sole owner of the business. Precision Valve became the world leader in the design and production of two billion aerosol valves annually. Abplanalp expanded the company into a worldwide operation with corporate headquarters in Yonkers and manufacturing plants in 16 countries.
Abplanalp received an honorary doctorate from Villanova and the title of 'Packaging Man of the Year' by the Packaging Education Foundation. He served on the boards of both Fordham Preparatory School and Manhattan College.
Abplanalp once said, 'The most important thing is your self-respect. It doesn't matter what people think about you, but what you think about yourself.'* Deceased