Oct 11 , 2019
The only South African product to go to the moon, Pratley Putty, is being featured at a ‘Destination Moon’ exhibition at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in the historic Electric Workshop in the cultural precinct of Newtown, Johannesburg. One of nearly 400 interactive exhibitions, ‘Destination Moon’ celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing on 20 July.
Southern Africa’s largest science centre, Sci-Bono is affiliated to the Gauteng Department of Education to support maths, science, and technology education, and to help expand the country’s science, engineering, and technology capacity.
The latest showcase of Pratley Putty’s involvement with this historic event follows it being featured in a 2019 commemorative coin series from the South African Mint, entitled the ‘South African inventions’ series.
Pratley founder George Montague (Monty) Pratley launched the world’s first epoxy putty during the early 1960s. Initially, it was intended to be used internally for insulating and affixing terminals to cast iron electrical junction boxes. However, the product was subsequently introduced into the local market as Pratley Plastic Putty, whereafter it eventually became known by the household name, Pratley Putty.
An agreement to manufacture the product under licence in the United States was concluded with a company in Pennsylvania, which introduced the product to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) even before it could enter production. Ultimately the company supplied the product from South Africa to NASA for use onboard their Ranger moon-landing craft. This led to Pratley Putty acquiring its global fame as the only South African Product to go to the moon.
Executive Manager Andrew Pratley comments that the company is especially proud to be associated with Sci-Bono, a non-profit organisation, as it showcases the achievements of local companies, as well as the critical role that innovation continues to play in South Africa. “Our roots are in innovation, research and development. It’s one of the cornerstones of what we do at Pratley and we continue to live and breathe by it.”
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