Plastic Inventions

In addition to the plastic instruments Mario Maccaferri design a number plastic products and production techniques.

His most popular non-musical product was the plastic clothespin.

Mastro Plastic Clothespins

The plastic reed was just the beginning of Mario’s career in the plastics industry. With his ability to foresee a window of opportunity, Mario invented the next piece of ingenious plastic work: the plastic clothespin.

During the summer of 1944 when the Maccaferris were at their vacation home in the country, Maria noticed that she did not have enough clothespins so she asked Mario to go to the market in the village and buy some. When Mario asked the shopkeeper about clothespins, the shopkeeper replied that it was wartime and there were no clothespins to be had. Mario returned home and told Maria that he was going to the plant and would be back soon.

That night, Mario brought home six prototypes for the plastic clothespin. After Maria hung her silk slip out to dry, she noticed two holes in it from the clothespins.

The next day, Mario perfected the design and the plastic clothespin was born. Mario was able to foresee that a demand for the clothespin existed, and he sought to supply it as quickly as possible.

Mario eagerly began to market the clothespins, and they became extremely successful. With the war in Europe, consumer goods were incredibly hard to come by and the people were eager to buy the clothespins. The clothespin market grew to the point that millions were produced daily. There was not even enough time to package them due to the fact that some retail stores would come every morning and fill large barrels with clothespins. This led the Maccaferris to establish Mastro Plastics Corporation, which would produce all of Maccaferri’s plastic creations that were to come. 

8-Track and Cassettes

In 1967, Mario suffered a heart attack, which scared him and stimulated new thoughts about his businesses following his 1969 recovery. After the plastic guitars received a negative review, Mario decided that if people were going to criticize him, he would not give them anything to criticize. Mario said, “No more” and all partially and completely finished guitars were boxed up and stored. Mario also decided at the same time to get out of the plastic instrument business. It was sold to Carnival industries, which did not know what to do with the legacy.

The Maccaferri plastic instruments were never made again. Mario was able to recognize an area in which he could no longer gain success. He accepted the idea of abandoning the plastic instrument production. He did not completely resign himself as unsuccessful, but instead refocused his attention to another endeavor. The end of the plastic instruments, however, did not terminate Maccaferri’s work in plastics. RCA approached Mario in 1970 with the idea for an 8-track cassette with plastic housing.

Mario set to work and designed and produced the first 8-track cassette housing. RCA’s idea was copied and unfortunately, this major business opportunity closed out for Mario, who sold his housings to other companies. Eventually in the late 1970s, Maccaferri produced audiocassette tape housings.

Mario was able to manufacture these housings faster than other American companies because he had visited Italy and had purchased and brought back an Italian machine that rapidly produced cassette housings. Although he was unable to clinch the RCA deal, Mario was still able to find a niche that could quickly be filled with the rapid production of the audiocassette housings.

Tri-Bond Plastic Wall Tile

Once World War II was over, consumer goods became available and interest in the plastic clothespin fell; however, Maccaferri had already began to turn his attention towards his newest project: plastic tiles. As the soldiers returned to the States, houses were built at an alarming rate.

Maccaferri improved the design and added the beveled edges to the plastic wall tile mold and began to produce millions of bath and kitchen tiles.

All of the homes that were erected across the United States began to use the Maccaferri tiles.