Biographical / Historical
George Robert Kern was born in 1894 and died in 1962. He was an Arlington, Va., area cabinet maker and machinist who went on to invent several pieces of dental equipment that helped revolutionize the field of dentistry in the early 1950s he was joined in these endeavors by his son, George Kern, Jr.
The elder George Kern began working with dental equipment according to his promotional material because of his own experience with poor fitting dentures. As a machinist accustomed to tight tolerances, he knew it must be possible to make dentures fit better. The result of his work was the Dentagraph and his first patent, granted in 1950. In 1948 a company, Kern laboratory, was incorporated to manufacture the Dentagraph and license the "Dentagraph Tech nic." He also sold dental laboratory benches and dental molding materials under the name Kern Laboratory Equipment Company. Kern's Dentagraph was used by the National Standards Laboratory to test denture materials and the laboratory further improved the device. Apparently Kern received the rights to produce and market this improved tool.
In the early 1950s he began working on high speed dental drills. He developed both a water turbine drill and an air turbine drill. The water turbine drill was manufactured by Bowen Company of Maryland under the trademarked name Turbo Jet. In 1957 the company acquired the rights to this tool and its trademark.
Kern and his son improved on the water turbine drill, and in 1957 formed Fairfax Manufacturing Company (FMC) to produce an air turbine drill and the improved water turbine drill. The senior Kern was a participating stockliolder, receiving stock in return for rights to his inventions. George Kern, Jr., L. W. Hazleton (President of Hazleton Laboratories, a biological (research and development company), and R. G. Henninger (General Manager of Hazleton Laboratories) were the company officers. The stockholders included dentists who also tested the companies new products. Densco, Inc., a Colorado dental equipment company, marketed Kern's products from around 1954, and in 1957 the company began to market Fairfax Manufacturing Company's products.
George R. Kern, Jr., was born in 1919. He left public school in the tenth but took courses in industrial electricity and industrial engineering. He worked for worked the National Bureau of Standards for two years building and installing laboratory equipment. In 1951 he began working at Hazelton Laboratories as Superintendent of Maintenance. He patented several pieces of
Dental equipment and specialized parts for dental equipment. He died in 1987.