JOHANNESBURG – The South African Mint has released a special South African invention series focusing on the only South African product to make it to the moon, Pratley Putty, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing on Saturday (July 20).
In the 1960s, George Montague Pratley, assisted by chemist Frank Robinson, invented the world’s first epoxy putty, according to a statement by Pratley Putty yesterday.
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, which became Pratley Putty. An agreement to manufacture the product under licence in the US was concluded with Atlas Minerals in Pennsylvania, which introduced the product to Nasa even before it could enter production. Consequently, when Nasa decided to use the product aboard its Ranger moon-landing craft, the product was supplied from South Africa via Atlas Minerals.
Hence it became the only South African product to go to the moon. In 2016, the South African Mint embarked on a project whereby it annually struck a series of silver commemorative collectible coins that recognise some notable South African inventions.