Manalapan, Fla. — Longtime ceramic tile and stone industries innovator, Henry M. Rothberg, born June 1, 1922 in Derby, Conn., passed away March 17, 2014, in Manalapan.
Rothberg attended the University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C., where he received a BS degree in Chemical Engineering and later received an honorary Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering. In addition, he was a graduate of the Executive Education program at Harvard Business School.
In 1946, he married Lillian Rosenstock of New Haven, Conn., returning with his bride to make their home in South Carolina. Over the next decade he, and his two brothers, built a successful floor covering and furniture business.
In 1956, he moved his family back to Connecticut to be near one of the leading firms in synthetic rubber manufacturing, the US Rubber Company (Uniroyal) of Naugatuck. Working closely with them, he developed the first commercially accepted, latex modified adhesives for thin installations of ceramic tile and stone, branded Laticrete.
By combining his knowledge of chemical engineering with his firsthand experience in floor covering, Rothberg is widely considered to be the pioneer of polymer thin set adhesive technology for ceramic tile and stone.
With his wife Lillian as business partner, Product Development Company was founded by him to turn the fervent vision of a radical installation method into the reality of a global industry standard.
He was recognized by the ceramic tile industry with numerous awards, including the Carl V. Cesery Award from the Tile Contractors’ Association of America (TCAA), the Joe A. Tarver Cornerstone Award from the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) and induction into the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA) Hall of Fame.
The personal dream and the company, which later became known as Laticrete International Inc., eventually grew to over 1,500 employees in 35 manufacturing locations supplying products to construction projects in over 112 countries.