This information was obtained from Kamal Asgar in 2005 as a "reflection of the rich and interesting path of the DMG."  Prepared by Kamal Asgar (School of Dentistry, University of Michigan) and Jack Mitchem (Oregon Health and Sciences University).

The June 2003 DMG newsletter urged members to vote for IADR/AADR candidates who were members of the DMG (Steve Bayne and Dianne Rekow).  Incidentally, they both won election to Vice Presidency of IADR and AADR, respectively.  Congratulations to both of them.  The article went on to say that the DMG represents about 24 percent of the total membership and traditionally has been under-represented in elected positions within the IADR.  In fact, only 3 DMG members have ever been elected to President (Ivan Mjor, Per-Olof Glantz and Sally Marshall).  This statement is not quite correct.  It needs to be clarified.  Ivar Mjor, Per-Olof Glantz, and Sally Marshall served their presidencies in a great manner.  All DMG members should be proud of them and their accomplishments.  The point here is they were not the only ones elected to that position.

It was felt that it is the responsibility of older members of the DMG to inform the newer generation how IADR and eventually itsí Dental Materials Group was formed.  In addition, there are a number of individuals who have made significant contributions to both organizations and should be remembered.

Formation of IADR

The intention of this writeup is, in short, to indicate how and when the IADR and DMG were formed and point out some of the changes made since its formation.  Todayís IADR is quite different than what it was in the past.  Now the emphasis is in having a larger membership, while in the past the emphasis was on quality of research and how their findings may help practicing dentists.

In the 1920's, National Institute of Health (NIH) was not supporting any dental research.  Most dental schools did not have sufficient funds for research.  However, some dental faculty members, using their own time and money, were conducting research.  In addition, a few dental practitioners were publishing the results of their practical observations.   Meantime some research activities also were going on in European Countries.  In the early 20's, a few dental researchers in the US desired to have an annual meeting to discuss their findings with their colleagues.  They also invited some European researchers to join.  They called their organization

International Association for Dental Research.

Finally, in 1922 they had their first meeting.  Setting time and location for future annual meetings was a problem.  Since most of the members of their association also were members of faculties of various schools, therefore it had to be when their schools were closed.  That meant it had to be either during Spring or Summer vacation.  Another point was location and cost.  They noticed that during Spring vacation, that is the first part of March, resorts were between seasons and were charging less for their rooms.  They solved time, location and cost problems by holding their meetings in the early part of March in resorts.  That is why the meeting of the AADR still is in the early part of March, but the location has to be in larger cities having facilities for the larger group.

The main desire of the founders of the IADR was that members of the association should be involved in research.  To be accepted as a full member of the association was quite an achievement.  Usually individualís masterís degree theses were sufficient for Associate Membership.  However, it was expected within two to three years to come out with another meaningful study.  If the second paper was acceptable by membership committee, the candidate would be promoted to full membership with right to vote.  Otherwise, the candidate would remain as an associate member until the membership committee receives an acceptable research paper.

The membership dues were $2.00 per year which was used mainly for postage.  No one received any money for their services.  All elected individuals paid their own hotel and travel expenses.  Only one session was used in annual meetings.  Both biological and material studies were presented in the same room to all members.  The idea was in this way everyone would learn something about the research of their colleagues.  Like now, every presenter had 15 minutes for presentation.

Formation of Bureau of Standards

In 1919, the Bureau of Standards, a government organization, under Dr. Souder, a physicist, was established.  Among other responsibilities, the Bureau was also to check on qualities of dental materials.  None of the Bureauís personnel had any background in dentistry.  The ADA was asked for input and they hired a young dentist to work with the Bureauís research personnel.    This young man was Dr. George Paffenbarger.  In 1929, he was elected president of the IADR.  (The first researcher in dental materials to hold this office.)  His accomplishments and personality have established him as a legend in our group.    He used to talk to new researchers, in private, asking some questions concerning their studies.  His questions were such that he was sure the presenter of the study knew the answer.  But, he would act as if he did not know and learned from listening to their presentations.  He always encouraged young researchers to keep on conducting research. 

Two additional members have served as President of the IADR, Ralph Phillips and Gunnar Ryge.  Both should forever be remembered for their contribution to dentistry.  Ralph was a consummate educator and almost singlehandedly established the discipline of dental materials in the minds of the practicing community.  Gunnar is perhaps best remembered for his development of criteria for evaluating the clinical behavior of restorative materials.  As a matter of fact, in the past, nobody from DMG complained to the IADR that we want to see someone from our group to be president of the IADR.  Actually, the president of the IADR, during the annual meeting, talked to both Phillips and Peyton.  According to Dr. Peyton, and we quote ďPresident of the IADR said your group has 25% of  total membership, but lately we have not had any president of the IADR from your group.  He also said you know very well when it comes to voting one votes for a person that he knows.  Unfortunately, not many biological researchers are familiar with members of your group.  The board is afraid that if the normal yearly procedure is used, that is having three names on the ballot the person from your group may not make it.  Therefore, we are planning to put only two names on the ballot and both names to be from your group.  The board suggesting that the two names to be Peyton and Phillips.Ē  Both Ralph Phillips and Floyd Peyton agreed and Phillips received more votes and became president.

Formation of the DMG

Dr. Peyton, the founder of the DMG, after receiving his B.S. from the University of Indiana and masterís degree in chemistry from Northern Michigan University came to the University of  Michigan in order to receive his PhD in chemistry.  Meantime, a dentist named Dr. Marcus A. Ward, who in 1908 formed the first dental materials department in the US and probably that of the world, was conducting research in materials used in dentistry.  He loved to do research and to give lectures.  He spent considerable amount of his money, purchasing equipment that he needed.  Considering the times, he had a well-equipped laboratory.

In 1916, Dr. Ward became dean of School of Dentistry of Michigan, but held chairmanship of the Dental Materials Department.  He held these two positions until he retired in 1934.  At the time, he had only one assistant.  Being Dean, chairman, giving lectures in the school and in dental organizations meetings, he had no time for doing the research that he loved so much.  He realized that he needed more help.  He asked the chemistry department if any of their graduate students would be interested in analyzing composition of various amalgams.  Chemistry department informed Peyton that such a job was available.  Peyton started analyzing dental amalgams.

Peyton liked the work he was doing and Dr. Ward appreciated Peytonís help.  One day, Dr. Ward told Peyton ďif you take some courses in the engineering school and pass some of the exams that they will require, and also take some dental courses to familiarize yourself with dentistry and choose one the materials used in dentistry for your thesis, we could give you a PhD in Dental Materials.Ē  Peyton followed his advice and in 1933 received his PhD in Dental Materials from the Engineering and Dentistry Schools.  This made him to be the first person in the world to receive a PhD degree in Dental Materials.  Twenty-three years later, Dr. Mahler was the second person to receive his PhD from Michigan in Dental Materials.  His degree also was a joint degree from the Engineering and Dentistry schools.  Dr. Ward, in 1934, reached retirement age and had to retire.  Dr. Peyton became chairman.

Peyton was against having one session in the annual meetings of the IADR.  After being chairman of the department for two years, he asked and received time to discuss his points with officers of the IADR.  His points in short were, in the annual meetings having only one session is not benefitting all members.  Those having a dental background are benefitting from both biological and material subjects.  However, those not having a dental background do not appreciate the importance of different biological research.  Therefore, we would like to become a group of the IADR, having separate sessions at the meetings.  Organizing our own program, having our own bylaws and electing our own officer.  Members of the IADR voted in favor of Peytonís suggestion, providing the group had at least 20 members in the IADR.  To find 20 researchers in dental materials who could be eligible for membership in the IADR was almost impossible.  Dental manufacturers had their own research for their own products and they were not for publication.  Individuals working at the Bureau had their own publications and being responsible for approving dental products, they did not want to join any dental organizations.  Without the Bureauís cooperation, it was impossible to fulfill the only requirement that the IADR had placed on Peytonís request.  It took over a year to convince the Bureauís personnel that this was a good idea.  Without their participation, the DMG would not have 20 members eligible to become full members of the IADR.  Eventually, after a year and a half delay, they decided to join.

Finally, on October 24, 1938 in St. Louis, 20 full members of the IADR gathered to celebrate formation of the DMG.  At this meeting, they elected Peyton as president (those days called Chairman) and that lasted for 3 more years.  At the same time, Skinner was elected as Secretary and Treasurer.  He held these positions for the next six years.  A fee of $1.00 per year was collected by the Secretary Treasurer.  The $20.00 collected were mainly for cost of mail.  Later, it was raised to $2.00 per year and that lasted for over 30 years.  At the St. Louis meeting, no research studies were presented.  The first scientific meeting of the DMG was held in March 1939 in Cleveland, Ohio.

The two leaders, Peyton and Skinner, wrote the bylaws of the group.  Individuals that were not eligible for membership in the IADR, such as researchers in dental manufacturing companies, could become associate members of the Dental Materials Group.

In this manner, a long period of independent autonomy within the IADR was formed.  The group changed the presentation time of papers to 20 minutes, allowing more time for discussion.  These presentations and discussions could become quite lively, educational and entertaining.  A great comradery was established and everyone became quite knowledgeable of each otherís work. 

In the old days, not many individuals wanted to be president of the IADR.  We know of two members of the DMG that were asked to have their names to be on the ballet for presidency, but both refused.  We wanted to be officers of our own group.  By the way, in those days our group had 25% of total IADR memberships.  If we really wanted to be president of the IADR,  we would have suggested that since we have one quarter of the total membership, we should be represented as president once out of every four years.  However, we thought we were better off by not getting involved with the main organization.

The DMG was the originator of many functions that today the IADR has taken over or eliminated completely.  Some of these are:

1)  Formation of groups: Today, the IADR has many groups.  All of these groups have asked for our bylaws to use as a model for their own.  In the early days, prosthetic research was part of the materials group.  Later, they wanted to have their own group.  In order to meet the number required (20), some materials members signed the petition.  Today, there are 21 groups having their own schedule and officers.

2)  The first night reception:One of the manufacturers of dental materials suggested that the group hol a social hour at the beginning of each meeting.  In this manner, the new members could be introduced.  Even the older members will have some time to talk to each other.  They offered to cover the costs, providing that their name NOT be published.  This event went on for a years.  Eventually, the Caulk and Kerr companies insisted on sharing the cost and the Whip-mix folks had to accept their offer.  Now, the IADR has taken over this function and the shear size of the event has overshadowed the original intent.

3)  Having dinner with your group:  Many delightful dinners have followed the first one in 1979 at Antoineís in New Orleans (organized by Larry Gettleman).  Again, the DMG was the first.  Now most groups hold their own dinner.

4)  Honoring a member who has contributed most to dental research:  This is the highest award the DMG gives, to honor an individual who in his/her lifetime has contributed a considerable amount to advancement of dental research.  The award is named the Souder Award.  The Souder award was established in 1954, following the petition to the DMG board by then chief of the Bureau of Standards, Bill Sweeney.  William Souder was the first Chief of the Bureau of Standards.  He conducted a number of scientific studies in dental materials.  He also contributed to the formation of the DMG by allowing a number of his employees to be part of the original 20.  In 1955 the first award was given to Dick Coleman.

5)  Clinical and Innovation Awards:  These two awards are relatively new.  In 1990, Dr. Victoria Marker was president of the DMG.  She realized that some of our members are performing good clinical research yet they have little chance of being eligible for the Souder Award.  She felt maybe some kind of recognition for their work is needed.  Her idea was that the award be given only by American division of the DMG that is by (DMG-C).  Also to be given in the years that IADR meets outside of North America.  That is once every three to four years.  She appointed a committee of four (Drs. Mahler, Ryge, Asgar and Ralph Phillips chairman) to look into suitability and to draw up the guidelines for selection of recipients.  She wanted the committee to report to the 1991 board and discuss it at their business meeting.  Unfortunately, Ryge and Phillips died in the interim.  Asgar stepped in with the presentation to the Board and discussed in general business meeting.  Both groups approved this idea.  The following year IADR was not meeting in North America and this award could be given.  The award carried Floyd Peytonís name and in 1992 during AADR meeting in Boston, the first award was given to Dr. Jerry Charbeneau.  Latter on it was realized that those working in industries and developing better products for dentistry also deserve some recognition.  Now we have two such awards:  one for clinical studies call Peyton Award and the other for innovation called Skinner Award.  In this manner also we are honoring the two men who worked  so hard in forming DMG.  The first recipients of Skinner Awards was Clyde Ingelsoll.  These first recipients were both Dr. Peytonís students.

A total listing of the recipients of these awards can be found on the Groupís web site (iadr.com/dmg).

A question may be asked where did we get our information about the past?  The answer is from letters written from 1934 to 1965.  In 1955 Dr. Mahler became the secretary of the group.  He received many files and letters written since 1936 to 1955.  He realized that some of the letters had little to do with actual activities of the group and yet being kept in the files.  Using his judgement he organized the files according to their dates and subject, eliminating any letter that had very little to do with activities of the Group.  He also prepared a schedule, to help future secretaries, when to inform different parties of their responsibilities.  He suggested future secretaries to read the early letters to learn what has happened in the past.  He strongly recommended that the future secretaries should place a copy of their important letters that they have written into the proper files before mailing files to the incoming secretary.  Knowing Dr. Mahler I am sure that he used his best judgement in separating the old letters and well organizing the files.  This made it easy to incoming secretaries such as me.  What is written here is due to good work of Dr. Mahler in keeping the old letters.  He served his four years and in 1959 mailed the files to Ms. Marjory Swartz.  Ms. Swartz served her four years, after adding some more letters to the files mailed them to me (Asgar).  In 1963 I became secretary and Majory became President-elect.  She helped me to learn what was expected from me and how should be handled.  I read all the letters that were written from 1934 until that time.  In 1967 that my four years of being secretary was over after adding some more letters to files mailed the files to Dr. Anthony.  Now we do not know what has happened to those letters.  Are they around or not?

In 25th year anniversary of DMG it was decided to have a party.  Kamal Asgar was the secretary and in charge of the party.  John Schell, one of the original 20 members that IADR required, was the master of ceremony.  However, he also was the person giving awards to the original 20 researchers and also being one to receive award.  John Schellís handling of two hours of fun and laughter was something that no one could forget. 

The 50 year anniversary party was held in 1988 in San Francisco.  The President, Allan Steinbock , organized the event and asked Jack Mitchem to prepare a booklet summarizing the first 50 years.  This history contains a letter from Floyd Peyton (dated March 1988), a brief history of significant events, list of the original 20 researchers, a letter from John Stanford on the involvement of DMG in the specification program, Souder award recipients and the officers of the group.

We wanted to write these few pages for the new generation who are enjoying working in Dental Materials and attending well-organized meetings of the DMG.  We are quite sure that if the old-timers were here today they would be pleased with high level of research that you are performing.  They would be very satisfied with their hard work has not been wasted and are in good hands.  The seeds that they spread are indeed blooming.

Copyright DMG-IADR. All rights reserved.