Ultrafab Inc. announced yesterday that its founder, Robert Horton, passed away. Horton died peacefully, officials said, on September 26, 2020.

Described as a dedicated husband and father of five and an inventor, Horton was an Army Air Force pilot during WWII and a philanthropist. In 1991, he received New York State’s Small Businessman of the Year award and obtained fifteen patents in his lifetime.

Horton was born on August 22, 1924 and was extremely active during his 96 years, company officials said, adding, “He loved flying and was especially excited to renew his flying license at the age of 63. He also enjoyed golfing, fishing and riding his motorcycle.”

In 1966, he was a commissioned representative for Branson Ultrasonics. As such, his vision was not only to sell ultrasonic equipment, but to develop products and equipment using the new technology, leading him to found R.C. Horton Company. As Horton experimented with an ultrasonic welder in his basement, the idea of ultrasonically welded pile weather-strip was born. In 1970, he moved his work to the second floor of a railroad car in Victor, N.Y., where he built a proof of concept machine and successfully produced an 18-inch sample of pile weather-strip. He then secured a bank loan and Ultrafab was born. (Ultra is short for ultrasonics and fab for fabrication.)

In November of 1981, Horton was awarded the first of many patents related to the manufacture of pile weather seals. In 2020, Ultrafab celebrates its 50th anniversary.

He is predeceased by his wife, Mary K. Horton, and survived by his children: Thomas C. (Patricia) Horton, Susan Williams, Patricia (Joseph) Kazour, Nancy Horton, and John (Todd) Horton-Young; grandchildren, Eric and Peter Horton, Meaghan, Bridget and Emma Williams, and Michael, Isabel and Mark Kazour.

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