US Stamps

By Michael Baadke

Born May 9: Henry J. Kaiser

May 09, 2015 04:00 AM

Henry J. Kaiser, born May 9, 1882, was never pictured on a United States stamp, but his name is shown in the bottom margin of the 2005 stamp honoring one of the cars his company manufactured.

Kaiser was an industrialist involved in the shipbuilding, steel and automobile industries. His Kaiser Motors Corp. built cars in Michigan for nearly a decade before joining Willys Overland Motors in the 1950s and relocating in northern Ohio.

The 1954 Kaiser Darrin is a limited-run sports car recognized as the first automobile built with a fiberglass body. The car was named for Henry J. Kaiser and its designer, Howard A. "Dutch" Darrin. It is featured on a 37¢ stamp in the 2005 set, Sporty Cars of the 1950s (Scott 3932).

Kaiser was born in Sprout Brook, N.Y. He developed a number of successful businesses including hardware sales and road paving before partnering with other businesses to build the Hoover Dam. During World War II, Kaiser made millions manufacturing badly needed Liberty ships for the American war effort.

He formed his new car company in 1945 and established the Kaiser Permanente health care system that same year.

Kaiser died in 1967 at age 85.