Richard D. Chapin, Founder of Chapin Watermatics, Dies at 96
The founder of a Watertown industry - and innovator in how plants are watered - died at his home Friday.
Richard D. Chapin was 96, according to a death notice from Reed & Benoit Funeral Home.
Chapin founded Chapin Watermatics in 1960. He is known as "the father of drip irrigation," according to an official history posted on the website of Jain Irrigation, the company that purchased Chapin Watermatics in 2006.
Wikipedia defines drip irrigation as "an irrigation method that saves water and fertilizer by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of plants."
Although drip irrigation as a technique dates from ancient times, Chapin contributed a key innovation, Wikipedia notes: "In the United States, the first drip tape, called Dew Hose, was developed by Richard Chapin of Chapin Watermatics in the early 1960s."
Chapin holds 25 patents connected to drip irrigation, according to the Jain website.
Beyond his business and his innovations, Chapin felt strongly about giving back.
At the time of Chapin's death, he was executive director of the Chapin Living Waters Foundation, a not-for-profit dedicated to providing drip irrigation technology that can be used by poor farmers in third world countries.
Saturday, November 22, 2014, Watertown, NY
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