Tuesday, 23 April, 2024

01 Jun 2002 | Australasian Dental Practice

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Peter MARTIN, Esq., l928 - 2002

By Armin Roth


Leading dental industry identity Peter Martin passed away in hospital on April 12, 2002, a week shy of his 74th birthday, after being admitted with breathing difficulties.

Peter was best known as the Australian "face" of the SS White range of dental products, having worked with the company since 1946, both as managing director of the Australian subsidiary and later as the agent for the company as principal of his own business.

During more than four decades in the dental industry, Peter saw much change including some breathtaking firsts such as the introduction of high-speed dental turbines in the l950s, the first ergonomic sit-down dentistry concept, the Pelton & Crane Executive, in the 1960s and the l973 introduction of the Panorex system, the first panoramic dental x-ray system on the Australian market.

The SS White brand was not only a leader in dental equipment, it also had a vast range of dental hand instruments and materials, some of which are still "the benchmark" in their specific groupings today.

Founded in l844 specifically for dental products, the company branched out into the industrial fields which eventually became divisions in their own right. Through successive mergers and acquisitions in the l970s and l980s, the company split the UK and USA divisions into separate operations. As a result, Peter eventually started his own business to import products from both countries.

Due to Peter's strong involvement with the industry, he took on the Federal Secretary position of the then ADTA (now the ADIA) from l979 to l983 under the Presidency of Messrs Don Blackie and Ted Donovan. In l982, the first ADTA dental industry exhibition was held in Sydney and the ADTA Federal interests made active membership of the exhibition committee a must for Peter and he continued with that group for some years.

Peter was rewarded with the Meritorious Award for Excellence for his contribution to the ADIA and in l989, was awarded Honorary Life Membership.

Peter was for many years an essential part of the action within the dental industry and his friendly and open manner made him a lifelong friend for many of his contemporaries.

He kept his family well protected from the business side of life and only in recent years, once their two daughters, Catherine and Diana and son, Ian, had left home, did he allow his lifelong partner, Judith, to assist him.

Members and friends in the Industry are mourning a quiet and determined giant whose contribution was considerable but for many unnoticed. Peter just did the job and we knew it would be done properly. We wish him well in that big dental surgery in the sky and yes "we shall remember".


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