Our History

Dear Friends of HP White,

HP White Laboratory has a deep and rich history; one filled with many first-of-a-kind achievements, a depth of brilliant minds and some colorful personalities. The threads of these milestones and people have spun the 75-year yarn that is HP White.

Henry Packard WhiteFrom Henry “Hank” Packard White and Burton “Burt” Munhall who in 1936 hand built HP White’s first lab in Cleveland, OH; to Donald Dunn, an ex-CIA standout who evolved HP White’s business into the world’s leader in body armor testing; and Lois Cooper, HP White’s longest tenured employee – 53 years – who’s strength, longevity and adaptability are hallmarks that underscore the HP White brand.

After graduating from Cornell Engineering in 1931, Hank White’s plan to contribute to the Packard-White automotive legacy was derailed as the Depression pushed White away from the families’ business into odd jobs of selling cars, and a brief stint in the banking industry. After resolving to follow his passion in small arms, White met Munhall; a small arms enthusiast, who began collecting ammunition cartridges at 10 years old. The two kindred spirits amassed the world’s most comprehensive collection of ammunition, guns and small-arms-related reference materials. From these roots grew the world’s most renowned independent ballistics laboratory.

Focused on law enforcement agencies that were short on ballistics expertise, HP White cut its teeth on forensics work – from murder investigations to explosion causation. HP White made one of its earliest contributions to pioneering process during WWII. Desperately in need of armor plating, the government contracted a Cleveland steel company to rapidly produce the needed armor. HP White implemented among the first armor quality control processes by developing a chronograph from a ballistic galvanometer by way of the condenser-discharge principle. This allowed accurate velocity measurements of .30 caliber penetration tests on production armor samples.

The culmination of White and Munhall’s years of cartridge collection efforts, and HP White’s next contribution to the ballistics industry, was the first release of the Cartridge Head Stamp Guide in December 1948. Fast forward to the summer of 1967 when HP White’s expertise and marksmanship were called upon by CBS News. In question was the Warren Report’s assertion that a lone assassin could get off three shots from a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle in approximately five seconds and hit a target moving at 11 mph. HP White fashioned a shooter’s tower and moving target track for the simulation, and proved for the report from Cronkite and Rather, that a lone shooter could in fact fire three shots and hit the mark.

This is just a sampling of the story that has unfolded over seven decades in our laboratory. Today, HP White has evolved into one of the world’s most comprehensive protective equipment testing laboratories. From our humble beginnings in an outbuilding in Cleveland, Ohio to today’s work with leading edge protective technologies; each of us at HP White takes seriously our role in continuing this legacy, and we hope to we have the opportunity to work with you soon.

Mike Parker
HP White Laboratory