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LEGENDS Table of Contents   
Year : 2006  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 53-54
Wilmer Ballou Eames (1914-2001)

PG Students, Meenakshi Ammal Dental College, Chennai, India

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How to cite this article:
Sachdeva GS, Baweja PS. Wilmer Ballou Eames (1914-2001). J Conserv Dent 2006;9:53-4

How to cite this URL:
Sachdeva GS, Baweja PS. Wilmer Ballou Eames (1914-2001). J Conserv Dent [serial online] 2006 [cited 2021 May 7];9:53-4. Available from:
Wilmer Ballou Eames, [Figure 1] one of the demigods in the pantheon of dentistry had a career spanning five decades. In addition to being an exceptional practitioner and academician he had a diverse range of hobbies ranging from photography to music. He was a man inspiring moral character with a quick wit as an asset and possessed an uncanny ability to see the higher side of everything.

May 8th 1914 can be marked as an auspicious day in the dental calendars, it was on this day that Dr Wilmer Ballou Eames was born in the Kansas City. He completed his schooling at Boulder High School, where as the editor of the school paper he developed interest in journalism and photography. While taking photos of the office of family dentist Dr John smith, little did he know that this would be the turning point of his life for it was during this session that Dr Smith motivated and convinced him to apply to dental school at Kansas.

Besides studying in the dental school, he funded his education by doing odd j obs such as singing, working as a night switch board operator and photography. Fatefully it was during a portrait shoot that he met his life partner Elane and married her in 1959 which was also the year of completion of his graduation.

He opened his private practice in Grand Junction but soon answered his nations call by being drafted into the US army where he rose to the rank of Major. After World War II he shared the practice with Dr. Miles Markey for 2 years following which he went to Glenwood springs, Colorado for 14 years. There he took an active interest in his community by serving as the school board president. During his private practice he began pioneering study clubs, throughout the west and also began lecturing internationally. It was here that he developed his well known 1:1 ratio for dental amalgam. This technique was published in JADA in 1959 and till date stands one of the most influential articles in print.

The impact of his publication was so profound that within a span of just 1.5 yrs, manufacturers had to change their instruction manual, and dental schools were compelled to revise their clinical procedures for amalgam trituration.

There was a drastic improvement in mercury hygiene standardization of clinical amalgam restorations. "Games technique" was overwhelmingly instilled into the high copper amalgam revolution in the late 60's. Today it would be unthinkable to triturate amalgam using 8:5 ratios which was used prior to his publication.

Dr. Eames had clocks in his office and house set at 12:59, and it was reported that is car license plate read 12:59 or 1 to l.Unfortunately this highly skilled clinician was forced to quit clinical practice on account of developing severe hand dermatitis Subsequently he was appointed as Professor at the Northwestern University in Chicago in1961. In a span of 6 years he was promoted to the rank of the Associate Dean of the Northwestern University. In 1967 he undertook the responsibility as the director of applied materials at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

During his 12 years at Emory, he received multiple grants from NIDR and industry to support his research. His interactions with the students were quite enriching. It was here that he published many of his 113 articles and 59 abstracts. Dr Eames left Emory in 1979 after scaling the administration heights of to become Professor Emeritus and retired in aurora, Colorado.

He did not let his retirement deter his thirst for knowledge and continued to write and review articles for journals, conduct research, and lecture internationally. He was appointed as a clinical professor at University of Colorado School of dentistry and became the editor of the journal of Colorado dental association.

Dr Eames has given over 600 lectures worldwide, and won many awards including: the Distinguished Service Award from the Board of Regents of the University of Colorado; Dentist of the Year, Colorado Academy of General Dentistry; the Honus Maximus Award, Denver Dental Society; the Alumni Achievement Award, University of Missouri-Kansas City; Man of the Year Award, American College of Dentists; the Callahan Memorial Award, Ohio Dental Association. the William John Gies Award, American College of Dentists; honorary member of Alpha Omega; Wilmer Souder Award from the IADR; Legends of Dentistry, American Academy of Gold Foil Operators; the Schweitzer Research Award, Greater New York Academy of Prosthodontics; the Hinman Distinguished Service Medallion, honorary member of American Dental Society of Europe; Emory University; the Hollenback Prize, Academy of Operative Dentistry; the Silver Fox Award, and many more.

September 6, 2001 was a dark day in the lives all those associated with dentistry as it was in this day Dr Eames passed away after a long illness. To say that Dr Eames service to dentistry has been enormous is an understatement. Although he is not amongst us anymore his spirit will live on as long as dentistry is practiced.

Correspondence Address:
Gurmeet Singh Sachdeva
PG Students, Meenakshi Ammal Dental College, Chennai
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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