Neil Tillotson was born in 1898 and grew up in Beecher Falls, Vermont. His parents announced their separation when he was 16 years old. He left the family home to work in Boston, at a rubber company called Hood Rubber.
The war was under way, and Neil happened to attend military manoeuvres by the 7th Cavalry Company. He promptly left his job at the factory to sign up, and spent the next two years on horseback fighting Pancho Villa along the Mexican border! When he returned, he resumed his employment at the factory before transferring to the company’s research department. His bosses were thrilled by several of his innovations. In 1931, during the Great Depression, Hood Rubber closed down for two weeks. This period of unemployment proved inspirational for Neil and, with the help of his family, he invented a balloon with cat ears thanks to a latex-dipped cardboard mould. That same year, he sold five million balloons, netting a $5,000 profit.
Five years later, in 1937, he founded his own business in larger facilities. After the Second World War, his range of products expanded to include latex gloves and baby diapers. The Tillotson company devised a number of innovative processes at its facilities.
In 1954 Neil Tillotson acquired the Balsams Grand Resort in Dixville Notch, at an auction.
In 1964 Tillotson had Dixville Notch incorporated so that the town’s residents could vote on site, and introduced midnight voting.
At 92 years old, he invented nitrile medical gloves. At age 100, he was still shuttling back and forth between his headquarters in Boston and his home in Dixville Notch.
He died in 2001, at the age of 102, bequeathing the bulk of his fortune to philanthropic initiatives. Tillotson was dedicated to the development of local communities, here in Coaticook as well as in New Hampshire, Vermont and Guatemala.