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Abbat was born in Le Trait, Normandy to a shipbuilder. He met Marina Lardé at the Sorbonne and they were married, migrating to the United States in 1953. In 1962 Abbat proposed to Norman McCulloch to make a ballistically equivalent bowling pin out of polyurethane foam. Bowling pins were then made out of wood, with two cylindrical voids, and covered with a thin coating. The polyurethane pin would last much longer than the wooden pin. The American Bowling Congress were against the idea because it would put Brunswick and AMF, the biggest bowling pin makers, out of business.
Abbat died in Raleigh, North Carolina of colon cancer. He is survived by his wife Marina Abbat, his daughter Kate Threefoot, and his son Pierre Abbat.
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