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.