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Photographs

Science History Institute/Conrad Erb

The Science History Institute’s Image Archives, part of the Othmer Library of Chemical History, contains an extensive collection of photographic prints, negatives, slides, and advertisements reflecting the chemical history of the last century.


A diversity of compelling subjects and research interests are represented in the photograph collection, including scientific instruments and apparatus, laboratory facilities, industrial production, advertising and marketing, and even the visual history of chemistry. In addition to these topics, the collection also boasts a significant number of portraits and informal snapshots of prominent chemists and industrialists, including Leo Baekeland, Herbert H. Dow, the DuPont family, Donald F. Othmer, William Henry Perkin, and Rosalind Sussman Yalow.

For additional information about the photograph collection, research assistance, and general questions, contact reference@sciencehistory.org.

Accessing Our Photograph Collection

Search or browse our growing collection of digitized photographs.

 

In addition to our Digital Collections, inventories and finding aids for some of our most notable photograph collections, including the records of the Dow Chemical Company and Hercules Inc., are available in our library’s online catalog, Midon. The genre terms "photographs" and "photograph collections" will locate photographic materials in the online catalog and can be used in conjunction with keywords in other search fields. In addition, a significant portion of materials are discoverable through our collections management database, which is available to researchers on-site with the assistance of the curator of photographic and moving image collections.  To access this service, please schedule a visit

Rights and Reproductions

Digital reproductions of photographs, archival materials, and other items from the Institute’s collections are available through our Collections staff. For more information on obtaining digital reproductions, click here.

Collection Highlights

Browse the slideshow for curated higlights from our photograph collection.

 
Wilson College chemistry club, ca. 1937
Group photograph depicting members of the chemistry club at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.

View this image in our Digital Collections.

Science History Institute
Portable Beckman pH Meter in use at Althouse Research Laboratory, 1951
View of George Garcelon using a portable Beckman pH Meter in the Research Laboratory at the Althouse Chemical Company plant in Reading, Pennsylvania.

View this image in our Digital Collections.

Science History Institute
Apparatus for nitration of organic substances, April 1926
L.A. Pinck demonstrating an apparatus used for the nitration of organic substances at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Fixed Nitrogen Research Laboratory located in Washington, D.C.

View this image in our Digital Collections.

Science History Institute
Saran bubble at Dow manufacturing plant, ca. 1980s
General view of a saran bubble being extruded from a rolling machine at a Dow Chemical Company facility.

Science History Institute
Nylon yarn inspection at DuPont facility, 1938
Violet Grenda inspecting nylon yarn at an unidentified DuPont facility during the early stages of nylon production and research.

View this image in our Digital Collections.

Science History Institute
Cutting powder strands at Radford Ordnance Works, after 1940 - before 1946
General view of a female employee cutting strands of .50 caliber powder extruded from a press to the proper length at the Radford Ordnance Works in Radford, Virginia.

View this image in our Digital Collections.

Science History Institute