Physics Lab(s), 1914

One of my favorite things in the book of Physics Building construction photos that I ran across last week was this nice image of some shiny new lab space.

Physics lab 1914

Something about it sent me back looking for the only other picture I can recall of  interior lab space in this building. This is one of the photos from the Norman Ricker, ’16, ’17, ’20, collection. It’s undated but it has to have been taken between 1914 and 1920, when Ricker left Rice.

Physics Lab Ricker c1914

Same room? I don’t think so. Look at how different the windows are. First thing I did was go and check the 1915 General Announcements to see how many student labs were in the building. A lot, it turns out, and very well equipped ones at that:

The main building contains four large students’ laboratories, two lecture rooms equipped for giving illustrated lectures, two classrooms, a library, and administrative offices. . . . Elevators for moving heavy apparatus are provided, and all laboratories, lecture rooms, and research rooms are equipped with individual service. for the students, of gas, water, steam, compressed air, vacuum, and both direct and alternating currents of electricity.

So these could easily be two different rooms. However, shamefully, I’m forced to admit  that I don’t know where these spaces are and I’m a little confused by the windows in the second picture. Zoom in on that image and you can see part of another building out the windows. That can be nothing but either the Administration Building or the amphitheater. So which is it? I feel like it must be Lovett but I’m not sure.


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10 Responses to Physics Lab(s), 1914

  1. marmer01 says:

    It’s not the same room. Probably just down the hall or across the hall, though. Where’s Stan Dodds when you need him?

  2. Melissa Kean says:

    I had that exact thought!

  3. Leoguy says:

    The room in the second photograph is at a corner of the Physics Building. Given the ‘single’ windows at the corner (as opposed to the ‘triple’ windows elsewhere), it must be the end of the building nearest Lovett Hall, where the tower elements of the exterior facade have a single second story window. I can’t tell for certain which building is visible through the windows, but my guess is Lovett Hall.

  4. Grungy says:

    Did you find the old sign graveyard?
    See the old Bonner Nuclear Laboratories sign anywhere?

  5. Marie Brannon says:

    In the bonus pic, it looks like there’s a tiny book on the grass. Of course it’s possible I’m just focused on books. Sigh. Anybody else see a book?

    • Francis Eugene "Gene" PRATT, Institute Class of '56 says:

      I saw the book.
      It was mine. I dropped it there.
      It was my dance program for the big dance that night.
      Do you see the names of all the girls who had committed to Terpsichore with me?
      (So what are YOU sighing about?)

  6. mjthannisch says:

    Thinking of labs, it might be interesting if you posted some pictures of the basement of the chem lab. Those glass drainage pipes (presuming they are still there) are fascinating.

  7. Paul Engle says:

    It looks like it could be the same lab, taken from opposite corner perspectives. In the first one, the two, differently-shaped corner windows from the second picture would be at your back. The entrance doors by the blackboard in the first picture would then open onto the second floor hallway, which is the configuration I remember for the lab at the eastern end of the building. In the second picture, you’re not all the way back in the corner, which is why you can’t see the sinks on the right and why the table count seems off.

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