The Colloid Lab, circa 1926

For a while now I’ve been trying to work out how the original Chemistry Building functioned. It’s undergone enough renovation at this point that much of its original sense has vanished. But a couple of things have turned up recently that provide great guidance. First, I came across the folder of photos that I talked about here. Then I found a copy of  the plan for the first floor while looking through a map drawer full of William Ward Watkin materials. (If we have a detailed set of drawings for the building, I’ve never found them.) The floor plan is a revelation:

New WWW Chemistry first floor plan

The very first thing I noticed was the huge stock room (more about this later) but then right next to it the Colloid Lab. I just happen to have a picture of the interior of that lab and its equipment, which looks quite impressive:

New Chem Harry Weiser lab colloids

I can also tell you who this lab belonged to: Harry Weiser, who was head of the Chemistry Department for over three decades as well as Dean for almost two:

Harry Weiser portrait mid1930s

Bonus: Back in the day those colloid chemists were pretty saucy fellows. I found this in his scrapbook.

New chem colloid program

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11 Responses to The Colloid Lab, circa 1926

  1. Don Johnson says:

    You missed the REALLY surprising thing: the presence of a “girl’s room” (might I add palatial) on the first floor and NO “boy’s room.” VERY advanced for its time, I would think, especially considering all the classrooms and labs. In Abercrombie where I “live”, I don’t believe there was a “girl’s room” in the original building.

  2. BJ says:

    (i) that Weiser photo, especially the way the face is moodily lit from the side and how it’s all silhouetted against the rows of light through the blinds, is beautiful and (ii) I really like the hand lettering in the saucy colloid chemist’s (HG’s) illustration — particularly that eccentric M.

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

      I thought that was just an illustration of a Mobius Strip (?sp).

      • almadenmike says:

        I don’t see any Mobius strip … but like that odd “M” in “Chemistry” and the 16mm film curling artfully down from the projection reel on the right side.

        Is “HG” identified anywhere inside the booklet?

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

          Doesn’t that curling film strip create a Mobius strip?
          If it doesn’t, then I’m going to break my slide rule!

        • almadenmike says:

          There’s a half-twist in the film beneath the sheaf of grain. But a Möbius strip is a closed loop that has a half-twist … thus the material making loop has but a single surface (not the two front-and-back surfaces that you’d expect, but just a single surface). The film spilling from the reel in the booklet cover does not make a closed loop, so I don’t believe it would be called a Möbius strip.

          Please don’t break your slide rule. It’s an endangered species!

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

          “… an endangered species!”
          So am I.

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