- Collection ID:
Physical Sciences, Division of (NMAH, Smithsonian Institution).
- Physical Description:
Wurtz's scheme, presented in a report to the stockholders, was a new method for the dry distillation of non-caking coal to obtain liquid oils and paraffin. Included in this box are: the report to the stockholders of the Union Chemical Manufacturing Co., 1883; patent specifications, 1881; correspondence with the Patent Office, prospectus on coal distillation, 1885; a notebook of minutes from meetings of Union Chemical Manufacturing Co., 1881-1883.
Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
These papers include items concerning the Union Chemical Manufacturing Company, 1883-1885, on dry destructive distillation of coal to make liquid oils and paraffins, including: patent specifications, 1881; report to the stockholders of the Company, 1883; correspondence with the Patent Office; correspondence regarding the Company, 1883-1884; prospectus on coal distillation, 1885; and a notebook of minutes from meetings of the Company, 1881-1883.
Also included is material relating to Wurtz's interest in petroleum distillation, 1884-1885, consisting of newsclippings, contracts, proofs and gallerys of prospectus, and correspondence with perspective investors. Also, correspondence with A.R. Leeds and F.W. Clarke and other chemists regarding Wurtz's desire to find a new assistant; "The Book of Inventions, made by Henry Wurtz from about 1850, Compilation and Arrangement, from Scattered Notes, Commenced in September 1861, by H.W."; a copy of a letter to Joseph Henry from Wurtz relating to warlike inventions, November 9, 1861; photographs of Wurtz family; certificate of membership in the Whig Society at the College of New Jersey (later, Princeton), 1848; and scientific instruments catalogues, 1882-1884.
Divided into six series: (1) Union Chemical Manufacturing Company, 1883-1885; (2) Petroleum Distillation and Miscellaneous Chemical Consulting, 1884-1885; (3) Book of Inventions, 1861; (4) Wurtz Biographical Material and Family Photographs; (5) Publications; (6) Whig Society Certificate, 1848.
Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Henry Wurtz (c. 1828-1910), chemist and editor, contributed to both the theory and practice of chemistry. He studied at the College of New Jersey (later Princeton), where his interest in scientific pursuits was awakened by studies under Joseph Henry and John Torrey. Between 1854 and 1856 he was state chemist and geologist of the New Jersey Geological Survey. In 1858 he was appointed professor of chemistry and pharmacy at the National Medical College of Washington, D.C. (later George Washington University). During this connection he served as chemical examiner in the United States Patent Office. In 1861 in New York he opened a private laboratory for general consulting work. During the years 1877-1887 he was engaged in developing processes for increasing the yields of paraffin oils and other by products of the distillation of coal. He devoted the remaining years of his life to his private consulting practice and took out numerous patents relating to the distillation of paraffin hydrocarbons and other chemical products.
Opened a private laboratory in New York for general consulting work, 1861. During 1877-1887 developed processes for increasing yields of paraffin oils and other by-products of coal distillation. Devoted remaining years of his life to private consulting practice and received numerous patents relating to the distillation of paraffin hydrocarbons and other chemical products.
Originally processed by Robert S. Harding, Ann Seeger, and Jeffrey Sturchio in March, 1982. Revised by Robert S. Harding, October, 1996. Second revision to finding aid by Sara Sterkenburg, April, 2013
2 glass plate negatives removed from collection and held in OIPP library with negative numbers 83-1890 & 83-1891.
Collection processed by Robert Harding, 1982
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Richard Wurtz (Litchfield, Connecticut).
Using the Collection
Henry Wurtz Papers, 1861-1885, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Collection transferred to the Archives Center from the Division of Physical Sciences (now the Division of Medicine and Science) April 5, 1983.
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012