The Chemical Heritage Foundation is home to many significant collections relevant to the history of chemistry. Click on the categories above to access the online collections. You can find information on how to make the best use of the collections, to make an appointment, or arrange for rights usage under How to Access the Collections.
Scientific instruments are the tools of the chemists’ trade. CHF is one of the few institutions in the world that is actively collecting and promoting the study of analytical tools that helped shape the modern world. From early handheld balances to late-20th-century mass spectrometers, CHF seeks to preserve the material heritage of chemistry.
Strengths of CHF’s instrument collection include the Beckman IR-1 spectrophotometer, John Fenn’s electrospray mass spectrometer, and Bruce Merrifield’s solid-phase peptide synthesizer. This collection is supplemented by a vast array of instrumentation manuals and trade literature.
Winning the Nobel Prize takes years of hard work, determination, and occasionally a truly remarkable instrument that helps to open the door to new possibilities. Many of these instruments are created by or for the researchers to address a specific problem that has arisen; the most common being that the instrumentation available will not do what the researcher wants it to do. CHF is very fortunate to have many original Nobel Prize winning instruments in its collection, as well as a large collection of Nobel Laureate archives.