Roy Eddleman is CEO and founder of Spectrum Laboratories, an industry leader in filtration and bioprocessing products.
Born in 1940 and raised in Kannapolis, North Carolina, Eddleman became fascinated by chemistry at an early age, experimenting with Chemcraft and Gilbert chemistry sets. By the time he was in the sixth grade, he had assembled his own laboratory in the basement of the family home. It was his eighth-grade science teacher, however, who encouraged him to pursue chemistry seriously. With her as his mentor, he entered science fairs, winning numerous prizes.
At 18, Eddleman left Kannapolis to attend the University of North Carolina, then left for Los Angeles in 1960, the middle of his second year. Planning to complete his chemical studies at UCLA, he went to work for CalBiochem as an analytical biochemist, but he fell in love with the commercial and entrepreneurial dimensions of chemistry and never looked back.
Nine years later, Eddleman founded Spectrum Medical Industries to create radioimmunoassay tests for clinical chemistry. The tests themselves were a commercial failure, but Spectrum also sold the equipment used in such assays, and that enterprise did succeed. Spectrum Laboratories, as it is now known, has grown ever since.
Eddleman has patented (with others) many products, including the successful "fleaker," a combination of the Griffin beaker and the Erlenmeyer flask, and coauthored a series of patents involving magnetic particle separation for clinical chemistry assays.
Art Meets Chemistry
Eddleman was introduced to paintings of early chemical scenes as a teenager by the laboratory supplies catalog of Eimer and Amend, a firm owned by Fisher Scientific. Besides instruments, the catalog advertised reproductions of paintings from Chester Fisher’s alchemical art collection, and Eddleman ordered copies of these.
When he started Spectrum, Eddleman began his own art collection, modeling it after Fisher’s. His purpose has remained to build a collection that memorializes chemistry. He particularly values paintings that depict the business of chemistry and wants it known that alchemists manufactured dyes, paints, and medicines and helped improve the quality of metals and glass. As he puts it, "People need to realize that alchemy was not simply quackery but includes real science."
The Eddleman and Fisher Collections at CHF and the Eddleman Institute
Roy Eddleman donated his collection of 17th- to 19th-century paintings to the Chemical Heritage Foundation in November 2002, along with funds to create the Roy Eddleman Institute for display and preservation of CHF’s art and artifacts. Together with the collection of Chester G. Fisher, donated to CHF in March 2000, the Eddleman and Fisher Collections are one of the largest collections of alchemical art in the world.