Maurice Hasler

Maurice Hasler

Spectroscopist Maurice Hasler was a first-generation American born of Swiss descent in New York City. He earned both a bachelor’s degree (1929) and a master’s degree (1933) from the California Institute of Technology. In Los Angeles in 1934 Hasler cofounded Applied Research Laboratories (ARL) with Roland Lindhurst, a Caltech-trained electrical engineer. ARL began as a consulting business for physics, engineering, spectroscopy, and instrument design, and quickly grew. Hasler and Lindhurst designed and manufactured spectrographic instruments, densitometers, and comparators that made spectroscopy an efficient technique for routine analysis.

As it was for many other instrument manufacturers, World War II proved a decisive period in ARL’s development. The company succeeded in responding to demands for analytical instruments. The growing aluminum industry, for example, which supplied products for aircraft manufacture, ordered dozens of analytical instruments to ensure quality control in its laboratories. ARL also developed a relationship with Dietert Company of Detroit, which led ARL to develop products as diverse as film developers and processors. After the war ended, ARL expanded its range of spectroscopic instruments, particularly in the area of X-ray fluorescence, to include X-ray spectrometers, electron microprobes, and scanning microscopes.

At the time of Lindhurst’s death, in 1954, the company was averaging some $2 million in sales. However, Hasler wanted to concentrate on pure research. In 1958 ARL was sold to Bausch and Lomb, and Hasler began to build an extensive research facility in Goleta, California. Unfortunately, Hasler died in 1968 before the lab was fully opened.

Hasler was an outstanding inventor; his first patent was granted in 1940 and his last (for “A Peaked Monochrometer Having a Sharply Blazed Diffraction Grating”) just a few months before his death. Hasler published over fifty articles and papers, which appeared in such publications as the Journal for Optical Research and the Analytical Chemist. In 1958 he and Howard Cary were recipients of the distinguished Beckman Award in Chemical Instrumentation. ARL still survives today as part of Thermo Electron Corporation.


A 1979 Applied Research Laboratories (ARL) ad.


Arnold O. Beckman

CHF’s Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry was started with a generous grant from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation in 1987.


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