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Beckman, Arnold O. (Chemist, Inventor, Philanthropist)

 Person

Dates

  • Existence: 1900 - 2004

Biographical/Historical

Background: Founder of Beckman Instruments, Inc.; Chairman, Caltech Board of Trustees, 1964-74 (Trustee 1953-present); Caltech Assistant Professor of Chemistry, 1929-1940; Caltech alumnus (PhD, 1928).
Biographical/Historical Description: Arnold Orville Beckman founded Beckman Instruments, Inc. in 1935 to develop and market a pH meter to measure acidity of lemon juice for a Southern California citrus processing plant. In 1940, he introduced two additional products, the quartz photoelectric spectrophotometer and the precision helical potentiometer, or Helipot, that marked further pioneering advances in measurement technology. Beckman Instruments became a major international manufacturer of instruments. In 1982 Beckman Instruments merged with SmithKline Co. of Philadelphia to form SmithKline Beckman Co., one of the world's leading health care and life sciences companies. Through the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, Dr. and the late Mrs. Beckman have contributed substantially to advancement of education and research.
Biographical/Historical Collection Notes: Oral History, 1978. This 64 page oral history is based on two interviews and provides an overview of Beckman's life and work from his childhood through his service on the Caltech Board of Trustees.

Papers, 1954-1989. Primarily printed matter relating to Beckman's philanthropy, including newspaper clippings, photos, albums and scrapbooks. Two boxes contain biographical newspaper clippings from the 1950s through 1989. Also included is a small collection of correspondence with noteworthy persons, plaques, honorary certificates, and audio tapes.

Collection size: 12 boxes, 3 storage boxes and 1 oversize box; 9 linear ft.

Finding aid available at the Archives.

Photo of Arnold O. Beckman (PhotoNet).

Found in 53 Collections and/or Records:

80th Birthday Party

 Unprocessed
Identifier: 1986-00043

80th Birthday Party

 Unprocessed
Identifier: 2004-00021

92nd Birthday Party

 Unprocessed
Identifier: 1992-00011

Arnold Beckman Video Clips

 Unprocessed
Identifier: 2005-00006

Atomizer-burner, acetylene

 Unprocessed
Identifier: 1989-00047

Arnold Orville Beckman Papers

 Collection
Identifier: 10103-MS
Overview The Arnold Beckman materials are primarily printed matter relating to Beckman's philanthropy, including newspaper clippings, photos, albums and scrapbooks. There are also two archival boxes of biographical newspaper clippings from the 1950s through 1989. Although there is only a small amount of correspondence (less than one archival box), many of the correspondents are noteworthy figures, including several politicians. The three storage cartons contain photo albums and scrapbooks. The...
Dates: 1919-1989

Commencement Speech 1986

 Unprocessed
Identifier: 2007-00020

Happy 90th birthday certificate

 Unprocessed
Identifier: 2012-00023