Shellac Archive — BPI Shellac Research Bureau Annual Report 1937-1938

On the eve of the Second World War, much of the scholarly and technical research in the field of shellac moved from London to Brooklyn, NY.  There it flourished under the watchful eye of the brilliant William Howlett Gardner, perhaps the greatest coatings chemist in history,  at the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, one of the nation’s great academic centers for materials science.  The output of this enterprise was nothing short of amazing as several faculty and numerous undergraduate and graduate students conducted what is in my opinion the finest research ever executed on the subject.

One of my lifelong goals is compile a complete archive of their work, but for now I must content myself with merely having the most complete record of their work in existence.  (Remind me to tell you the story of how their archive was simply discarded years ago because they felt there would not be any more interest in the subject of shellac, and the heroic archivist who saved some of it.)

You might think an “Annual Report” would be sleep inducing.  Au contraire!  Each of the BPI/SRB Annual Reports is filled with impressive accounts of research I wish we knew better, glimpses into the possibilities for my own research, and nuggets of solid gold scattered throughout.

Here’s the Annual Report for 1937-1938.  Enjoy!