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Willis Appleford Slater Papers


Held at: Lehigh University Special Collections [Contact Us]

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Lehigh University Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Willis Appleford Slater was born in the town of Polo, Illinois, on October 14, 1878. At the age of 19, he attended Valparaiso University at Valparaiso, Indiana for two years. Two years later in 1906 Slater furthered his studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana, Illinois, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Municipal and Sanitary Engineering. Following his graduation, Slater married Clara Mary Knodle and also became a Research Fellow in the Engineering Experiment Station in 1908. Deciding to specialize in reinforced concrete, he graduated with a Master of Science in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics in 1910, also from the University of Illinois. He later received the professional degree of Civil Engineer in 1912 in recognition of his research, and stayed at the University of Illinois, becoming a Research Assistant Professor in 1915. At the onset of the First World War, Slater was called by the Bureau of Standards to serve as an Engineer Physicist, creating reinforced concrete ships for the Emergency Fleet Corporation. The research gained in this project was presented to the American Concrete Institute in 1919 and Slater was awarded the Wason Medal of the Institute in 1920. After the war, he stayed with the Bureau of Standards until 1928, when he took the position of Research Professor of Engineering Materials and Director of Fritz Engineering Laboratory at Lehigh University. In 1929, he was elected vice president of the Lehigh Valley section of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Later that year, he died on October 5, 1931.

The scope of the collection includes four series: 1. Slater's student years, in which there is only his master's thesis; 2. University of Illinois Employment, containing test reports that Slater consulted for, most notably the investigation paper from the Knickerbocker Theater disaster; 3. U.S. Bureau of Standards Employment, which contains reports, calculations, and journals belonging to Slater during his time at the bureau, including papers on the Stevenson Creek Dam; 4. Lehigh University Employment, which includes test reports from Fritz lab and project reports, including the Muncy Dam project.

Materials transferred in August 2001 from Civil and Environmental Engineering Department by Eleanor S. Nothelfer, librarian at Fritz Engineering Library.

Separated Materials in Large Folder

Access Restrictions

Collection housed remotely. Users need to contact 24 hours in advance.

Use Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Please inquire about copyright information.

Collection Inventory

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94887. Photographs.
Box 0100 Folder 01
Scope and Contents

Photographs of floor tests, slab tests, and the construction of a brick oven, 1911-1915. Includes test result photographs, construction workers buildings concrete slabs, and Willis Slater on site, pictured in "Fig. 35".

Scope and Contents

(On brown paper) Pictures depicting the construction of the brick oven for the Duhrkop Oven Company.

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94888. Reinforced Concrete Slab Tests.
Box 0100 Folder 2B
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94889. Gypsum Tests.
Box 0100 Folder 2C
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94890. Corrugated Bar Company Test Report #1.
Box 0100 Folder 03
Scope and Contents

Research Department, Corrugated Bar Company, 1911, "A test of corr-plate floors in a factory building for the carlton dry goods company St. Louis, MO." Photographs of the factory and testing sites and a report, data sheets, and blueprints on the testing results and setup.

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94891. Corrugated Bar Company Test Report #2.
Box 0100 Folder 04
Scope and Contents

Research Department, Corrugated Bar Company, 1911, "Test on a corr-plate floor in the powers warehouse, Minneapolis, Minn." Includes report on testing, data on testing, and blueprints of the test design. Copy of a correspondence from James G. Houghton, Inspector of Buildings to Frank J. Trelease of the Corrugated Bar Company.

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94892. Corrugated Bar Company Test Report #3.
Box 0100 Folder 05
Scope and Contents

Research Department, Corrugated Bar Company, 1912, "A test of corr-plate floors in an addition to the plant of the Ford Motor Co. Detroit, Mich." Photograph of the test site, report on testing, data from experiment, and blueprints of testing.

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94893. Corrugated Bar Company Test Report #4.
Box 0100 Folder 06
Scope and Contents

Research Department, Corrugated Bar Company, 1912, "Barr Building Test Panel, report on test of a panel of corr-tile floor construction." Photograph of the test site, report on testing, data from experiment, and blueprints of testing.

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94894. Corrugated Bar Company Test Report #5.
Box 0100 Folder 07
Scope and Contents

Research Department, Corrugated Bar Company, 1913, "Reinforced Concrete flat slab floors in a silk mill, report on a test of corr-plate floors in a building for the Niagara Silk Mills, Sweeney Industrial Properties, North Tonawanda, N.Y."

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94895. Laboratory of Applied Mechanics Notebook.
Box 0100 Folder 08
Scope and Contents

Laboratory of Applied Mechanics, "Bk. 1 Slater's Data," September, 1913 Notes, data, and blueprints from concrete slab testing.

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94896. Corrugated Bar Company Test Report #6.
Box 0100 Folder 09
Scope and Contents

Research Department, Corrugated Bar Company, October 1913, "Test of corr-plate floor Jersey City Dairy Company's Building, Jersey City, N.J." Report on experiment, data sheets, photographs from testing site, blueprints of test, and correspondence from O. W. Shelly to Corrugated Bar Company

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94897. Slater Notebook #1.
Box 0100 Folder 10
Scope and Contents

Willis Slater, February 1914 - March 1916, "Miscellaneous Calculations, effect of tensile strength of concrete on compressive stress" Calculations, drawings, diagrams, and graphs detailing research subject included.

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94898. Testing Report on Shulze Baking Co.
Box 0100 Folder 11
Scope and Contents

Willis Slater, July 13, 1914, "Test of Reinforced Concrete Flat Slab Floor: Shulze Baking Company Building Chicago Illinois" Included are photographs of the building and testing sites, blueprints of testing plans and layout, report on the testing, and data sheets.

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94899. International Hall Data Log.
Box 0100 Folder 12
Scope and Contents

Willis Slater, 1915, "International Hall, Plotted Data Log of Test", Data sheets and graphs of data from investigation and photographs of the building, of construction crews, and of testing are included.

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94900. International Hall Test Correspondence.
Box 0100 Folder 13
Scope and Contents

December 14, 1912 - May 26, 1915, International Hall, These correspondences are between Willis Slater, Frank A. Randall, the chief engineer of Morey, Newgard & Co, J. Norman Jensen, an architectural engineer for the City of Chicago Department of Buildings, Professor William H. Kavanaugh of the University of Minnesota, Charles A. Phelps, Attorney at Law, and C.A.P. Turner, the owner of Turner Manufacturing Plants and the creator of the "Mushroom System", C.L. Rodgers, Chief Engineer of Union Stock Yards and Transit Co., C.M. Leonard, the owner of Leonard Construction Co. and competitor of Turner's, Andrew Hummeland, Attorney at Law, A.R. Lord of the Leonard Construction Company. The topics of this set is the testing of the Turner Mushroom System of Reinforced Concrete at the International Hall, the U.S. Yards and Transit Co. building and the issues resulting from this including billing and salaries, poor test results on buildings, and the lawsuit against Turner.

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94901. Schuster Company Testing Report.
Box 0100.02 Folder 01
Scope and Contents

Schuster Engineering Company, May 20, 1917, "Report of Loading Tests Made Upon Three Schuster System Reinforced Hollow Tile Floors Installed By the Schuster Engineering Company, 21 Park Row, New York City" Includes report, data, and blueprints of testing. Also includes pictures of the testing site and workers and engineers on site.

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94902. Map of California Mariposa Quadrangle.
Box 0100.02 Folder 02
Scope and Contents

Department of the Interior, John Barton Payne, Secretary, U.S. Geological Survey, George Otis Smith, Director, 1920 reprint of July 1912 map. Topographical map of Mariposa Quadrangle in California created by the State of California Department of Engineering.

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94903. Bureau of Public Roads Data.
Box 0100.02 Folder 03
Scope and Contents

Bureau of Public Roads, December 1920, "Results of Earth Pressure Tests from Bureau of Public Roads." Includes blueprints of tests and data from the tests.

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94904. Table of Contents to a Lehigh Testing Report.
Box 0100.02 Folder 04
Scope and Contents

Willis Slater, 1921, "Shear Tests at Lehigh University." Table of contents to a report that is not available.

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94905. Bureau of Standards Memorandum.
Box 0100.02 Folder 05
Scope and Contents

Willis Slater, Department of Commerce, Bureau of Standards, August 24, 1921, "Permissible Stresses for Steel in Buildings." This is a memo written by Slater pertaining to the stresses allowed in steel buildings. This became an issue due to the increase in permissible stress in Buffalo, NY in order to expand the Hotel Statler. The memo includes an introduction from Slater, an attached letter from F. E. Turneaure, Dean of the College of Mechanics and Engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and calculations and arguments on permissible stresses.

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94906. Knickerbocker Theatre Incident Papers.
Box 0100.02 Folder 06
Scope and Contents

Willis Slater, American Association of Engineers, January 28, 1922 to February 25, 1922. The Knickerbocker Theatre collapsed on January 28, 1922 and killed ninety seven people. These papers include reports on the cause of the failure, calculations and diagrams detailing the incident, and correspondence on the the investigation team and one from C.R. Thomas, Manager of "The Engineer's Business Magazine."

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94907. 0100.02.07 - Duhrkop Oven Company Tests.
Scope and Contents

Collection pertaining to the testing and optimization of building brick ovens.

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94908. 0100.02.07A - Data, notes, and graphs from tests, Thermocouples, strain gage, level roading, changes in level.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94909. 0100.02.07B - Correspondence on compensation for testing.
Scope and Contents

Correspondence between Willis Slater of the U.S. Bureau of Standards, A.T. Koehler, Secretary of the American Society of Engineers, and J.C. Emley, the contact, and supposed owner, of Duhrkop Oven Company. These pertained to the payment required of the Duhrkop Oven Company as compensation for the testing.

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94910. 0100.02.07C - Schedule of testing.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94911. 0100.02.07D - Upper and Lower Anchorage Blueprints.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94912. 0100.02.07E - Correspondences between J.C. Emley and Willis Slater about expansion and contraction in the oven and compensation for testing after that job.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94913. 0100.02.07F - Correspondences between J.C. Emley and Willis Slater about the construction of the ovens and the possible outcomes of expansion.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94914. 0100.02.08 - Notes and Computations Notebook.
Scope and Contents

Willis Slater, Sections: 1. Computations, diagrams, and test results on product of surface area and average diameter of grains, 2. Computations and Notes on R.C. Mine Stoppings, 3. Computations of spiral columns made in reply to letter from Ohio stadium roof, 4. Computations of reinforced corre floors for houses.

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94915. 0100.02.09 - Shear Tests of Reinforced Concrete Report.
Scope and Contents

Willis Slater, 1924, "Shear Tests of Reinforced Concrete Beams, Figures and Tables," data tables and graphs of the results of the tests, photographs of testing and of crack patterns in the beams.

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94916. 0100.02.10 - Arch Dam Investigation Folders, Willis Slater.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94917. 0100.02.10A - Folder 2, 1925, Discussion and plan for testing of the Stevenson Creek Dam, name and corporate list of those included in the investigation. Letter from Fred A. Noetzli, Secretary of the Engineering Foundation Committee on Arch Dam Investigation; mention of Slater's recommendations for strain-gage measurements.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94918. 0100.02.10B - Folder 5, November 1925, Blueprints for layout of telemeters, micrometers, deflection towers, and strain gages. Blueprints of the area around dam, of the deflection towers and micrometers, and the design of the Fulcrum Plate Strain Gage.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94919. 0100.02.10C - Folder 8, December 1925, Telemeter Station diagrams and Notes on diagrams.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94920. 0100.02.10D - Folder 9, Data from strain-gage testing, Slater's personal notes on site, Report on strain-gage measurements.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94921. 0100.02.10E - Folder 10, Blueprints on the Radius Meter with casting plug and locking collar.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94922. 0100.02.11 - Slater's Diary from the Stevenson Creek Dam.
Scope and Contents

Willis Slater and Inge Lyse, Dec. 28, 1925 to April 30, 1926,

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94923. 0100.02.11A - First section of diary details the experimental process and what Slater did during the experiments. pgs. 1 to 47.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94924. 0100.02.11B - Included is a copy of Inge Lyse's diary from the testing that includes the dates from March 18, 1926 to April 30, 1926.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94925. Report on Stevenson Creek Dam.
Box 0100.03 Folder 01
Scope and Contents

Willis Slater and dam investigation team, "Preliminary Report of Tests on Stevenson Creek Dam, No. 2". Includes information on the construction, method of testing, measurement instruments, arrangement of measurement instruments, and setup of testing.

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94926. 0100.03.02 - Thesis Paper.
Scope and Contents

Russell Arthur Nelson and Bernard Frank Smith, "A Study of Test Data Showing the Relation of the Comprehensive Strength of Concrete to the Water-Cement Ratio, Space-Cement Ratio, and Grading of the Aggregate." 1926, University of Wisconsin. Thesis submitted for a Bachelor of Science Civil Engineering Course.

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94927. 0100.03.03 - Diary from the Stevenson Creek Dam.
Scope and Contents

Inge Lyse, March 18, 1926 to September 30, 1926, "Diary of Mr. Lyse" Lyse's diary recording the testing of the dam. (See 0100.02.10B)

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94928. 0100.03.04 - Stevenson Creek Dam Data and Analysis.
Scope and Contents

Willis Slater, 1926, "Sketches".

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94929. 0100.03.04A - Blueprint of the planned design of the dam.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94930. 0100.03.04B - Sieve, strain, and temperature data and analysis.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94931. 0100.03.04C - page 30, investigation and data of the height, flow, and velocity of water passing through the dam.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94932. 0100.03.04D - Telemeter and Clinometer readings on strain and deflections.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94933. 0100.03.04E - Moments and Elasticity of the Dam.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94934. 0100.03.04F - Micrometer Readings.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94935. 0100.03.04G - Detailed diagrams depicting strain and deflection data on the dam.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94936. 0100.03.04H - Crack Analysis, p. 54 - 55.

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94937. 0100.03.05 - Muncy Dam Collection.
Scope and Contents

0100.03.05A - (Starting from the back of the book) Calculations, data, and notes from the construction and planning of the Dam

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94938. 0100.03.05B - Correspondence between Willis Slater, S.C. Hollister, J.D. Carpenter of Gannett, Seelye, & Fleming Engineers, Inc., and Charles E. Ryder, chief engineer of the Water and Power Resources Board in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. They discuss the planning and initial analysis of the Muncy Dam.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94939. 0100.03.05C - Gannett, Seelye, & Fleming Engineers, Inc., March 28, 1928, "Specification: Concrete Arch Dam on Glade Run for Muncy Water Supply Co. Muncy, Pennsylvania." Specifications to the method and preparations for the construction of the dam and includes notes from Slater.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94940. 0100.03.05D - Correspondence between Slater, Ryder, Hollister, and Carpenter discussing the specifications and the due date for the report on the dam.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94941. 0100.03.05E - Muncy Water Supply Co. blueprints on the topography of the surrounding area of the dam and the design of the dam itself.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94942. 0100.03.05F - Correspondence between Slater and Frederick H. Weed, Chief Engineer for Gannett, Seelye, & Fleming Engineers Inc. discussing the suggestions made by Slater.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94943. 0100.03.05G - Correspondence between Slater and Ryder discussing Slater presenting his results of the investigation.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94944. 0100.03.06 - Fred A. Noetzli, Memorandum: Raising of the Stevenson Creek Dam, April 1928 to June 1928.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94945. 0100.03.06A - Correspondence between Fred A. Noetzli, Alfred D. Flinn of the Engineering Foundation, H.W. Dennis of the Southern California Edison Company, Charles Derleth Jr. of the University of California, and J.L. Savage, chief designing engineer of the Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation, discussing Noetzli's idea to raise the Stevenson Creek Dam and test it to failure.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94946. 0100.03.06B - Blueprint of Noetzli's proposed raising of the dam.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94947. 0100.03.07 - Report on the Civil Engineering Inspection Trip - 1929,.
Scope and Contents

Bruce Johnson, University of Illinois, information and details on senior Civil Engineering student trip to Chicago to observe and inspect construction sites. On page 5, there is an interesting story about safety conditions in construction sites.

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94948. 0100.03.08 - C1 Cement Papers - September 1929 to December 1934.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94949. Correspondence of Inge Lyse.
Scope and Contents

Correspondence of Inge Lyse, Research Associate Professor of Engineering Materials at Lehigh, and the Lehigh Portland Cement Company discussing the testing and acquisition of cement at Lehigh University for testing at Fritz Lab.

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94950. 0100.03.08B - Blueprint of data from the testing of Lehigh Portland Cement Company cement in Fritz Lab.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94951. 0100.03.08C - Correspondents between Inge Lyse, Lyman J. Briggs, acting director of the Department of Commerce Bureau of Standards, H.E. Newcomer of the Cement Reference Laboratory of the Bureau of Standards, discussing the inspection of Lehigh University's cement laboratory.
Scope and Contents

0100.03.08D - Correspondents between Inge Lyse and Thaddeus Merriman (Lehigh Class of 1897) of the Board of Water Supply City of New York Engineering Bureau discussing cement testing and acquisition.

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94952. 0100.03.08E - Correspondence between Inge Lyse and Morris Black, owner of Morris Black Building Material, Machinery, discussing what cements would be provided to Lehigh for testing.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94953. 0100.03.08F - Letter from the American Society for Testing Materials, R. E. Hess, Assistant Secretary, informing about the inspection of cement laboratories.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94954. 0100.03.08G - List of different brands of cement tested in this testing period at Lehigh.
/repositories/3/archival_objects/94955. 0100.03.09 - Hydraulic Laboratory Bulletin.
Scope and Contents

Lyman J. Briggs, Director, U.S. Department of Commerce National Bureau of Standards, "National Bureau of Standards Hydraulic Laboratory Bulletin Series A, Current Hydraulic Laboratory Research in the United States", January 1, 1937. Listing of projects and laboratories for hydraulics research.

/repositories/3/archival_objects/94956. Master's thesis, 1910.
Scope and Contents

Willis Appleford Slater, 1910 master thesis in Civil Engineering submitted to University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), titled "A study of reinforced concrete slabs"

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