Main content

Photographs from the Records of the Commercial Solvent Corporation


Held at: Science History Institute Archives [Contact Us]315 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Science History Institute Archives. 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

Dr. Richard S. Egly was the Associate Scientific Director of the Research and Development Department of the Commercial Solvents Corporation (CSC) in Terre Haute, Indiana. CSC was started at the end of World War I as a producer of acetone and butanol, using the patents of Dr. Chaim Weizmann. Although they grew into a full service chemical corporation, explosives were always a prominent part of their activities. Richard S. Egly was a specialist in the production and refinement of nitropolymers for propellant usage. He began working at CSC as a chemical engineer in 1940 and remained as a part-time consultant after his retirement in 1977.

This collection consists of primarily black and white print photographs of various sizes (bulk 8x10) and sets of scrapbook pages with photographs pasted onto paper pertaining to the Commercial Solvents Corporation's activities with nitroparaffins in the 1950s through the 1970s. The photographs depict the CSC's nitroparaffin plant in Terre Haute, Indiana, nitromethane explosions at Mt. Polaski and in the plains, nitroparaffin plant accidents in 1975 and 1976, a few photographs from conventions, and portraits of employee Richard S. Egly, including his company ID card from 1942. This collection also contains an assembled scrapbook entitled "Photos Illustrating Safety of Shipping Nitromethane in Drums" sent from Richard S. Egly to Lowell D. Pals on June 11, 1981. This scrapbook consists of photocopied pages with text and images, most with print photographs pasted on, documenting various tests performed with Ireco staff from June and July of 1958, as well as photographs of a Truck-Rail accident in Monticello, Arkansas in 1962. The scrapbook was rehoused and placed in a 3-ring box so that it remains browse-able.

Gift of the Egly family, 2005.

Proccessed by Amanda Antonucci and Jennifer Nieling in 2007. Object identification numbers were assigned to individual photographs during processing. In 2015, the scrapbook containing object numbers 2005.026.046-067 was removed from its original binder in Box 1 and re-housed in Box 2 with the original order maintained.

Science History Institute Archives
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid created by Jennifer Nieling and encoded into EAD by Melanie Grear. Edited by Alex Asal in 2023.
Finding Aid Date
Access Restrictions

There are no access restrictions on the materials for research purposes and the collection is open to the public.

Use Restrictions

To obtain reproductions and copyright information, contact:

Collection Inventory

Print, Suggest