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Photographs from the Papers of Robert E. Finnigan


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

Robert E. Finnigan was born on May 27, 1927 in Buffalo, NY. Finnigan graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1949 and later enrolled at the University of Illinois, earning his Master's degree in Electrical Engineering in 1954 and his Ph.D. in 1957. Finnigan held various positions at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Stanford Research Institute before becoming Director of the Scientific Instruments Division of Electronic Associates Inc. (EAI) in 1963. While at EAI, Finnigan built quadrupole mass spectrometers for the company's various clientele before leaving to form the Finnigan Corporation in 1967. The Corporation's first product, a combined gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer system known as the Model 1015, was introduced in late 1967 and notably popularized the use of the quadrupole mass filter as an ion sorting device among chemists and biomedical scientists. In 1968, the Finnigan Corporation developed a simpler, lower cost version of the 1015, the Model 3000 GC Peak Identifier. The Model 3000 was the first in Finnigan's 3000 Series GC/MS and, by the end of 1975, the Corporation had delivered approximately 850 GC/MS systems worldwide. As the analytical instruments industry consolidated throughout the 1980s, Thermo Instruments ultimately acquired the Finnigan Corporation in 1990 and Robert Finnigan subsequently retired from the company in 1992.

This collection consists of print photographs and slides related to Robert E. Finnigan and the Finnigan Corporation, predominately dating from the 1970s and 1980s. The collections primarily depicts Finnigan Corporation facilities and instruments, including the assembly and marketing of the Model 1015 gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer and the 3000 Series GC/MS system. Many of the photographs are of a formal, posed nature for use in publication and advertising. Photographs of Robert Finnigan chronicle various professional activities and personal travels and notably include Finnigan's 1955 Air Force portrait. A small subset of photographs of Finnigan Corporation Board Chairman and Chief Executive Office T.Z. Chu and a slide show presentation highlighting notable milestones in the Corporations' history complete the collection.

Separated from the Papers of Robert E. Finnigan, 1953-1995 (bulk 1962-1989); Gift of Robert E. Finnigan, 2013.

Processed by Hillary S. Kativa.

Science History Institute Archives
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid created by Hillary S. Kativa (2016) and encoded into EAD by Melanie Grear (2017) and Alex Asal (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

Robert Finnigan, 1955-1983.
Box 1 Folder 1
Robert Finnigan, (1960s-1980s; 1997).
Box 1 Folder 2
T.Z. Chu, (1970s, 1980s).
Box 1 Folder 3
Finnigan Corporation celebration, 1967.
Box 1 Folder 4
Miscellaneous Finnigan Corporation employees, undated.
Box 1 Folder 5
Finnigan organic water analyzer, 1978.
Box 1 Folder 6
Finnigan GC peak identifier, circa 1960s.
Box 1 Folder 7
Finnigan 3100 GC peak identifier, circa 1970.
Box 1 Folder 8
Miscellaneous Finnigan instruments, circa 1970s.
Box 1 Folder 9
Finnigan Corporation facilities, circa 1970s.
Box 1 Folder 10
Finnigan Corporation ephemera, undated.
Box 1 Folder 11
Slide album, undated.
Box 2
Scope and Contents

An album containing approximately 225 slides depicting Finnigan Corporation facilities, instruments, and publications.

Print, Suggest