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Wilfred F. Langelier Papers


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

Wilfred F. Langelier was an American sanitary engineer and civil engineering professor. Born in 1886 in Nashua, New Hampshire, Langelier earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from New Hampshire College (now the University of New Hampshire) in 1909. From 1909 to 1916, he worked for the Illinois State Water Survey. While working at the Illinois State Water Survey, he earned his Master of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois (1911).

In 1916, Langelier joined the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley's Department of Civil Engineering, where he enjoyed a long and distinguished career (1916-1955). He was brought to Cal-Berkeley to teach water chemistry by Charles G. Hyde, a renowned sanitary engineering pioneer. At Cal-Berkeley, he was best known for formulating the Langelier Saturation Index. Introduced in his 1936 journal article "The Analytical Control of Anti-Corrosion Water Treatment" and still used today, the Langelier Saturation Index determines how corrosive water might be to pipes and plumbing. He was also noted for his research on the coagulation/flocculation water treatment method. In addition to his research and teaching duties, Langelier served as consulting sanitary engineer for the East Bay Water Company (1921-1928). He retired from Cal-Berkeley in 1955.

Langelier was awarded five patents over the course of his career, including those for "Method of Water Purification" (1923) and "Process of Clarifying Turbid Water or Other Liquids" (1926). He was also an active member of the American Chemical Society and the American Water Works Association, and was the author of a number of journal articles and papers.

Wilfred F. Langelier passed away on September 13, 1981.


Wilfred F. Langelier Papers, Science History Institute Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The Wilfred F. Langelier Papers contain materials concerning American sanitary engineer and civil engineering professor Wilfred F. Langelier. The materials in this collection were collected by Kenneth W. Busch, Emeritus Professor of Chemistry at Baylor University. The files in this collection are arranged alphabetically by author and alphabetically by title. The collection's contents provide a limited amount of documentation regarding sanitary engineering research conducted by Langelier during the 1930s. Of particular interest are the manuscripts of his 1936 article "The Analytical Control of Anti-Corrosion Water Treatment", in which he introduced the Langelier Saturation Index. To a much lesser extent, research carried out by other sanitary engineers that was of interest to Langelier is also documented here.

The manuscripts of three articles/papers written by Langelier, including "The Analytical Control of Anti-Corrosion Water Treatment", are preserved in this collection. A manuscript of a paper co-written by David H. Caldwell and Walter B. Lawrence, and an article by an unidentified author are found in this collection as well.

The Wilfred F. Langelier Papers were donated to the Science History Institute by Kenneth W. Busch in March 2018.

The Wilfred F. Langelier Papers were processed by Kenton G. Jaehnig in March 2018.

Science History Institute Archives
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid created and encoded into EAD by Kenton G. Jaehnig.
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

The Science History Institute holds copyright to the Wilfred F. Langelier Papers. The researcher assumes full responsibility for all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Collection Inventory

David H. Caldwell and Walter B. Lawrence – "Solution of Water Softening and Water Conditioning Problems by Chemical Equilibrium Methods", 1948.
Box 1 Folder 1
Wilfred F. Langelier – "The Analytical Control of Anti-Corrosion Water Treatment", 1936.
Box 1 Folder 2
General Note

Contains 4 black and white images.

General Note

Nitrate negative in cold storage.

Wilfred F. Langelier – "A Corrosion Activity Index for Raw and Treated Waters", undated.
Box 1 Folder 3
Wilfred F. Langelier – "The Theory and Practice of Aeration in Water Purification and Sewage Treatment", 1931.
Box 1 Folder 4
Unidentified Author – "Reverse Osmosis as a Unit Process Tool", undated.
Box 1 Folder 5

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