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Samuel Ruben 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

Samuel Ruben was born on July 14, 1900, in Harrison, New Jersey. He developed an interest in electrochemistry at a young age; however, he had minimal formal training in the area. Though he attended college-level courses briefly, he withdrew after a short period of time, as the stress level was causing him physical ailment. Nevertheless, he continued with home study and experimentation and soon gained confidence enough to seek employment in a laboratory setting. From 1918 to 1921, Ruben worked for the Electrochemical Products Laboratory. Beginning in 1921, Ruben helped found a laboratory in New Rochelle, NY, which eventually became known as Ruben Laboratories, where he acted as president for much of his life. Ruben worked on numerous projects related to the field of electrochemistry and became a very well-recognized scientist and inventor. He invented the mercury primary cell, the dry electrolyte condenser, the rectifier tube, and flexible wire with ceramic insulation. In addition, Ruben aided in the invention of the cardio – pacemaker, by developing an appropriate battery for the device. Ruben worked extensively with the Duracell company on such projects as alkaline dry batteries and is credited with revolutionizing battery technology. His notable inventions earned him the Inventor of the Year Award in 1965 from the Research Institute at George Washington University. Ruben was an American Chemical Society Fellow, and a member of the Electrochemical Society. He passed away in 1988.


The Samuel Ruben Papers, Science History Institute Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ruben, Samuel. Necessity's Children: Memoirs of an Independent Inventor. Portland, OR: Breitenbush Books, 1990.

The Samuel Ruben Papers contain the personal laboratory notebooks and other miscellaneous works of American electrochemist Samuel Ruben.

  1. Laboratory Notebooks
  2. Miscellaneous Items

The Samuel Ruben Papers were donated to the Science History Institute (formerly the Chemical Heritage Foundation) in 1989 by Lauren Ruben.

The Samuel Ruben Papers were processed by Kristin D. Clark in November 2001. The finding aid was revised by Patrick Burden on February 2nd, 2022.

Science History Institute Archives
Finding Aid Author
The Samuel Ruben Papers were processed by Kristin D. Clark in November 2001. The finding aid was revised by Patrick Burden on February 2nd, 2022.
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 the copyright to the Samuel Ruben Papers. The researcher assumes full responsibility for all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Collection Inventory

Series Description

This series contains notebooks filled with information written by Samuel Ruben. Attached to the pages of the notebooks are pieces of metal, wire, cellophane, etc., which were used in Ruben's laboratory experiments. Some of the pages are brittle and discolored from being in contact with these various materials. These items are arranged in chronological order.

Laboratory Notebook, 1932.
Box 1 Folder 1
Laboratory Notebook, 1933 July-1934 June.
Box 1 Folder 2
Laboratory Notebook, 1935 April-1936 February.
Box 1 Folder 3
Laboratory Notebook, 1935 April-1936 February.
Box 1 Folder 4
Laboratory Notebook, 1936 February-September.
Box 2 Folder 1
Laboratory Notebook, 1936 September-1937 May.
Box 2 Folder 2
Laboratory Notebook, 1937 May-December.
Box 2 Folder 3
Laboratory Notebook, 1937 December-1938 December.
Box 2 Folder 4
Laboratory Notebook, 1938 November-1940 January.
Box 3 Folder 1
Laboratory Notebook, 1940 January-1941 March.
Box 3 Folder 2
Laboratory Notebook, 1941 March-1943 September.
Box 3 Folder 3
Laboratory Notebook, 1943 September-1946 February .
Box 4 Folder 1
Laboratory Notebook, 1946 March-1947 July.
Box 4 Folder 2
Laboratory Notebook, 1948 June-1949 May.
Box 4 Folder 3
Laboratory Notebook, 1949 May-1950 August .
Box 5 Folder 1
Laboratory Notebook, 1950 August-1952 April.
Box 5 Folder 2
Laboratory Notebook, 1952 April-1953 March.
Box 5 Folder 3
Laboratory Notebook, 1953 March-1954 August.
Box 6 Folder 1
Laboratory Notebook, 1954 August-1955 March.
Box 6 Folder 2
Laboratory Notebook, 1954 1955 March-1956 January-1955 March.
Box 6 Folder 3
Laboratory Notebook, 1956 January-1957 August.
Box 6 Folder 4
Laboratory Notebook, 1957 October-1959 April.
Box 7 Folder 1
Laboratory Notebook, 1959 April-1960 February.
Box 7 Folder 2
Laboratory Notebook, 1960 March-1961 May.
Box 7 Folder 3
Laboratory Notebook, 1961 May-1962 September.
Box 7 Folder 4
Laboratory Notebook, 1962 September-1964 January.
Box 7 Folder 5
Laboratory Notebook, 1964 January-1965 November.
Box 7 Folder 6
Laboratory Notebook, 1965 December-1968 July.
Box 8 Folder 1
Laboratory Notebook, July 1968-April 1970.
Box 8 Folder 2
Laboratory Notebook, 1970 April-1973 May.
Box 8 Folder 3
Laboratory Notebook, 1973 June-1977 April.
Box 8 Folder 4
Laboratory Notebook, 1979 September-1984 July.
Box 8 Folder 5

Series Description

This series contains various correspondence, reports, and summaries of reports created by Samuel Ruben. Ruben's work with the Duracell company is documented within this series. These items are arranged in chronological order.

Correspondence, 1937-1952.
Box 9 Folder 1
Correspondence, 1953-1965.
Box 9 Folder 2
Correspondence, 1982-1984.
Box 9 Folder 3
Reports on Rectifiers, 1937.
Box 9 Folder 4
Ruben Laboratories Project Summaries, 1983-1984.
Box 9 Folder 5

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