Physics Instrument Shop 1900-2010 & beyond

The Michigan Physics Department had technicians to support research when they moved into the newly built West Physics building in 1889.   The technical services were vastly improved in ~1925 when Harrison Randall hired Hermann Roemer, August Wagner and several other skilled machinists along with the master glassblower Gunther Kessler .   The shop was led by Hermann Roemer (~42 years), then by August Wagner (~3 years), Paul Halloway (~12 years), Ted Webster (~25 years).    The shop had as many as ten full-time machinists in its heyday, but when Webster retired, the two remaining instrument makers, Dave Carter and Jim Tice managed the shop themselves for several years as they turned out work for many departments on campus.   (A separate student shop, overseen by one instrument maker, has existed since 1947; it continues.)

Finally, in 2010, the College of LSA decided to merge the Physics, Chemistry, and Astronomy shops into a single facility, the LSA Scientific Instrument Shop.

We’ll have stories to tell about the instrument shop as this website grows.

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