This is probably the first photo I ever snapped with my Yashica Electro M5 35mm camera back in 1970. Notable I suppose for historical rather than aesthetic purposes. Here’s my desktop back then.

I didn’t do much real development work here of course. I would do that at the communal lab benches and then repair to my desk to write things up. I was close to the fridge in case of emergency hunger or thirst – and it probably gave a touch of privacy to the place where I sat.

Note how analog a scientist  was close to 50 years ago. Aside from notebooks, a stapler, box of Kleenex, my slide rules and of course my “Executive Yo-Yo” – not much there. No Computer screen, no laptop dock, no smartphone. In fact I don’t even see an old fashioned telephone. Back then we probably had a party line phone in the lab. Nobody could call in without going through the telephone switchboard anyway.

I think I took this photo after hours because my desk looks pretty clean. I would have locked up anything proprietary before going home.


My lab was just across the hallway from the analytical laboratory, where we could get those folks to test competitors’ products if needed. I never worked in there and was glad of it. Not my bag at all.

The analytical lab had the only calculator in the Research Department and it was a Rube Goldberg device with lots of gears and numerical wheels. If I recall correctly it was a Friden mechanical calculator.

Looking at this photo I see a water bath on the far left (maybe used to control temperatures on a refractometer), a couple of Soxhlet fat extractor racks, and a gadget for drilling holes in rubber stoppers. Never know when that might come in handy. 🙂

The Soxhlet fat analysis method was already close to 100 years old in 1970. Some food science testing never dies. My daughter learned about it at the end of the 20th century. Of course Near Infrared spectroscopy is a common alternative to the classic Soxhlet method today.

And now you know the rest of the story.