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Benjamin Franklin Fackenthal chemical analysis notebook

Identifier: SC MS 0188

Scope and Contents

This document is a bound book measuring 21.25 cm x 27.5 cm x 3.75 cm black grainy leather with smooth leather corner trimmed in gold, the spine is textured black leather with six pairs of gold bars and the title “Analysis Book” in gold. The covers are heavy board with marbled heavy paper fly leaves. A Lehigh University Library bookplate is attached on the inside of the front cover with the donor names as John F. Magee and Dr. Frank D. Fackenthal (president of Columbia University before Dwight D. Eisenhower). There are 428 numbered pages of blue lined paper with handwriting, 26 unnumbered unlined pages of a tabbed typed alphabetical index (black on gray buckram tabs) edged in green. Interspersed throughout the book are printed schedules, articles and tissue pages. Some pages are blank. On one of the front pages is a red ink Library stamp stating: Lehigh University Library May 14 1942, a blue ink accession number: 216655, and penciled T 543.7 F 1422. The notebook contains many Germanic, especially Pennsylvania German, spellings of family names or localities in the Lehigh Valley. Researchers are encouraged to be aware of different versions of spelling and usage.


  • Creation: 1856-1941


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Collection housed remotely. Users need to contact 24 hours in advance.

Biographical / Historical

Benjamin Franklin Fackenthal, Jr. (1851-1941) was a son of Benjamin Franklin and Catherine (Dennis) Fackenthal. Born in Doylestown, Pa., he attended public school in Durham Township. He began his business career as a shipping clerk at the Durham Iron Works owned by the Cooper and Hewitt firm advancing to bookkeeper and business manager. By 1874-1875, he was encouraged by Abram Hewitt of Cooper and Hewitt to take courses in chemistry and metallurgy at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa. In 1876 he became chemist at Durham Iron Works and made manager of its blast furnaces, foundry, mines, quarries and all other properties. By 1879, he was entrusted by Cooper and Hewitt to be supervisor of all their blast furnaces as well as various mines in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In 1893 he resigned from Durham Iron Works and became president of Thomas Iron Company in Easton, Pa. until 1913 and several other companies among which were Delaware River Bridge Company (1897-1923), Ironton Railroad and Thomas Railroad companies. Because of his expert knowledge of the iron and steel manufacture, he was an advisor and consultant to New York bankers on many transactions. He was a trustee of Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa. from 1899 and president of its board from 1915 until his death. He was married to Sarah Jane Riegel, daughter of John Leiby Riegel, a member of the family that founded Riegelsville, Pa. They resided in Glacialdrift, a mansion on Easton Road in Riegelsville, Pa. Mr. Fackenthal created the Bucks County Historical Society. He was an acknowledged metallurgist, industrialist, businessman and historian of the early iron industry of Pennsylvania.


1 volume

Language of Materials



An interesting collection of early twentieth century analyses of ores collected by Benjamin Franklin Fackenthal, Jr., a prominent chemist of the era. Fackenthal established laboratories at the Durham Iron Works in Riegelsville, Pa and also in Lancaster, Pa. where mineral analysis was made of iron ores and limestone from samples sent by clients. What is especially interesting about the notebook is the listing of many iron ore and limestone quarries located in the Lehigh Valley area. Among the most unique analysis and topographic map included is from the John Fritz Mine in Cuba possibly a connection to the Bethlehem Iron Company who had +iron mines in Cuba. Many analyses were made also by the Thomas Iron Co. of Catasauqua, Pa. laboratory where Mr. Fackenthal was a president. Although there is the local Lehigh Valley interest, there are also many notations about the mineral properties of ore from around the world. Genealogists will also find this manuscript of interest because of the notations regarding ore deposits on Lehigh Valley farms as well as New Jersey properties.


The manuscript begins with 26 single sided typed pages of a gray buckram tabbed Index alphabetized A through Z. Within each alphabetic designation the items are sorted by the following topics: Iron Ores, Cinders, Scale, Slags, etc.; Limestone and Cement Rocks; Pig Iron, Steel, Castings etc. Each entry lists a page number where information can be found about the entry. Many of the entries are of iron mines and limestone quarries where assays of mineral content have been made and recorded on the numbered pages. Especially interesting are the names of locations no longer on maps as viable mines or quarries. There seems to be the same handwriting throughout and the black ink used is rather consistently used throughout indicating possibly that the book was compiled approximately at the same time although there is a great expanse of time with entries representing from 1856 to 1941.

Following the index are two blank pages.

Next are eight green edged pages beginning with the title “Analysis Note Book, prepared for the use of Chemists, Metallurgists and Mining Engineers, by B. F. Fackenthal, Jr., Durham Iron Works, Riegelsville, PA.” Philadelphia: William Mann, Printer and Lithographer, 529 Market Street. 1886. The subsequent green edged pages are headed: Table of Atomic Weights., Useful Multipliers., Fuel, Iron Ores, Limestone, Etc., Slag., Iron, Steel, Etc., Fire Clay, Bricks, Etc. – each of these pages have purple lines separating the page into sections.

Following these green edge pages is a single page with a typed list titled “Copies of Reports on Richard Mine” which is addressed to Mr. B. F. Fachenthal, Jr. President, Thomas Iron Company, First Report, December 26, 1896 by Sheldon Norton, James Arthur, L. C. Bierworth; Second Report, Wharton N.J. April 15, 1905 to Mr. D. H. Thomas, Gen. Supt. Hokendauqua, Pa. from James Arthur, Supt., Fred A. Canfield. These two reports typed on a single sheet denote the tons removed from several slopes of the mine.

The next section is composed of 428 numbered red ink ledger type pages filled with handwritten notation – the first page begins with the title “Richard Mine Rockaway Township, Morris County N.J. (1856-1912) and toward the end on page 425 is an insert glued into the signature concerning the John Fritz Mine – Province of Puerto Principe, Cuba sampled by B. F. Fackenthal, Jr. November 1905 with the mineral content found and a topographic map of the mine made by Miller A. Smith and W. H. Coverdale. The last page has an insert titled “Comparative Statement” containing analyses of steel, pig iron, iron ore; Bessemer and open hearth steel, from census of 1880; Pig iron, including Charcoal Pig and the costs involved to produce the product. Interspersed throughout are glued-in newspaper articles, printed photographs and typed notes and letterhead letters.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of John F. Magee and Dr. Frank D. Fackenthal (1883-1968),May 14, 1942


No additions anticipated.

Related Materials

Fackenthal, Benjamin Franklin (1942). “Early iron works, chemists and laboratories: with special reference to those at Durham Iron Works, 1870-1904: including historical and biographical notes: paper read before the Bucks County Historical Society,” Preprint from Vol. IX, of the Bucks County Historical Society Papers, 45p.

Physical Description

1 volume

Finding Aid for the Benjamin Franklin Fackenthal chemical analysis notebook
William Ying
February 27, 2013
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Lehigh University Special Collections Repository

Lehigh University
Linderman Library
30 Library Drive
Bethlehem PA 18045 USA
610-758-6091 (Fax)