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Albert Ladd Colby Report on the Boston Molasses Tank

Identifier: SC MS 0098

Scope and Contents

Total 10 volumes collection contains typescript reports of the test results, blue prints of the molasses tank and photographs of steel pieces from the tank that are tested. First 4 volumes of the collection, lacking the volumes fifth and sixth*, contain Albert Ladd Colby’s final general report to the defense team, Larkin & Perry Attorneys at Law. Additional 5 volumes are A. L. Colby’s private and confidential reports to Larkin & Perry and a summary of his testimony in the court. These reports contain further test results, Colby’s opinions of the Molasses Tank; report on his proposed testimony during direct examination; report on design of the Manhole Plate; report on the test of the Manhole Plate’s head; and digest of his testimony. The actual tests took place in Lehigh University’s Fritz Engineering Laboratory.


  • Creation: 1919-1922


Conditions Governing Access

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

Conditions Governing Use

Collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

Albert Ladd Colby was born in New York, in June 26, 1860. In 1881, he graduated from Columbia University School of Mines as chemist and metallurgist. He worked at Lehigh University, from 1883 to 1886, as an instructor in Chemistry. From 1886 to 1903, he worked for Bethlehem Steel Company, South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, first as chief chemist and then metallurgical engineer. From 1903-05, he worked for International Nickel Company. After 1905, he became an independent consulting engineer and consulted many American steel companies and some foreign companies. 1897-1905 he was secretary of the Association of American Steel Manufacturers. He had many publications, among them American Standard Specifications for Steel, 1902, has been the most important. A. L. Colby died in 1924.


3 Cubic feet (2 Record Container Cartons)

Language of Materials



This collection is kept in its original order as it was arranged by volume number.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was transferred from the Fritz Engineering Library at Lehigh University Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in May 2001.

Separated Materials

The actual collection received from the Fritz Library lacks the following two volumes: Volume 5. Six Large Blue Prints; Volume 6. 40 Mounted Photographs as they were mentioned in Volume 1.

Albert Ladd Colby Report on the Boston Molasses Tank
Special Collections Staff
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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)