Scientific Glassblowing Laboratory History

Years ago it was very common for chemists to perform their own glassblowing.  It wasn’t until 1924 that any record is found of Yale chemists utilizing a glassblower.  A contract with an external provider was arranged with a Mr. Greiner. 

The Sterling Chemistry Laboratory was built in 1923. 

In 1926 Frankiln Pierce Noble was hired and worked in room SCL 10.  Mr. Noble served the Chemistry department for 30 years until 1956.

James Panczner served from 1957-1959, followed by Stanley Mezynski 1960-1961.

By 1961, Yale expanded glassblowing service by adding a shop in Sloan Physics building and hiring Ed Brosius.  In Chemistry, Ralph Stevens was hired.  Further expansion saw the addition of a shop in Mason Laboratory for the Engineering and Applied Science Department in 1964, by hiring Henk Vanderguow from Europe.

Mr. Vanderguow served from 1964-1970, then the shop at Mason Lab was closed.

Mr. Brosius served from 1961-1989, and Mike Olson took his place from 1989-1991.  At this point the Sloan Physics shop was closed.

Scientific Glassblowing remains a vital component to the research effort in the Chemistry Department where Mr. Stevens served from 1961-1995, in 1968 moving from room SCL 10 to room SCL 14 where it is currently housed.

After Mr. Stevens retired in 1995, he was replaced by Robert Wallace. 

Mr. Wallace left Yale in 2004.

In 2005, the Chemical Research Building was opened, and that year also saw the hiring of the present glassblower, Daryl Smith.  The work load increased with the addition of orders from the University of Connecticut and other customers.  This necessitated the hiring of a second, assistant glassblower.  So Preston Smith was hired January 2017.


Research for this article was performed mainly by reviewing the Yale University Directory located in the Manuscripts and Archives Department of the Sterling Memorial Library.  Exact years may be approximated by one year, earlier or later.