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History of Dyes and Dyeing: Archives

A guide to the Othmer Library's holdings of Dye related materials.


For the most part our holdings consist of dye sample cards. The word “cards” can be misleading as they were most often multiple pages of cards in binders. These were used by company salesman to advertise the properties of the dyes. The “cards” consist of actual samples of the dyestuff and some technical information concerning the chemical properties of the dyestuffs. Usually the samples are simply bits of dyed fabric, but some of the early dye books contain patterned fabrics allowing us to see what the blouses, sheets, upholstery of the day actually looked like.

The remainder of the holdings is a mixed bag including course notes, technical notes, such as the Chandler notebooks, and even material relating to tariff negotiations.

A last word on the sample cards - although fabric samples are the most common, our collections include dye sample books relating to the dyeing of such diverse products as leather, soap, paper, sand and even aluminum.

Images and Ephemera in the Science History Institute's Collections

Press Room, Althouse Azo Dye Manufacturing Plant, 1946

Althouse, Bates, and Crompton Chemical Companies Photographs, Science History Institute Archives. Object ID. 2004.012.010.

Archival Collections at Science History Institute