Tools for Discovery
On November 7, 1997 President Torsten Wiesel announced the establishment of the Merrill W. Chase Historic Instrument Collection. The process started with 262 instruments that had been collected informally over long period by Chief Pharmacist Anthony J. Campo, who first came to the Institute in 1917, and Merrill W. Chase, who came in 1932. They put aside instruments that were no longer being used in the laboratories, because they anticipated that eventually such a collection would be a valuable source of information to historians of science, as well as a rare collection of the original artifacts used by scientists of an earlier period.
Some of these instruments were developed and constructed at Rockefeller, some were modifications of existing tools, and others were associated with remarkable discoveries by his colleagues. Professor Chase created a brief card catalogue of the instruments, and he stored them in various locked spaces. He did not publicize the collection until 1976 when, on the occasion of Rockefeller’s 75th Anniversary, he curated an exhibition of fifty instruments in Caspary Gallery.