Close-up view of the driving mechanism of an automatic self-recording infrared spectrograph used at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Fixed Nitrogen Research Laboratory located in Washington, D.C. Features of note include an adjustable pivot setting for varying the dispersion of the spectrograph, as well as leather differentials to reduce speed and eliminate vibration from the motor.
The Fixed Nitrogen Research Laboratory (F.N.R.L.) was established at American University in 1919 under the directorship of Arthur B. Lamb. Initially part of the War Department, the F.N.R.L. was the successor to several wartime initiatives to develop a secure domestic supply of nitrate compounds necessary for the manufacture of explosives during World War I. With a staff of about 110 individuals, including 35 to 50 chemists, the F.N.R.L. focused on the manufacture, production, and development of products of atmospheric nitrogen, including munitions and fertilizers.
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“Driving Mechanism for Infrared Spectrograph,” January 8, 1930. Travis P. Hignett Collection of Fixed Nitrogen Research Laboratory Photographs, Box 2. Science History Institute. Philadelphia. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/r494vk299.
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