The Ward M. Canaday Center

for Special Collections

The University of Toledo

Finding Aid

Benjamin L. Hirsch Papers, 1849-1993

MSS-097

Size: 9.25 Linear Feet

Provenance: Barbara Gerbie, daughter of Benjamin L. Hirsch, donated his papers to the Ward M. Canaday Center on October 30, 1993.

 

Access: Open

Collection Summary:  The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence, product advertisements, laboratory notebooks, chemistry books/pamphlets, and patents. Also included are toys, cosmetics, and other items produced in the Hirsch Laboratory.

 

Subjects: Medicine and Health

 Related Collections:

Copyright: The literary rights to this collection are assumed to rest with the person(s) responsible for the production of the particular items within the collection, or with their heirs or assigns.  Researchers bear full legal responsibility for the acquisition to publish from any part of said collection per Title 17, United States Code.  The Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections may reserve the right to intervene as intermediary at its own discretion.

 

Completed by:  Angela E. Clevenger June 1996; Converted by Patrick Cook Nov. 2011; last updated: June 2014

 

Introduction

Benjamin L. Hirsch had always been a chemist/inventor at heart His urge to create began early in high school. Teaming up with his brother Henry, the two became a productive duo. The Hirsch brothers began their careers together in cosmetics, but the destruction of their lab by a fire and the onset of World War II limited the materials needed to rebuild. Benjamin went on to create a fluorescent Zinc Oxide pigment that would eventually be used in signs and various toys. The brothers once again joined forces to create one of the most popular rages of their day -- novelty toys for cereal. In cooperation with the Kellogg Co. of Battle Creek, Michigan, Ben and Henry made a marketing breakthrough. Most of the toys were used in the water. Some of the more popular items were frogmen and boats that contained baking soda to simulate diving. Over his lifetime, Ben obtained hundreds of patents for his ideas. Aside from the chemistry and inventing, Benjamin was also very active in the U. S. Coast Guard. He was very concerned with water safety and gave his service on the waters whenever possible.

His collection consists mainly of notes, correspondence, books and patents as well as actual products made in the lab. These include various novelty toys and invisible ink.

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Timeline

 

 

1905-

Born in Newport, Kentucky.

?? -

Began experimenting with hair ointments in high school and began processing and selling a line of makeup to S. S. Kresge Co. and F. W. Woolworth.

1930-

Shared a cosmetic business with brother Henry at 222 Jackson St. in Toledo.

1931-

Married Alice Braunschweiger and had one daughter, Barbara (birthdate unknown).

?? -

Earned a B. S. in Pharmacy from The Toledo University.

1944-

Fire destroyed the cosmetic lab.

1952-

Working at the New Jersey Zinc Company as a chemist, Ben perfected the process for making fluorescent Zinc Oxide.

1960-

Served as the Committee Chair for the Blue Banner Award, to choose a Good Samaritan of the waterways.

1966-

Became the Vice Commander of Flotilla 10-2 in the Toledo-based auxiliary unit of the U. S. Coast Guard.

1974-

Death of Alice (Braunschweiger) Hirsch.

1974-

Married Ruth Hetterbrake.

1991-

Death of Ruth (Hetterbrake) Hirsch.

1995, October 8 -

Died at the age of 90 in Toledo, Ohio.

 

Scope and Content Note

The material in this collection consists mostly of correspondence, product advertisements, laboratory notebooks and patents that Benjamin L. Hirsch accumulated over his lifetime as a chemist/inventor. The collection also contains actual toys and materials produced in the Hirsch Laboratory co-owned by brother Henry. The first six boxes contain all the paperwork and the seventh consists of chemistry books/pamphlets. The remainder of the collection contains cosmetic products, cereal novelty toys as well as the boxes they came in and sundry fluorescent pigment products. Some of the books in the collection contain notes and annotations written by Hirsch. Very little biographical information is evident in the collection; a few newsclippings and a framed photograph of Hirsch are included.

Box/Folder Inventory

Box

Folder

Description

 

1

1

Advertisements of Products

 

2

American Phosphor Customer Data 1977

 

3

Atomic Submarine 1952-61

 

4

Baking Powder 1954-61

 

5

Batteries

 

6

Bubbles 1963-74

 

7

Leo Burnett Co. Inc. 1955-72

 

8

Butterfly 1953-56

 

9

Carborundum 1969-70

 

10

Chalk

 

11

Chemical Product Catalogs 1960

 

12

Correspondence 1900-57

 

13

"

1941-65

 

14

"

1941-68

 

15

"

1948-54

 

16

"

1952-63

 

17

"

1953-79

 

18

"

1954-68

 

19

"

1956-89

 

20

Correspondence: Chris Craft Speedboat 1956-63

 

21

Correspondence: Damert Company 1976-91

 

22

Correspondence: Dupont 1948-53

 

23

Correspondence: International 1972-1991

 

24

Correspondence: Kellogg 1953-68

 

25

Correspondence: Miniature Submarine 1954-55

 

26

Correspondence/Notes 1961-79

 

27

Correspondence/Notes/Receipts 1950-59

 

28

Correspondence/Patents/Bills 1946-82

 

29

Correspondence/Phosphorescent pigment 1970-83

 

2

1

Correspondence/Publications “Lumitone” 1944-49

 

2

Correspondence: Sailboat 1955-63

 

3

Correspondence: True Vac 1946

 

4

Correspondence: Jack Zimmerman 1955-80

 

5

Daglo Type Fluorescence(Experimental) 1907-53

 

6

DEGUSSA; Pigment Division 1966

 

7

Dental 1860-1981

 

8

Dental Cement Patents 1849-1946

 

9

Dentsply Draft 1978-83

 

10

Electro Statics Toner Suspension 1959-70

 

11

Environmental Protection Agency 1970-80

 

13

Experimental 1938-56

 

14

Financial Documents 1961-83

 

15

Fluorescent Make-Up

 

16

Frogmen-Kellog 1954-62

 

17

Garden Insert 1960-76

 

18

Garden Technical Experiment 1957-72

 

19

General Foods Inc. 1954-76

 

20

Hectograph 1938-70

 

21

History of Luminescent ZnO in Germany

 

22

Ice Capades-skaters 1956-57

 

23

Ingredients of ZnOMgO/Customer List 1978-80

 

24

Kellog-Offered Premiums 1961-74

 

25

Lab Notes “Luminescent Pigments” 1934-76

 

3

1

Lab Notebooks/Patents 1938-89

 

2

Lionel 1973-79

 

3

Luminescence 1945-46

 

4

Luminescent Pigments 1933-85

 

5

Mail Samples 1975

 

6

Magic Moon Garden 1949-73

 

7

Magic Smoke 1949

 

8

Mansato Chemical Co. Products 1955

 

9

Miniature Toy Boat 1956-57

 

10

Miscellaneous 1877-87

 

11

"

1902-53

 

12

"

1910-58

 

13

"

1932-62

 

14

"

1941-79

 

15

"

1942-46

 

16

"

1944-64

 

17

"

1955-61

 

18

"

1956-65

 

4

1

Miscellaneous 1947-92

 

2

"

1956-79

 

3

"

1964-90

 

4

New Jersey Zinc Co. 1945- 56

 

5

Newsclippings 1952-65

 

6

Newsclippings/Publications 1945-93

 

7

Notes 1938-78

 

8

"

1946-91

 

9

"

1953-74

 

10

"

1977-83

 

11

Notes/Correspondence/Publications 1975-83

 

12

Notes/Receipts 1944-79

 

13

Notes/Receipts/Formulas 1969-70

 

14

Notes: ZnOMgO complex 1971-76

 

15

Ohio Art 1974

 

16

Patents 1855-70

 

17

"

1879-1952

 

18

"

1883-1944

 

19

"

1902-36

 

20

"

1925-49

 

5

1

Patents 1926-72

 

2

"

1937-90

 

3

"

1944-71

 

4

"

1946-50

 

5

Patents: Fluorescent Glass 1915-72

 

6

Patents/Receipts 1910-45

 

7

Patents: Silicates 1938-72

 

8

Patents: ZnS 1894-64

 

9

Pearl Essence 1957-62

 

10

Perfume Kit 1965

 

11

Phosphates/Borates 1942-72

 

12

Phosphors and Phosphates 1938-79

 

13

Photos 1923-86

 

14

Photostats 1941-78

 

15

Plastic Bubbles 1947-58

 

16

Premium Ideas 1919-77

 

1

Premium Ideas 1922-65

 

6

2

Processing Procedure/ZnOMgO 1975-79

 

3

Proctor & Gamble 1966-67

 

4

Propellant for Sailboat 1956-64

 

5

Propellants

 

6

PT Boat Self Liquid 1955-63

 

7

Publications 1967-91

 

8

"

1979

 

9

Rare Earth Phosphors 1951-72

 

10

Research/Formulas 1941-46

 

11

Rohm & Haas Co. Products 1968

 

12

Royalties 1957-60

 

13

Sailboat 1956-64

 

14

Secret Service Ink 1958-68

 

15

Shadowettes 1945-52

 

16

Silicates 1932-61

 

17

"

1938-72

 

18

"

1941-72

 

19

Stripmaster 1956-77

 

20

SYLCON Lab Data 1942-46

 

21

Technical Bulletin

 

22

Toy Speed Boat 1945-58

 

23

UDYLITE Proposal 1973

 

24

U. S. Geological Map of Uranium 1955

 

25

Zinc Oxide 1958-86

 

26

ZnOMgO complex 1951

 

27

ZnS 1926-1990

 

7

Books and Pamphlets

 

A Course of Qualitative Chemical Analysis of Inorganic Substances 1915

Datebook 1946

Elementary Chemistry 1914

A Handbook of Chemical Warfare Agents 1931

A Laboratory Manual of Organic Chemistry 1922 (2 copies)

Physical Properties of Dental Materials 1942

Prospecting for Uranium 1951

Prospecting for Uranium with Car Mounted Equipment 1953

Prospecting with a Counter 1954

Synthetic Resins for Coating

Uranium Magazine March, April, Oct., Nov. 1955 and Feb., March 1956

Uranium Official Yearbook 1955

Uranium Prospector's Handbook 1954

8

Microfiche (German Notes on Aluminum Hydroxide and Calcium Carbonate)

Quantity

Artifacts

9

1

Picture of Ben Hirsch (Color)

2

Yellow Plastic, pieces

2

Tagboard Paper, pieces

1

Magic Water Carnival Kit

1

Page from a Chinese Newspaper

10

1

Boxed set of Flippy Submarines

1

Boxed set of Flippy Frogmen

11

1

Jar of Invisible Ink

1

Kellogg Cereal Box

2

Fickle Foam

1

Jar Invisible Ink Na2Co3 5/20/1968

1

Chromatoscope

1

Jar Royal Baking Powder

1

Bottle Haines Essential Oil

1

Doodletop

Miscellaneous Toys

12

1

Jar of Invisible Ink

1

Jar Colored Chalks

1

Box Shadowettes

1

Box Acetate Models

2

Diving Killer Whales

1

Magic Tree

1

Glow Shuttle

1

Large PT Boat

1

Large Sticker

1

Package Glow Stars

1

Book Mark

1

Package Star Lights

1

Postcard Thermometer

1

Steel Duck

1

Toy Light Bulb

1

Package Baking Powder

1

Chris Craft Speedboat

Miscellaneous Plastic Toys

13

1

Box Magic HzO Carnival

3

Boxes Navy Frogmen

1

Box Large Frogmen

1

Magic Moon Gardener

1

Box Shadowettes

1

U. S. S. Nautilus

1

PT Boat

2

Boxes of Hectograph Presses

1

Box unknown, still sealed

14

2

Boxes Hectograph Press

1

Jar Unknown Cream

Miscellaneous Plastic Boats

Miscellaneous Parts to Presses

15

1

Tornado Tube

1

Magic Tree

3

Kaleidoscope Cards

2

Postcard Thermometer

2

Fickle Foam

1

Liquid Crystal Lizard

1

L. L. Bean Summer Catalog

1

Reversible Postcard Sticker of the Earth

1

Note from Damert Company

2

Pairs 3-D glasses

Directions for the Magic Gardens of Mars

Magic Sun Pictures on Cereal Box

1

Box Whirli Floats

3

Rainbow Sparkler Pencils

Miscellaneous Plastic Toys

16

Numerous Cereal Boxes