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John M. Weiss Papers

Identifier: 1984-004

Scope and Content

The John M. Weiss Papers contain the professional papers of American chemical engineer John M. Weiss. The papers span the years 1918 to 1961, a range which covers a large portion of Weiss’ career. A majority of the collection materials consist of materials generated as a result of his consulting practice. The addendum to this collection (Series VI), consists of notes compiled by Weiss on chemical subjects that interested him.

The John M. Weiss Papers are rich in technical information about various chemical processes and engineering plants with which Weiss dealt. His interests in maleic acid, maleic anhydride, phthalic anhydride, and synthetic phenol are well represented.

The collection is arranged into the following six series:

  1. Acids
  2. Maleic Anhydride
  3. Patents
  4. Phthalic Anhydride
  5. Synthetic Phenol
  6. Addendum - John Weiss Notebooks


  • Creation: 1918-1961


Access Restrictions

There are no access restrictions on the materials for research purposes and the collection is open to the public.

Copyright Information

The Science History Institute holds copyright to the John M. Weiss Papers. The researcher assumes full responsibility for all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Background Note

John M. Weiss (1885-1963) was an American chemical engineer. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March 11, 1885, Weiss received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Pennsylvania. In 1905, he began his professional career with the Barrett Company. He quickly rose through the ranks of this company, and by 1921, he was Director of Development.

In 1923, Weiss began a nineteen-year stint as the president and treasurer of Weiss and Downs, Incorporated, a chemical engineering consulting firm. In 1943, John M. Weiss and Company was established. Weiss remained a senior partner of this company until his death.

Weiss’ primary interests included acids, maleic anhydride, and synthetic phenol. He was awarded a number of United States patents over the course of his career. He was also a member of several professional associations, including the Electrochemical Society and the Association of Consulting Chemists and Chemical Engineers.

John M. Weiss passed away in 1963.


John M. Weiss Papers, Science History Institute Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


4.5 Linear Feet (9 Boxes)

Language of Materials



Reports, notes, technical information, correspondence, patents, and notebooks of American chemical engineer John M. Weiss.

Acquisition Information

The John M. Weiss Papers were donated to the Science History Institute (formerly the Center for the History of Chemistry and the Chemical Heritage Foundation respectively) in two accretions:

Series I-V were donated in 1984.

Series VI was donated by Francis B. White in 1991.

Related Materials

There are no other known archival collections created by John M. Weiss preserved at the date of processing.

Processing Information

The John M. Weiss Papers were processed by Kristin D. Clark in December 2001.

John M. Weiss Papers
Finding aid created by Kristen D. Clark and encoded into EAD by Kenton G. Jaehnig.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2020: Revised by Kenton G. Jaehnig

Repository Details

Part of the Science History Institute Archives Repository

315 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia PA 19106 United States
215.873.5265 (Fax)