Recently, I discovered the work of scientific illustrator Roger Hayward (1899-1979) while looking at the C. L. Stong Papers. I discovered that, in addition to being an illustrator, he was an architect, artist, scientist, and inventor. He certainly had a knack for illustrating science topics, as evidenced by his original artwork in the collection. For a relatively unknown artist, Hayward had a far-reaching impact, at least for those who read Scientific American.
Scientific American was founded by Rufus Porter (1792–1884) in 1845, with the mission to “be an advocate of industry and enterprise and journal of mechanical and other improvements.” Porter stated in his inaugural four-page edition on August 28, 1845, that the paper would be “illustrative of New Inventions, Scientific Principles, and Curious Works; and will contain, in addition to the most interesting news of passing events, general notices of the progress of Mechanical and other Scientific Improvements; American and Foreign Improvements and Inventions; Catalogues of American Patents; Scientific Essays, illustrative of the principles of the sciences of Mechanics, Chemistry and Architecture; useful information and instruction in various Arts and Trades; Curious Philosophical Experiments; Miscellaneous Intelligence, Music and Poetry.”
From 1949 to 1974, Roger Hayward illustrated “The Amateur Scientist,” a column that appeared in the Scientific American, collaborating with C. L. Stong, one of the editors. “The Amateur Scientist” was edited by five individuals from 1928 to 2001: Albert Ingalls, C.L. Stong, Jearl Walker, Forrest Mimms, and Shawn Carlson. Like Stong, Ingalls’s years as the editor of Scientific American are represented in the Archives Center’s Albert G. Ingalls Papers. Hayward was recruited by Scientific American around 1948 after Dennis Flanagan (1919–2005), then editor, saw his illustration work in Procedures in Experimental Physics.
Throughout their twenty-year collaboration, primarily conducted by correspondence, (Stong lived in New York and Hayward in California) it is possible to see the process of creating and developing the column. The correspondence provides insight into column topics, the amateur writers solicited by Stong, edits to articles, decisions regarding illustrations, and the personal relationship between Stong and Hayward. Many of Hayward’s letters were filled with technical details about his illustrations, but the personal details are delightful and their mutual humor and love of science is evident. Hayward speaks of his garden and “crops,” bird migrations, his dogs—Duffer, Beaney, and Gnawbert—travel, mutual colleagues, painting, his wife Betty, and his health. The letters begin with very detailed and technical issues, addressing the Scientific American business of the illustrations, then close with personal news.
Clair Leroy (C. L.) “Red” Stong (1902–1975) was an electrical engineer with the Western Electric Company in New York City from 1926 to 1962, and a part-time editor of "The Amateur Scientist” from 1955-1975. Stong’s work at Scientific American was, he said, “solely an out-of-hours-activity. From 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, I am a General Information Manager for Western Electric [in New York City]. The fulltime editors are my good friends. I hope to work on it [the column] full time when the Bell System pensions me 10 years from now. In the meantime, I have the satisfaction of helping to interest people in science—the one intellectual discipline, it seems to me, that above all others gives man the facility for lifting himself by his boot straps—of enabling society to attain its highest ultimate expression.” (C. L. Stong Papers, NMAH.AC.0012, Box 1, Folder 7)
A focus of Stong’s job was to drum up business for the column, which was directed at a “motley audience” composed of professional scientists, business executives, non-scientific professionals, and intelligent laymen, otherwise known as amateurs. Stong preferred the label “non-professional scientists” because “common usage has detracted from the word amateur.” (C. L. Stong Papers, NMAH.AC.0012, Box 1, Folder 1) He was particularly adept at soliciting content and, along with Hayward’s illustrations, helped democratize science. While Hayward was charged with illustrating the articles Stong was acquiring and editing, he frequently commented on their accuracy and viability. In February 1956, Hayward wrote, “I always have to watch myself because of my natural propensity of trying to invent things. Sometimes some of the things you send seem to be done the hard way. Then I have to realize that the article is about how John Doe did it and I musn’t interfere.” (C. L. Stong Papers, NMAH.AC.0012, Box 5, Folder 8)
Stong’s papers contain selections of “The Amateur Scientist” columns, arranged chronologically. Within each file is correspondence between the amateur scientist-author and Hayward, Hayward’s original artwork, and reprints of articles. In 1960, C. L. Stong published The Amateur Scientist: The Scientific American Book for Projects. The book contained “experiments and constructions, challenges and diversions” in a variety of disciplines, from astronomy to electronics and much more in between. Stong wrote of Hayward in his book, “Hayward's remarkable talent for simplification is reflected both in the drawings and experimental procedures” (Stong, 1960: xxii).
But Hayward did more than illustrate “The Amateur Scientist.” He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1922 with a degree in architecture and began a successful career working with several east coast architectural firms. He also spent time in Europe sketching buildings. In 1929, he moved to California to become chief designer at S. E. Lunden, an architecture firm in Los Angeles. Hayward became friends with Caltech faculty and eventually met Linus Pauling, chemist and Nobel prize winner (Chemistry 1954; Peace 1962), with whom he collaborated to illustrate books. Hayward also taught himself atomic theory and molecular structure and ultimately went on to work as a physics consultant for the National Technical Laboratories and illustrated texts written by Pauling and other authors. In all, he illustrated more than a dozen textbooks on topics ranging from chemistry, geology, and oceanography to physics and optics. Some of those became classics, including Procedures in Experimental Physics (1938), General Chemistry (1946), A Laboratory Study of Chemical Principles (1948), and the Architecture of Molecules (1964).
Hayward also found time to invent and apply for patents. From 1940 to 1964, he was issued ten patents, including a transparent projection screen (US Patent 2,200,646); a device for grinding and polishing (US Patent 2,399,924); apparatus for surface generation (US Patent 2,403,659); an optical system for cameras (US Patent 2,403,660); means and methods for testing optical surfaces (US Patent 2,430,637); bubble level with conical lens (US Patent 2,514,492); panoramic binocular telescope (US Patent 2,625,824); panoramic telescope device (US Patent 2,625,853); bassinet mounting (US Patent 2,752,614); and pens (US Patent 3,116,726). Only two of Hayward’s patents were assigned—the panoramic binocular telescope to the United States Secretary of the Army and the bassinet mounting to the architectural firm of Lunden, Hayward and O’Connor.
Hayward felt that the home laboratory or shop, which he referred to as his “hobbery,” was both wonderful and a luxury. It was here he reconstructed experiments for the Scientific American articles and built things like mobiles and wire sculptures, and accumulated “hardware, tools and just plain junk” because he never knew what he might need for a project. (C. L. Stong Papers, NMAH.AC.0012, Box 15, Folder 11) Hayward’s letters reference his sketching and painting, which he hoped, after his architectural work ended, would pay for his painting trips to Death Valley, Ojai Valley, Phoenix, Tucson, and other western locations.
As if painting, inventing, patenting, illustrating, and working as a licensed architect weren’t enough, Hayward wrote “A Jigsaw Puzzle and the Inventive Mind,” published in the Worm Runner’s Digest (later named the Journal of Biological Psychology) in 1969. This title intrigued me because I like jigsaw puzzles and tend to work one a month, but unlike Hayward I do not “score” myself on how many times I handle pieces and I do consult the picture of the puzzle while assembling it. Hayward, who was “a sucker for puzzles” wrote,
- “It is possible that the reason more isn't written about the lowly jigsaw puzzle is that there doesn't seem to be much to say. On the face of it, it does seem ridiculous to fritter away time in reassembling a picture which has been 'chopped particularly small.' But the preoccupation of one part of the brain with the business of finding matches for the pieces seems to leave other parts of the brain with uncluttered leisure for fruitful cogitation and—at least for me—it inhibits sleep. During just such cogitations it has occurred to me that perhaps the process of working a jigsaw puzzle could be regarded as an analogue for the brain function of having ideas—inventions if you will. An analogue may shed light on a problem although it may not specifically duplicate the process. It has recently been stated that an invention must be (a) useful, (b) novel and (c) not obvious to one skilled in the art. For the purposes of this discussion we can forget crass utility, obviously. In analogy uniqueness of fit of a piece in the puzzle may be equated to a kind of conditioned novelty. The finding of a fit is an exclusive event. An ordinary invention leaves the field open for other and different ways of accomplishing the same end.”
Hayward and Stong met in person during occasional trips that brought them to their respective coasts, but it never seemed like enough for these two men who enjoyed exploring and discussing all things scientific. Hayward always wanted a way to “compress this country so that everything is within walking distance from everything else.” (C. L. Stong Papers, Box 6, Folder 6) I would have loved to receive letters from Hayward. I imagine us exchanging news of our dogs, jigsaw puzzles, gardens, and travels. But I am content with having read his letters to Stong and, like Hayward, I will close with “my best regards.”
For more information about the editorial adventures of C. L. Strong or Albert G. Ingalls with Scientific American, visit the Archives Center. To learn more about the life of Roger Hayward, visit the Oregon State University Libraries Special Collections, home to the Roger Hayward Papers.
- Bell, Trudy E. “Roger Hayward: Forgotten Artist of Optics. Sky and Telescope, 114, no. 3 (September 2007): 30-38.
- ___“Roger Hayward and the Invention of the Two-Mirror Schmidt,” Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society 37 (December 2005): 1242.
- Bullin, Chris. “Review, CD-ROM: Scientific American—The Amateur Scientist 3 .0, Article Collection Spans the Decades," Physics Education (May 2012): 370.
- Johnston, Sean F. "Vaunting the Independent Amateur: Scientific American and the Representation of Lay Scientists.” Annals of Science 72, no. 2 (2018): 97-119.
- Stong, C. L. The Amateur Scientist: The Scientific American Book for Projects. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1960.
- Scientific American 1, no. 1 (August 28, 1845): 1.