Burk Wagner, the research chemist who appears in our film, has been scanning printed materials and photographs owned by Nancy Welch of Westfield, New Jersey. Nancy is the nonagenarian daughter of Larry Byck, the chemist who worked for Leo Baekeland and Bakelite from 1910 to his death in 1956.
See videos of Nancy and more of the scanned images on our website.
The following images were scanned miraculously by Burk from tightly wound rolls of film taken in the 1940s. They reveal Leo’s laboratory before it was lost to fire in 1957.
The person in two of the images is Larry Byck. He was hired by Leo at the age of 16, attended Columbia University, graduating with a degree in chemistry. He was an employee of the Bakelite Company and Corporation. Larry assumed many of Leo’s passions; one being photography. Larry was also an avid gardener, most likely inspired by amateur botanist, Leo Baekeland.