Importance makes faces grave; work makes them lean; gazing at mysteries gives them a sober cast. At Cornell University, Ithaca, a group of men gathered. Their faces were grave, lean, sober; they were the members of the American Chemical Society, assembled for their 68th Annual Convention. Two qualities they all had in common. One was a profound concern with the wonders that beset men's comings and goings, traffics and discoveries, on the earth. The other was renown. They deliberated, debated, uttered paragraphs of chemical formulae that were, when understood, criticism, gasconade and prophecy. Sometimes the summer lightning of plain speech lit the cloudy thunders of their discourse . . . "$62,000,000,000." . . . "The most amazing development in History." . . . "How to cure rickets." . . .
Among the renowned were: Sir Robert Robertson, chief Government chemist of Great Britain; Livingston Farrand, President of Cornell; Sir Max Muspratt, onetime Lord Mayor of Liverpool, foremost British indus- trial engineer; Dr. J. S. McHargue, head of the Kentucky Agricultural Station; T. A. Boyd of the General Motors Corporation; Professor H. Steenbock, chemical research head of the University of Wisconsin; Professor E. C. C. Baly, famed savant of the University of Liverpool. In the chair was Dr. Leo Hendrik Baekeland, President of the Society, a man who invents. He has discovered processes for the separation of copper and cadmium, for the impregnation of wood, for the making of Velox paper, thus winning heavy honors, including several pounds of medals. But first among his achievements is the invention of a certain substance.