Science: Old Craftsman

Benjamin Harrison was in the White House; in Paris, Professor Louis Pasteur was working out his theories on bacteria; and in Würzburg, Wilhelm Konrad Röntgen was on the threshold of discovering the X ray, with scarcely a glimmering of the wonderful and terrible world of radioactivity that lay beyond. At Washington's Smithsonian Institution, itself only 46 years old, a 23-year-old instrument maker named Andrew Kramer applied for a job. Secretary Samuel P. Langley hired him on trial, that October day in 1892, to equip his astrophysical observatory. Last week, the 30-day trial having strung out to 61 years, Andrew Kramer, 84,...

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