Ward’s Science is the largest science education supplier in the U.S. and it’s heaquartered right here at home. 53 years ago News 8 featured the company in its business spotlight, and the film is priceless.
The year was 1966. Our cameras followed the president of the company as he proudly showed off the slice of redwood tree located in the front yard of the Ward’s facility in Irondequoit.
By then, Ward’s was just over a century old.
Among those most interested in the history of Ward’s Science is the University of Rochester.
The company was founded by Rochester native Henry Augustus Ward, who was a UofR professor from 1861 to 1865. Its early history is carefully catalogued at Rush Rhees Library. Ward loved geology, archeology, and taxidermy, and he travelled the world to collect specimens.
“The growth of natural history museums – this was its boom time,” says Melissa Mead, the John M. and Barbara Keil University Archivist and Rochester Collections Librarian at Rush Rhees Library. “What Ward did was supply those natural history museums.”
Our film features Ward’s scientists and technicians in their element, showing off human skeletons for use by medical students, the cast of a dinosaur leg and a preserved tarantula. There’s a lizard in the live specimen department, and microscope slides being prepared for high school science experiments.
Meantime at the UofR, you’ll find catalogues and pictures from the company’s beginnings.
In one vintage photo, two men prepare stones for school rock collections – the rarest of pictures, because it shows Ward’s employees inside the facility actually doing their work.
That’s what makes News 8’s film special too.
From a small work room at Wards to an assembly line filmed by News 8 — 70 years later.
Ward’s Science is 157 years old and still going strong.
It’s headquartered in Henrietta.
Here’s the company history from its website.