Scope and Content
Title: Harold W. Iversen Collection,
Date (inclusive): 1930-1970
Collection number: MS 76/13
Iversen, Harold Walter, 1913-1973
Extent: ca. 15 linear ft. (14 cartons, ca. 1,300 items)
Water Resources Collections and Archives
Shelf location: This collection is stored off-campus at NRLF. Please contact the Water Resources Collections and Archives staff for access
to the materials.
Collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been assigned to the Water Resources Collections and Archives. All requests for permission to publish or
quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Archives. Permission for publication is given on
behalf of the Water Resources Collections and Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or
imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.
[Identification of item], Harold W. Iversen Collection, MS 76/13, Water Resources Collections and Archives, University of
Scope and Content
Collection of reports and papers on the subjects of pumps, turbines, fans, metering and flow (hydraulics).
Harold Walter Iversen
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Harold Walter Iversen died on November 10, 1973 at the age of sixty, after a long and valiant struggle to overcome the effects
of major cancer surgery. He is survived by his wife, Ruby Kahler Iversen, and two children, his son Jon and his daughter Karen
Iversen Timm, both of Dixon, California.
Harold Iversen was born in San Francisco on September 1, 1913, the son of foreign-born parents-Carl Alfred Iversen, a native
of Norway, and Martha Jorgensen Iversen, who came from Denmark. His parents moved to San Pedro, where his father, a former
ship captain, found employment as Port Captain and Dock Superintendent. Harold spent his early years in San Pedro, where he
acquired a familiarity with ships and with people who work in shipping which later proved important to him.
After completing his secondary education in the public schools of San Pedro, Harold studied at UCLA for two years, completing
the pre-engineering program and qualifying for transfer to the Berkeley campus, which at that time had the only Engineering
College in the University system. Before enrolling at Berkeley, he spent two years earning the money to finance his education.
Most of the jobs related to the sea, ranging from bathhouse attendant to wiper and oiler in the engine rooms of tanker ships,
the latter activity keeping him at sea for nearly a year.
Following receipt of the B.S. degree in Engineering after two years at Berkeley, Harold worked as a Mechanical Engineer for
the Ingersoll-Rand Corporation in New Jersey, where his work involved the development and testing of compressors, blowers,
pumps, and allied equipment. During the four-year period at this work, he rose from engineering trainee to responsible charge
of the test work in the laboratory. This practical engineering experience contributed to his ability to later teach engineering
subjects from a practical viewpoint.
Harold returned to the Berkeley campus in 1941 to teach in the general field of fluid mechanics and to qualify for the M.S.
degree, which was awarded to him in 1943. He served in several academic ranks and was advanced to Professor of Mechanical
Engineering in 1957. While he taught a variety of different courses in the laboratory and lecture room, his major interest
was in the field of pumping machinery. The course in this subject, taught for a number of years, was a developing course,
keeping pace with his research in the field. At the time of his death Harold was engaged in the compilation of his research
and course notes into a textbook on pumping machinery.
Harold was in local charge of the engineering group sent to Bikini Atoll to measure the wave disturbance produced by the early
atom bomb tests conducted there. He developed the recording instruments required for these observations and was able to improvise
on the spot, as indicated by his use of empty tomato cans lashed to palm trees at various heights to determine the maximum
heights of the wave crossing the atoll.
As a professional engineer, Harold was called upon to serve as a consultant on fluid mechanics problems, one of these being
the problem of designing a dredge pump for use in Ghana, at a site where the sand contained diamond particles capable of eroding
the runners of pumps quite rapidly. His design of a jet pump solved the problem, with laboratory models to support his conclusions.
This preoccupation with models was also evidenced by his success in solving problems for the City of San Francisco, where
the pump intakes in the waste treatment plants could not carry the load until revamped, following model tests carried on by
Professor Iversen. He also used models to finalize the hydraulic design of the fountain at the Bank of America in San Francisco,
a design which has been copied for other fountains.
Professor Iversen served as Associate Dean of the College of Engineering from 1964 to 1969. Here he worked with students and
faculty members to improve the advising system of the College and to aid students in finding solutions to their problems of
academic standing. He served as advisor to student organizations and exercised his hobby of cooking by serving as barbecue
chef at the annual ASME student picnic.
Harold will be remembered by his colleagues and former students for his careful and time-consuming preparation for class presentations,
his clear and concise reporting of research and design work, and his insistence upon the best performance of which the students
E. D. Howe
J. W. Johnson
P. B. Stewart
Dean M. P. O'Brien, upon his arrival in Berkeley in the late 1920's, started a collection of reprints, pamphlets, etc. on
various areas of hydraulics-principally in the fields of interest to civil and mechanical engineers. The base of this collection
appears to be the personal collection of Blake van Leer, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University, who later
was to serve with distinction as President of the Georgia Institute of Technology. The collection of O'Brien was in his office
in the Mechanics Building and additions were made continually over the years by Professors E. D. Howe, R. G. Folsom, H. A.
Einstein, J. W. Johnson, and H. W. Iversen.
By 1958, when Einstein and Johnson were transferred from the Department of Mechanical Engineering to the Department of Civil
Engineering, most of the collection was taken to the then new O'Brien Hall-with the exception of the material on pumps, turbines,
etc. which was of interest principally to mechanical engineers. This material was left with Professor Iversen, who systematically
cataloged the collection into subject listings. Upon Iversen's death, the collection was transferred to the Water Resources
Collections and Archives where it is now known as the Iversen Collection.
The main collection in O'Brien Hall was assembled over the years into two collections by Professor Einstein-one collection
pertained to Sediment, with twenty-six subject categories, and the other to Flow, with twenty-four subject categories. These
two collections were transferred to the Water Resources Collections and Archives upon the death of Professor Einstein,
and are now known as the Einstein Collection.
Other parts of the original O'Brien Collection have been integrated into the regular collection of the Water Resources Collections
and Archives or into the Ocean Engineering Collection which is also in the Archives.
J. W. Johnson
June 6, 1977