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Inventory of the Harold W. Iversen Collection, 1930-1970
MS 76/13  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content
  • Access Points
  • Biography
  • Introduction

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Harold W. Iversen Collection,
    Date (inclusive): 1930-1970
    Collection number: MS 76/13
    Creator: Iversen, Harold Walter, 1913-1973
    Extent: ca. 15 linear ft. (14 cartons, ca. 1,300 items)
    Repository: Water Resources Collections and Archives
    Riverside, CA 92517-5900
    Shelf location: This collection is stored off-campus at NRLF. Please contact the Water Resources Collections and Archives staff for access to the materials.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    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.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Harold W. Iversen Collection, MS 76/13, Water Resources Collections and Archives, University of California, Riverside.

    Scope and Content

    Collection of reports and papers on the subjects of pumps, turbines, fans, metering and flow (hydraulics).

    Access Points

    Flow meters
    Hydraulic measurements
    Hydraulic turbines
    Water hammer
    Fluid mechanics
    Fluid dynamics


    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 were capable.
    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