Collection Scope and Contents
Title: Harold W. Iversen papers
Date (inclusive): 1878-1975
Date (bulk): 1930-1970
Collection Number: WRCA 081
Iversen, Harold W.
14.0 linear feet
Rivera Library. Special Collections Department.
Abstract: The collection consists of reports and
papers on the subjects of pumps, turbines, fans, metering and flow (hydraulics).
Languages: The collection is in English.
The collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been assigned to the University of California, Riverside Libraries,
Special Collections & University Archives. Distribution or reproduction of materials
protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of
the copyright owners. To the extent other restrictions apply, permission for distribution or
reproduction from the applicable rights holder is also required. Responsibility for
obtaining permissions, and for any use rests exclusively with the user.
[identification of item], [date if possible]. Harold W. Iversen collection (WRCA 081).
Water Resources Collections and Archives. Special Collections & University Archives,
University of California, Riverside.
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.
Processed by Water Resources Collections and Archives staff, 1999.
Collection number updated February 2019. Legacy collection number was MS 76/13. This change
was part of a project in 2018/2019 to update the collection numbers for collections in the
Water Resources Collections and Archives.
Harold Walter Iversen, 1913-1973. 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
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
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
Collection Scope and Contents
The collection consists of reports and papers on the subjects of pumps, turbines, fans,
metering and flow (hydraulics).
The collection is arranged topically into 66 series.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the
library's online public access catalog.
Genres and Forms of Materials