Part of a recent donation from Frisco Railroad researcher and collector Louis Griesemer, the Frisco Lab Photograph Collection (M 97) is currently being processed and digitized by Special Collections and Archives staff. The collection contains over 5,000 images and will be digitized in its entirety, with a selection made available online. Images include interiors and exteriors of railroad cars, locomotives, accidents, broken parts examined at the lab, Frisco employees, company events, and more. Once the collection is processed, researchers will also have the opportunity to look through the finding aid online and request additional images to be added to the online collection.
The Frisco Laboratory was in operation as early as the 1920s at the Frisco Shops in Springfield, but a new building dedicated in 1955 increased the operations of the lab. According to a 1991 article in the All Aboard publication, these operations included the “General Analytical Laboratory, for all types of chemical analysis except oil tests; Fuels & Lubricants Laboratory, for testing samples of fuel and lubricating oils, both new and used; Physical Chemistry Laboratory, for corrosion tests, analytical distillations, and similar work; Protective Coatings Laboratory, for testing of paints, roofing compounds, etc.; Physical Testing Laboratory, for testing the tensile and compressive strength of metals and concrete; Spectrographic Laboratory, for spectrographic analysis of materials; Photographic Darkroom, for processing both photographic and spectrographic negatives and plates; Photographic Laboratory, for photographic objects and for drying, trimming, and mounting photographs; Metallographic Laboratory, for microscopic study of metals and for microphotography; and a Water Laboratory, for analysis of water used for various purposes over the Frisco System.” When Frisco and Burlington-Northern merged in 1980, the lab continued to be part of the railroad’s operations; but in 1986 it became part of the Transportation Services Division Inc. of Day & Zimmermann.