Mansfield Merriman Hydraulics Laboratory

In 1886-1887, civil engineering professor Mansfield Merriman, built the first hydraulics laboratory under college auspices in America on Lehigh's campus. Merriman moved a small building, previously used as a chemistry laboratory, to a position between the present Chandler-Ullmann building and Williams Hall. Originally the stream, known as South Mountain Brook, flowed on the surface down the north face of South/Lehigh Mountain but now it flows through an underground conduit. Merriman and his students conducted pioneering research in measuring flowing water and the characteristics of turbines. This small laboratory continued until 1895 when it was supplanted. Continued hydraulics research was provided for when John Fritz built the Fritz Engineering Laboratory. Many years later, Herbert R. Imbt (LU Class of 1938) donated funds to improve the hydraulics facilities in Fritz Engineering Laboratory. The hydraulics laboratory created by Mansfield Merriman was dedicated as an historic hydraulics laboratory. The original plaque was located on a boulder on the slope between Williams Hall and Coxe Laboratory when dedicated in 1943 but disappeared in later years. There is now a replacement plaque attached on the northeast wall of the original Fritz Laboratory building.