Roger Hayward (1899-1979): The Western Years, Part 2

[This is the third installment of the PaulingBlog’s four part biographical series on Roger Hayward. The text that follows was compiled by Dr. J.R. Kramer, Miriam Kramer and John Benjamin, who may be reached at jkramer2[at]]

Roger Hayward, 1960s.

Roger Hayward, 1960s.


Architecture took off after the war, and in 1949 Roger Hayward became a partner in the firm Lunden, Hayward and O’Connor. This partnership undertook many large jobs in the greater Los Angeles area, including the Hyperion treatment plant, many schools, an addition to Good Samaritan Hospital (which ultimately included a patent for a baby-tending stand), the Los Angeles City Health Building and the Temple Israel of Hollywood. Roger gave particular thought and energy to the design of the front door of the temple.

The firm broke up in 1957, perhaps due to Roger’s influence: he did not like the commute to downtown LA, greatly preferring instead to work in the hobbery in Pasadena and to spend more time on artistic projects. In addition his asthma became chronic and required a clean air environment as well as a daily shot of ACTH. As a result of his departure from the architecture firm, Roger drew more; exhibited in various locales, including the Hatfield Galleries; and gave talks on art, with a particular emphasis on color and color perception in illustrations. He also became involved in the Ebell Art Salon in LA and was active in, and for a term was President of, the Pasadena Art Association.

Roger’s painting was now almost entirely in watercolor, though later he began to favor pastels and crayons. He became enchanted with the American West and he, Betty and their little schnauzer “Gnawbert” (perhaps named after Norbert Weiner at MIT?) would partake in art/fun trips to the desert most every year. Roger mainly painted at home in the hobbery, maintaining a mental vision of what he saw on these trips.

A small sampling of his art titles while out West are:

  • The Savage Office, Virginia City, NV
  • Eighteen Squared and Overlapped
  • Fourth Ward School, Virginia City, NV
  • Eleven by Eleven Rectangles
  • Elsinor Hotel
  • Eleven by Eleven Rectangles and Hexagons
  • Rusty Stove
  • Renascence – Random in Four Parameters
  • Red Wheeled Buggy
  • Model Ship- drawing
  • Banda Point
  • Slippers- drawing
  • Morro Rock
  • Cannibal- drawing
  • San Gorgonia Pass
  • Missionary- drawing
  • Trophies
  • Black Pottery and Navajo Squares- drawing
  • Old Houses, Virginia City
  • Black Pottery and Navajo Rugs- drawing
  • Jeweler’s Lathe
  • Glass, Apples and Oranges- drawing
  • Pier and Dinghy
  • Death Valley Dunes
  • Jetsam
  • Split Rock
  • House on Seventeenth Mile Drive
  • Old Ore Cart
  • Soquel Meadow
  • La Purissima Mission
  • Torrey Pines Beach
  • Rooming House, Virginia City
  • Eighteen Squared
  • Forbidden Canyon


In 1956, Roger was hired as a consultant to Disney Productions for purposes of providing “corrections” to their moon model. The Disney model had been constructed from casts of the Griffith and Adler models, and in the process the Disney materials had been altered.

Fig. 16. Watercolor of a deserted ranch (Kramer collection).

Figure 16. Watercolor of a deserted ranch (Kramer collection).

In 1958, Roger signed a ten year contract — with an annual retainer and add-on commissions — to illustrate solely for W.H. Freeman Publishers.This contract afforded Roger a great deal of freedom and financial stability. Numerous jobs arose out of this agreement, ranging from mineralogy to organic chemistry to mechanics and electronics books.Importantly, the Freeman contract led to the well-received Pauling and Hayward publication, The Architecture of Molecules (see Installment Four of this series).

Despite the security that the Freeman deal provided, the arrangement eventually fizzled as Roger tired of the tedium of “drafting,” and often found himself disagreeing with authors who wanted “clean” diagrams.Roger wanted to “illustrate.”In addition, Roger’s asthma and weakening eyesight made “drafting” more difficult.He therefore reverted to a looser retainer agreement with Freeman, which allowed him to pursue opportunities outside of the publishing house.

Roger became involved in some of the Caltech campus construction in the 1950s and 1960s.He served as architect and critic for the Gordon Alles Biology Building, the Sloan Laboratory Mathematics and Physics Building, the Main Library and the Norman Bridge Lecture Hall.He also made drawings of various atoms and of a telescope, though he did not accept payment for the art work, stating that“I would like to regard these sketches as compensation for my membership in The Athenaeum [faculty club] which I realize is quite irregular.”

Roger took on many innovative challenges throughout his multi-faceted career, work whichresulted in his receipt of ten patents for which he “had fun in doing but never earned a nickel.” These patents are as follows:

Patent Number Date Description
2,200,646 May 14, 1940 Transparent Projection Screen (with J.D. Strong)
2,399,924 May 7, 1946 (filed Feb 17, 1945) Devices for grinding and polishing surfaces
2,403,659 July 9, 1946 (filed May 2, 1945) Apparatus for surface generation
2,403,660 July 9, 1946 (filed May 29, 1945) Optical system for cameras
2,430,637 Nov 11, 1947 (filed Dec 8, 1944) Means and a method for testing optical surfaces
2,514,492 July 11, 1950 (filed Jan 3, 1946) Bubble level with conical lens (see Sci. Am., Nov 1956)
2,625,853 Jan 20, 1953 (filed Feb 3, 1947) Panoramic telescope device
2,625,854 Jan 20, 1953 (filed Dec 2, 1947) Panoramic binocular telescope
2,752,614 July 3, 1956 (filed July 10, 1953) Bassinet attachment (with O’Connor and Lunden)
3,116,720 Jan. 7, 1964 (filed Nov 3, 1960) Pens (with William Bradley Lewis, Idaho Falls, ID)

Roger was always interested in the meaning and interpretation of art, vision, and especially color. As his vision started to fail, he resigned from professional work and started to tinker. One interest was the development of drawings and articles for the Worm Runners Digest, for which Roger authored many publications. The first and perhaps best-known is 1968’s “Blivets-Research and Development” (vol X, no 2) in which he constructs a number of pleasing but impossible diagrams. (Fig. 6 of this issue has been reproduced in a number of other publications. ) “Blivets — the Makings” (Vol XII, no 2, 1970-1971) was probably written in response to the large correspondence he received concerning the construction of these “impossible” figures. One fun contribution was “Cupidons — The Survival of the Flittest” (Vol X1, no 2, 1969). A more serious submission was entitled “The Jigsaw Puzzle and the Inventive Mind” (vol X11, no 1 1969), an essay on memory, imagination and inventiveness. Fun again came in the July 1971 issue (vol XIII, no 1), “Flower Bed Bugs,””Livits” in the 1971 (Vol XIII, no 2) issue, and “Digititums” in the vol XIX, no 2 issue of 1977.

Color perception and meaning were an area of intense study by Roger. He had an artist’s basic sense of color, but was also interested in how an individual considers color, especially with respect to black-and-white. One psychological study that he proposed focused on the spinning of a circular wheel with black-and-white markings on a phonograph table and subsequent observations on the development of color. Roger studied the eye’s perception of color and led many discussions with Caltech academics and art groups. These studies were important in determining the color palette in The Architecture of Molecules. Roger also worked on stereo effects (J Opt Soc Amer. vol 56, 255-256) derived from planar figures, enhancing techniques now commonly used to show stereo views of molecules.

The 1970s saw a marked decrease in Roger’s ability to continue to draw. His eyesight worsened, and in 1974 he was compelled to give up his work on the Amateur Scientist column. He obtained a large orator style typewriter to send letters, and often Betty would have to retype them. One small token of good-fortune was his movement from watercolor drawings to pastels and crayons in the 1950s, which allowed him to continue to sketch through the mid-1970s. His common pastel choice was silver and white on a black background, or vice versa.

In 1973, Roger and Betty moved to Merced, California, so as to enlist the support of Betty’s half-sister. Roger was nearly blind and was limited to mostly drawing in black and white, while Betty continued to design original patterns and to weave. Since Roger’s eyesight was very poor, Betty spent a great deal of time reading out loud and typing his letters. In 1975, he was hospitalized for an extensive period of time, and he returned home quite weakened. He died at home in 1979.

For more on Roger Hayward, click here.

2 Responses

  1. […] Ahora bien, si hay un proyecto que pueda considerarse como su obra maestra, junto con sus otras patentes de diversos aparatos ópticos, sin duda habrá que mencionar la Luna. Sí, porque partiendo de […]

  2. […] Roger Hayward (1899-1979): The Western Years, Part 2 Another example of Hayward's popular Blivets series, as published in Worm Runners Digest. A […]

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