National Champions

National Champions

Saturday, November 10, 2012

November 10th Clemson Historic Picture Of The Day

Olin Hall Through The Years 

(Photos Uploaded By Alan Cutts) 

Today’s photos revolve around the history of Olin Hall. The above picture was taken in the late 1950s, just a few years after it was completed in 1953. You can see the prefabs to the right in the distance in the above picture. 

Olin Hall was named for F.W. Olin by the John M. Olin Foundation, which made a $2 million gift to Clemson to construct the building. So the building that many students took classes in is named for someone who did not even attend Clemson. 

 Here is some info on Franklin Olin from the ASEE Prism Magazine Online: 

Who is F.W. Olin? There's a good chance that you've seen his legacy. His name is splashed across dozens of engineering buildings on campuses around the nation, a high-profile foundation, and soon an innovative new engineering college. But who is the man behind the legend? 

Francis W. Olin's life was an example of hard work and ingenuity paying off. Born in Vermont in 1860, he received little formal education during his early years, instead studying on his own. He was determined to study engineering and his persistence finally earned him entrance into Cornell University. 

While at Cornell, Olin paid the bills by teaching school, repairing farm machinery, and playing major league baseball for teams in Washington, D.C., and Detroit during the summers.   An outfielder, Olin played 49 games over two seasons and could hold his own at the plate, batting .316 with one home run. After graduating, Olin went to work designing textile-mill machinery. 

His big break came when he took over a powder mill construction contract. This was Olin's introduction to the munitions business, where he managed to reduce the number of explosions occurring in plants. 

Later, he founded the Equitable Powder Manufacturing Company in 1892, and the Western Cartridge Company in 1902. He also established the F.W. Olin Foundation in 1938, which has financed the construction of 72 engineering buildings. Up to his death in 1951, Olin had donated $21 million to the foundation. 

He lived modestly, dedicating much of his wealth and talents to the service of others. Through the many schools which have received Olin Foundation grants, his devotion to engineering and science continues to live on. 

(Note: If you have old pictures dating before 1990 that are Clemson related and you would like to share them, send them to me in an email with as much information about the picture as you can give and I will use it for a future “Clemson Historic Picture Of The Day”). 

Scott Rhymer can be reached at