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Wallace & Tiernan Company records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RITArc-0014

Scope and Contents

The Wallace & Tiernan Company records include a variety of documents related to the organization. The financial documents in the collection consist of stockholder information, auditor reports, company financial data, and annual reports. The collection contains administrative documents and governance materials such as company by-laws, merger proposals, a certificate of incorporation, publicity releases, and relevant press clippings. There is also a business overview compiled by M. D. Watson in 1946 which describes the company's history, as well as descriptive booklets about Wallace & Tiernan products and inventions. In addition, the collection includes copies of legal briefs for several court cases involving Wallace & Tiernan Company.

The collection also contains several bound volumes, such as two biographies written about Charles Wallace (A Full Life...Charles Frederick Wallace, July 1, 1885-June 3, 1964; The Life and Inventions of Charles Frederick Wallace), a text on Wallace and Tiernan's chlorinator (Chlorine Control Apparatus for Water and Sewage Purification), photograph albums commemorating Wallace & Tiernan Company's 40th and 45th anniversaries, and a scrapbook given to Florence Murray Wallace on her 70th birthday.

Several of Charles F. Wallace's awards are also in the collection, including his Monmouth College honorary degree, the Edward Longstreth Medal of Merit, the New Jersey Inventors Congress and Hall of Fame Medal, and a "Pioneers Build America" plaque.


  • Creation: 1918-1976

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical / Historical

Wallace & Tiernan Company was founded by Charles F. Wallace and Martin F. Tiernan in 1911. Housed in a single-room shop in New York City, the company’s research focused on sanitation products. For the first couple of years, Wallace worked in the shop developing new products, while Tiernan worked several outside jobs to raise funds for the company. The team’s first breakthrough came in 1913, when the Jersey City Water Supply asked them to install their newly invented “chlorinator” to help sanitize that local watershed.

On April 15, 1915, Wallace and Tiernan brought in their first employee, William Orchard. By 1921 the company had outgrown the New York City shop and was relocated to Belleville, NJ. The organization continued to grow, as Wallace & Tiernan Company established itself as a worldwide leader in water sanitation equipment.

Charles F. Wallace (1885-1964) was born in Kansas City, Missouri on July 1, 1885 to Charles and Nellie (née Galehouse) Wallace. After briefly attending Wooster College in Ohio and the University of Michigan, Wallace moved to New York City in 1908. He met Tiernan while working at the Gerard Ozone Processing Company, when the two roomed together at a local YMCA. Wallace married Florence Murray, a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Domestic Science Department, in 1914 and the couple had three daughters. During his lifetime, Wallace was granted over 80 patents for his inventions. He died on June 3, 1964 in Summit, NJ.

Martin F. Tiernan (1882-1968) was born in Rochester, NY on October 15, 1882 to Christopher and Mary (née Farnan) Tiernan. After graduating from the University of Rochester in 1906, Tiernan attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he studied sanitary engineering. As an assistant bacteriologist for the Pittsburgh Typhoid Fever Commission, Tiernan developed an interest in water sterilization. He married Purcell Carroll in Brewster, NY on September 2, 1916 and they had five children. Tiernan died in March 1968 in Garwood, NJ.

Wallace and Tiernan were jointly honored with the Edward Longstreth Medal of the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia in 1922. Wallace also received the Modern Pioneer Award of the National Association of Manufacturers in 1940.


11.5 Linear Feet (3 document boxes, 4 clamshell boxes, 18 bound volumes)




Records of the Wallace & Tiernan Company from 1925-1969. Wallace & Tiernan Company was founded by Charles F. Wallace and Martin F. Tiernan in 1911 and is best known for their developments in the field of water purification. The collection contains administrative and financial documents related to the company including annual reports, company financial data, stockholder information, and auditor reports; governance materials such as by-laws and board meeting information; and briefs from several court cases involving Wallace & Tiernan Company. Also included are biographies written on Charles F. Wallace, photograph albums, and awards and medals.


The collection is primarily arranged by object type. Administrative and financial documents are included at the start of the collection and are loosely organized in chronological order. Bound volumes and awards are located at the end of the collection, including several bound copies of court case documents.

Physical Location

temporary range 84

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Lara Nicosia in November 2010.

Wallace & Tiernan Company records
RIT Archives
Lara Nicosia
08 November 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • January 2021: multilevel description added from inventory by Gigi Ye

Repository Details

Part of the RIT Archives Repository

Rochester NY 14623 USA