The month of July 1941 proved difficult for Pauling. His health, though steadily
improving, was not yet at its peak, his government work was demanding much of his
time and energy, and his responsibilities at Caltech were pushing him beyond his limits.
The creation of the OSRD and resultant restructuring of the NDRC only added to the
Pauling, however, quickly found that things were not as bad as they seemed. His wife,
Ava Helen, was carefully managing his diet and exercise, allowing him to maximize
his time in the laboratory while remaining relatively healthy. His administrative
work at Caltech was being overseen by the chemistry department staff and secretaries
and his war research enjoyed the full support of the institution's administrators.
Even better, the OSRD was handling things beautifully. With Vannevar Bush at the
helm, the OSRD was reviewing and renewing NDRC contracts through a process designed
to prevent disruption of research. This process was, in large part, facilitated by
a few capable administrators. Irvin Stewart, secretary to the NDRC and one of Bush's pre-war companions, was one such official.
He provided invaluable aid to researchers like Pauling throughout the war, keeping
his charges funded, supplied, and debriefed. With his help, Pauling's oxygen meter
contracts were renewed by mid-August and the operation continued undisturbed.
Over the next seven months Pauling's group worked virtually without contact from the
OSRD or NDRC and focused on producing oxygen meters as rapidly as possible. In addition
to the original model which had been distributed to labs around the country, Pauling's
team also devised a unit with a special damping apparatus to be used on submarines.
By early spring 1942, orders for the new model had begun pouring in from military
outfits and scientists. With more than fifty requests by April, Pauling and his associates
quickly realized that their small laboratory workshop couldn't keep up with the volume.
Daunted, Pauling turned to another Caltech staff member, Dr. Arnold O. Beckman. In the 1930s, Dr. Beckman had garnered acclaim for the invention and production
of a pH meter and a spectrophotometer, leading him to open an instrument manufacturing
company. His skills were just what Pauling needed.