In the summer of 1937, Roger began working earnestly with John Strong, a Caltech associate and future lifelong friend, on the development of a projection screen for use in motion picture studios. The work resulted in a shared patent for both Roger and John, and the two collaborated further on Procedures in Experimental Physics, a successful and widely praised physics textbook that was published by Prentice-Hall in 1938. Afterwards, Roger conducted research for the Unbreakable Lens Company of America, a position that involved testing and measuring certain properties of transparent plastics. Along the way he steadily acquired a general understanding of the problems surrounding lens design and optical computation, knowledge which aided him greatly in future research.
Because of his mounting familiarity with optical science, Roger was offered a year-long position as a physics consultant in optics for National Technical Laboratories in 1939, and then again in 1940. The work was closely related to the spectrograph that he had constructed for himself a few years prior, and his job involved adapting elements of his spectrograph design to a monochrometer, a simpler “first cousin to a spectrograph.” National Technical Laboratories eventually became Beckman Instruments, and in time the company profited handsomely from Roger’s design, selling more than 28,000 of these instruments by 1957.
Roger stayed quite busy with his temporary positions for most of the 1930s, but still found plenty of time to seek out extracurricular scientific research in additional fields. He earnestly developed ideas for potential patents, including a device for measuring sound absorption, several improvements to listening devices, and a design for a new electric motor. Altogether, Roger Hayward’s work during the Great Depression, with its slightly erratic changes of focus and character, prepared him well for occupying a unique niche in the government-contracted research sector that began to materialize in the early 1940s, as U.S. involvement in the Second World War began to escalate.