Daniel Norman (I)

The following is an excerpt from Chester Lane’s introductory affidavit in support of Hiss’s 1952 motion for a new trial, followed by Daniel P. Norman‘s report. Dr. Norman, a Harvard-educated chemist, in his own affidavit offered the first evidence that the Hiss case typewriter, Woodstock #230,099, had been altered.

… I finally consulted Dr. Daniel Norman, Director of Chemical Research of the New England Spectrochemical Laboratories, of Ipswich, Massachusetts, and President of its subsidiary, Skinner & Sherman, of Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Norman’s organization was recommended to me as “the best in the business,” with long and distinguished experience in the field of metallurgical analysis. Dr. Norman agreed to examine Woodstock N230,099 for me. He has done so, and his conclusions are embodied in his affidavit, S-IT-A, which I attach.


In my original motion papers, I presented evidence to show that it was possible to construct or alter a machine so as to make its typing resemble that of another machine so closely that an expert would be unable to tell the difference, especially if he applied the criteria used by the Government’s expert at the trials. I attached specimens of typing from two different machines and invited the Government to have its experts tell them apart if they could. I do not know whether the Government’s experts can tell them apart, or even whether the Government will dare accept the invitation to try. However that may be, my proffered proof is now no longer pointed to showing how someone could have faked a machine which would fool the experts; it shows rather that someone did fake such a machine. Clearer evidence of the plot to incriminate Alger Hiss falsely could scarcely be desired.


Exhibit S-IT-A Supporting Affidavit of Daniel P. Norman.



DANIEL P. NORMAN, being duly sworn, deposes and says:

On February 9, 1952, I was consulted by Mr. Chester T. Lane, attorney for Alger Hiss, with respect to the Woodstock typewriter, N230099, placed in evidence in the Hiss trials. Mr. Lane explained to me that he had reason to believe that the machine was not the original machine owned by the Hisses in the early 1930s, but a deliberately fabricated machine substituted in its place. He said that experts who had examined specimens of typing from the machine had expressed the view that there were definite indications of forged typefaces on many of the letters; and that one expert had confirmed this opinion by a microscopic examination of the typefaces of the keys themselves. He asked me whether my organization would be willing and able to examine the machine in detail and advise him whether he had reasonable grounds for his doubts as to its authenticity.

I undertook to make the suggested examination, and make this affidavit as a result of my study.

As background for my conclusions, I state my qualifications, and those of my organization:

I am President of Skinner & Sherman, Inc., 246 Stuart Street, Boston, Massachusetts, Consulting Industrial Chemists. Skinner & Sherman, New England’s oldest and largest firm in its field, is engaged in the business of testing and analysis, both physical and chemical, of metals, chemicals, paper, and other materials, for the United States Armed Services, Federal, State and Municipal Departments, and major industrial firms. Skinner & Sherman, Inc., is a wholly owned subsidiary of the New England Spectrochemical Laboratories, of Ipswich, Massachusetts, a partnership of which I am a member and the Director of Chemical Research. The New England Spectrochemical Laboratories are engaged in spectrographic analytical research in industrial chemistry for a number of the major chemical firms in the United States, and are noted for developing new analytical methods, with respect to which they hold patents and publish technical papers.

I myself am a graduate of Boston University (A.B., A.M.) and Harvard University (Ph.D.), and have studied spectroscopy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I am a member of the principal professional societies in my field, including, among others, the American Chemical Society, the American Institute of Chemists, and the American Optical Society. I am also a member of the Spectrographic Analysis Committee of the American Society for Testing Materials. I have published numerous papers on photography, spectroscopy, and analytical chemistry.

Mr. Lane arranged to have N230099 delivered to me at the laboratories in Ipswich on February 10, 1952. He also, at my request, furnished me for comparison purposes with a number of other old Woodstock typewriters with serial numbers indicating ages both greater and less than that of N230099; and I acquired parts of one such old Woodstock at a typewriter store in Boston.



My examination of Woodstock N230099 and comparison of it with the comparison machines point definitely to the conclusion that Woodstock N230099 is not a machine which has worn normally since leaving the factory, but shows positive signs of having been deliberately altered, in that many of its types are replacements of the originals and have been deliberately shaped.

1. The distribution and work on the solder holding the type to the typebars on N230099 is different in major respects from that observed on the comparison machines.

An examination of the solder holding the type to the typebars on N230099 showed that it differed significantly in its appearance from the solder on the comparison machines.


In view of the irregular manner in which it appeared that the type on N230099 had in general been soldered on, it seemed reasonable to suppose that the whole soldering job was done sloppily, and that examination would disclose an abnormal amount of solder distributed over the sides or skirts of the type. Small samples of metal were therefore removed from the sides of the type just below the hardened type face, but well away from the bottom of the skirt. The samples were taken by a dental drill, at a position shown by the small dimple on the middle raised type-bar in Figure A-2. The types were all carefully cleaned with organic solvents before they were sampled. All forty-two types on N230099 were sampled, and enough types were sampled on the comparison machines to yield a statistically significant comparison figure. Analyses showed that on N230099 one out of every three types definitely had solder distributed over the skirt, whereas, on the comparison machines, the average showed solder only on one type out of seven (in the worst case, on one type out of six; in the best, only on one type out of ten).

I conclude, therefore, that the type on N230099 was not, in general, soldered onto the typebars at the factory or by a professional repair man.

2. Solder used to attach type on heavily soldered type-bars on N230099 is of a different kind from that used to attach type on other typebars on that machine and type on the comparison machines.

Since some of the type on N230099 appears to have been soldered in a different manner from the other type and from the type on the comparison machines, a spectrographic analysis was made of the solder on a number of the typebars. Samples of solder were taken from two types on N230099 that showed the heavy incrustations of solder, and from one type that appeared normal. These samples were compared with three parallel samples taken from N233954, and one sample each from N223810 and from a typebar of the kind used on serial numbers before 220000. Spectrographic analyses showed that the solder on the A and T types (heavy solder blobs) of N230099 contained somewhere between ten and fifty times as much nickel as the solder from the J type (normal appearing) on that machine, or the solder from the five comparison keys from other machines. In addition to these outstanding differences in nickel content, other less marked differences in metallic content are apparent; but full development of these differences would call for further extensive and expensive analyses which have not been made.

These data support the conclusion that the type on N230099 showing heavy solder blobs was probably not put on at the Woodstock factory.

3. Nineteen of the types on N230099 contain elements apparently not present in type metal used on Woodstock machines until serial numbers beginning at a substantially later date.

All forty-two types on N230099 were sampled on the side as described in Point 1 above, and the samples subjected to spectrographic analyses. The analyses show that the different types were not all made from the same batch of metal. These analyses were compared with similar analyses of forty keys from the comparison machines and three keys of old pattern but from machines of unknown serial numbers.

Aluminum, magnesium, vanadium, zinc, antimony, and cobalt, and their combinations, are very minor constituents whose presence or absence appear to be good criteria for showing whether the metals used were identical. The analyses show that the type metal on N223810 (before N230099) and on N233954 (after N230099) do not contain the critical constituents, nor do any of the comparison machines of earlier serial numbers; on the other hand, later comparison machines (i.e., starting with N256269) do show the significant criteria.

N230099 is not uniform. Nineteen of its forty-two types show these criteria; the balance of the types do not. Of these nineteen, thirteen are among the twenty-nine typefaces showing peculiar solder distributions; the remaining six types showing metallurgical deviations are distributed through the solder-questioned types and include one type which definitely looks like a factory-soldered job.

There is no significant difference between the metallurgy of the types which definitely show abnormal solder distribution and the others. As a group, however, the type on Woodstock N230099 shows significant metallurgical deviations from the type on comparison machines made at the same period.

4. Photomicrographs of the surfaces of letters on N230099 display marks of mechanical alteration of the surfaces.

After I had completed the foregoing studies, I was authorized by Mr. Lane to detach some of the typebars, so as to make it possible to get a microscope close enough to the type face to permit photographs of the type-face metal at sufficiently high magnifications to show surface detail . Removal of typebars is a non-destructive process normally used by repairmen, and is performed by uncoupling the key levers and withdrawing the pivot wire on which the typebars normally pivot. Typebars so removed are not damaged or altered in any way and can readily be replaced in their original positions on the machine.

Accordingly, I removed the typebars carrying the letters A, Y and T from Woodstock N230099 and compared the type faces microscopically with type from other machines. On the basis of this study I am prepared to state that abnormal tool marks can be observed on all three type faces, but outstandingly so on the small letter “t.”


Although the surfaces on the three latter comparison types show differing degrees of corrosion, the corrosion being greater in the older machines, the corrosion or roughening is relatively uniform along the surfaces of each letter. The surfaces on N230099 are non-uniform in their finish, and show the appearance of surfaces of which parts have been worked over.



Sworn to before me this
7th day of March, 1952.