H. Tracy Hall: The Authentic Course to the Synthetic Diamond

March 28, 2016 / no comments

When children are asked the question “what do you want to be when you grow up?”, their answers often end up being somewhat predictable: a firefighter, a policeman, a racecar driver, or maybe a dentist, a doctor, or a school teacher. But these stereotypical answers didn’t satisfy the curiosity and creative mind of H. Tracy Hall. He always wanted to be a scientist at the General Electric Company, and began working toward this dream as a young fourth-grader.

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Hall with his first tetrahedral press and tetrahedral X-ray press at Novatek in the early 2000s.

Hall stopped at nothing to achieve this dream and went on to work for General Electric Company. It was here that he played a large role in developing the synthetic diamond-making process — an invention that we now use every day when we use everyday objects like nail files, smart phones, and construction saws.

Hall’s children recently hired Legacy Books to put together a Legacy Book documenting their father’s life with stories, records, and priceless photos. KSL also recently did a story highlighting Hall’s life and parts of his Legacy Book. 

Hall was grateful for the experiences he had as a child that helped him develop the skills he needed to eventually work at GE and develop the historic synthetic diamond.  While the sacrifices both he and his family members had to make may have been draining at times, he knew sticking to his dream was what he was determined to do.

“Mom prized her precious sewing machine, yet allowed [me] to take it apart and put it back together to find out how it worked,” Hall says in his Legacy Book.

While putting together Hall’s Legacy Book, our researches discovered that Hall had the success of creating the synthetic diamond exactly 20 years to the date that his family lost the Marriott farm. This shows complete extremes from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs! Knowing this timeline helped the family think of the event as providential.

Hall’s personal account of the experience discovering the synthetic diamond-making process was documented in the Washington Post in 1954. It reads:

“My hands began to tremble; my heart beat rapidly; my knees weakened and no longer gave support. My eyes had caught the flashing light from dozens of tiny… crystals. And I knew that diamonds had finally been made by man.”

As Legacy Books owner John Catron worked with Hall’s children to put his Legacy Book together, he has been amazed at the things Dr. Hall accomplished in his lifetime and the amount of people he influenced.

Just as Dr. Hall’s Legacy Book is filled with many stories that give insight into his life as a scientist, an educator, and a family man, each one of our ancestors has stories that give more insight into who they are and why they do the things they do. Legacy Books is the perfect resource for helping families save their parents’ story.

“The impact of Dr. Hall’s inventions are immeasurable. It was incredible to just invent the first apparatus and system that could synthesize diamonds repeatedly,” he said. “There is nary an industry that at some point does not utilize synthetic diamond in its production. He’s the perfect example of dreaming big and obtaining an education equal to your dreams.”