Contributing to Botany, Microscopy and Science Since 1926

Generation One:  George H. Conant, Ph.D. Early Years

Third Generation Family Business

Triarch Incoporated, a third generation family business , was started in 1926 by Dr. George H. Conant.  George grew up on a farm in the small town of  Ripon, Wisconsin.  Throughout his childhood, he was always interested in science.  In high school he focused on Botany.   Consequently, as a student assistant at Ripon College, he started making Botanical microscope slides.  He graduated with his bachelor’s  in 1920. He then pursued further education in Madison at the University of Wisconsin.

Subsequently, George decided to  pursue his botanical interests in Madison at the University of Wisconsin.  A visiting professor, Dr. Gilbert Smith of Stanford, observed young George’s work on a rapid process for staining botanical slides.  The story goes that Dr. Smith was so impressed with the technique that he called George late at night to entreat him to pursue commercial slide production.  George’s success allowed him to finance the completion of his Doctorate in Plant Pathology in 1926.

Dr. George Conant Philadelphia Conference





Generation One:  George H. Conant, Ph.D. Later Years

Dr. George Conant can be seen here presenting his Botanical slides at the 1926 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Philadelphia.






After experiencing four years of an assistant professorship (while producing Botanical slides on the side)  at the University of Pennsylvania-Philadelphia, George decided to return home to Ripon, Wisconsin.  In 1929, he opened “Triarch Botanical Slides,” in a house on Ripon’s Historic Watson Street.   This establishment was the sole address of the business for 18 years.





1933 Catalogue of Triarch Botanical Slides, the largest photographic microscope slide catalog ever published in the United States at the time also contained 200 photomicrographs.








1940 Catalogue of Triarch Botanical Slides illustrating the revolutionary quadruple stain process consequently perfected by Dr. George H. Conant.




Finally, Triarch Botanical Slides was able to add histological, embryological and zoological slides to the catalog with the employment of Dr. Carl Waldemar Hagquist in 1951.





Our Third Generation Family Business

Generation Two:  Paul Conant

Following in his father’s footsteps Paul Conant also completed a B.S. in Botany at the University of Wisconsin.  He started working at Triarch in 1957 and took over the family business when his father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.













In 1965, Triarch Incorporated moved into a newly built facility.  In addition to increased work space,  the extensive grounds continue to provide for specimen collection.






Paul Conant, a gentle and hardworking man, ran Triarch Incorporated for 55 years.  As a result of his dedication, he has left a legacy of knowledge to science education.  For example, in 2006, he established the TRIARCH “Botanical Images” Student Travel Award.  Furthermore Cathy Conant, his daughter,continues to proudly support this tradition.




Our Third Generation Family Business

Generation Three:  Cathy Conant

Third Generation Family Business


Cathy Conant, Paul’s daughter, joined the Triarch team in 1989 after completing her B.S. in Zoology at UW-Madison.   Her husband, Jeff Bardsley, was recruited to head the Histology/Embryology Department in 1999.  P.J. Bardsley, the fourth generation, started  in the Zoology Department in 2012.  Florence Conant, Paul’s wife, also still comes in and helps out on a regular basis.






The 2017 Triarch Incorporated Team includes:triarch incorporated staff 2017

Back Row: Robyn Davis, Keaton Wigg, Astrid
Lowry, Jeff Bardsley, and Lisa Roth

Middle Row: Tony Berton, Sue Dornfeld, and Cathy Conant

Front Row:  April L. Stahnke, Sandra Berton and Sherry Skurr

Photographer:  Donna Charley-Johnson

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