Irwin G. Priest was born on the 27th January 1886 near Loudonville, Ohio. Upon receiving a bachelor’s degree in 1907 from the University of Ohio, Priest went to work for the National Bureau of Standards and after six years was promoted to chief of the Colorimetry Section of the Optics Division.
He spent much of his career focusing on fundamental problems in color science. He designed a rotatory dispersion colorimetric photometer to determine color, temperature, and intensity of incandescent lights as well as various forms of daylight. He also designed a device to determine color using dominant wavelength purity and brightness.
Priest was named the first honorary lifetime member of the American Oil Chemists Society in 1913 for his work on oil color grading.
Irwin G. Priest died in 19 July 1932.