Engineer and inventor; developed many applications of steam power, including bicycles, cars and boats in the late 1800s. The Locomobile Company, with Whitney was chief engineer, produced several thousand steam cars, ca. 1900. Designed the compound steam engine, which powered about 300 U.S. Navy anti-submarine ships in World War I. Received about 150 patents on his inventions, a number of which he sold rights to.
Correspondence: 36 handwritten letters to John H. Bacon from Whitney (Bacon apparently began documenting Whitney's career in the 1950s). Another 30 letters involve former associates of Whitney, particularly Nathaniel Henry Cooledge (called "Oliver"), a trusted foreman and assistant for 50 years. Also: agreements, contracts and patents for Whitney's inventions; news clippings, photoprints, etc. A lengthy questionnaire prepared by Bacon and completed by Whitney in 1955 gives information on major inventions and projects and his personal life.
George Eli Whitney Papers, 1898-1957, Archives Center, National Museum of American History