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National Company (NATCO) Atomic Clocks Records

Creator:
Bagnall, James  Search this
Orensberg, Arthur  Search this
NATCO, Inc. (National Company, Inc.)  Search this
Mainberger, Walter  Search this
Lerner, Louis C.  Search this
Holloway, Joseph  Search this
Grant, Eugene  Search this
George, James  Search this
Daly, Richard Timothy, Jr.  Search this
Bovarnick, Michael  Search this
Extent:
5.5 Cubic feet (16 boxes, 3 oversize folders)
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Blueprints
Technical drawings
Reports
Manuals
Photographs
Date:
1955 - 1968
Summary:
The records document the development of the first commercial atomic clocks by the National Company, Inc., (NATCO) of Malden, Massachusetts, a company known for producing specialized electronic equipment. The records include blueprints, technical drawings and schematics, technical and research reports, instruction manuals, photographs, and marketing materials.
Scope and Contents:
The National Company (NATCO) Atomic Clocks Records, 1955-1968, documents the development of the first commercial atomic clocks. Materials were generated by the National Company, Inc. (NATCO) of Malden, Massachusetts which produced the clocks under contract for military branches of the U.S. government and also marketed them on a retail basis. The collection consists of blueprints, technical drawings and schematics, technical and research reports, instruction manuals, photographs, marketing materials, and a stock offering prospectus for NATCO. If one blueprint, drawing or parts list had two or more models listed, it is included under the first model cited.

Series 1, National Company, Inc., (NATCO), 1957-1959, consists of a stock offering prospectus, 1959, which describes the organization of NATCO, its executives and Board of Directors, financial condition, and products. Located in this series is a bound volume of photographs which accompanied NATCO's contract bids. This volume contains photographs of a state-of-the-art machine shop and electronics laboratory of the late 1950s and early 1960s. A blueprint for a radio receiver— the product on which NATCO had built its reputation—is here.

Series 2, Atomichrons, 1955-1968, contains blueprints, original technical drawings and schematics, instruction manuals for setup and operation, technical and research reports, photographs and marketing materials arranged by Atomichron model from the National Atomic Frequency System (NAFS) prototype through the NC3701 and NC3702. The NC1001, the first commercial atomic clock, is fully documented. Technical Memoranda and proposals (TM-) related to particular models have been included with them. Other Technical Memoranda and proposals are in Series 3, Components, 1955-1957, and Series 5, Technical Memoranda and Reports, 1956-1957.

Series 3, Components, 1955-1967, contains materials related to the development of NATCo's Cesium Beam Tube and other parts of the Atomichrons. It includes Technical Memoranda (TM-), blueprints and original drawings, original notes and computations, parts lists, and photographs. Also included in this series is material related to the Production Engineering Measure (PEM), 1962-1967. This was a piece of equipment designed and built by NATCO to measure the accuracy of each Cesium Beam Tube as it was produced.

Series 4, Collision Avoidance System, 1962-1967, consists of material related to James J. Bagnall's patented Collision Avoidance System, using the Cesium Beam Frequency Standard. It includes his research report, the patent assigned to NATCO, and proposals and reports from NATCO representatives to Air Transportation Association conferences and meetings for 1967.

Series 5, Technical Memoranda and Reports, 1956-1967, consists of bound and numbered (TM-) technical memoranda. These are research reports and proposals for future research or products. Other technical memoranda are in Series 2, Atomichrons and Series 3, Components, 1955-1967.

Series 6, Reprints from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 1953-1955, contains a bound volume of reprinted or photocopied papers which document research developments in Cesium Beam Frequency Standards at the time NATCO was establishing itself as a commercial producer.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into six series.

Series 1: National Company, Inc., (NATCO), 1957-1959

Series 2: Atomichrons, 1955-1968

Subseries 2.1, National Atomic Frequency System (NAF), 1956

Subseries 2.2, NC1001, 1955-circa 1959

Subseries 2.3, NC1001, Polaris, 1956-1958

Subseries 2.4, NC2001, Militarized, 1956-1961

Subseries 2.5, NC3001, Airborne, 1956-1961

Subseries 2.6, NC1200, 1959

Subseries 2.7, Missileborne Atomichron, 1959-1960

Subseries 2,8, NC1501, 1958-1964

Subseries 2.9, NC1601, Economy, 1958-1964

Subseries 2.10, Tactical Frequency Standard Drawings, 1959

Subseries 2.11, Tri-Service CBFS, circa 1965

Subseries 2.12, NC3501, circa 1965, 1967

Subseries 2.13, NC3601, Aerospace, circa 1965

Subseries 2.14, NC3701, Commercial, 1964-1968

Series 3: Components, 1955-1967

Series 4: Collision Avoidance System, 1962-1967

Series 5: Technical Memoranda and Reports, 1956-1967

Series 6: Reprints from MIT, 1953-1955
Biographical / Historical:
An atomic clock is a cesium-based frequency standard. It operates by exposing cesium atoms to microwaves at one end of their resonant frequencies and then counting their corresponding cycles as a measure of time. In 1955, Louis Essen of Britain's National Physical Laboratory and William Markowitz of the U.S. Naval Observatory collaborated to produce the first measurement of what is now called the atomic second. In 1967, the 13th general Conference of Weights and Measures formally redefined the atomic second as 9,192,631,770. The atomic second became the internationally accepted unit of time. Atomic clocks are the most accurate of all clocks. The first clock in 1949 was based on the microwave resonances of the ammonia molecule. It was patented by Harold Lyons and Benjamin F. Husten. The first commercial atomic clocks were developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Research Laboratory of Electronics under J.R. Zacharias, a protégé of I.I. Rabi's, circa 1955-1956 and were manufactured by the National Company, Inc. (NATCO) of Malden, Massachussets. NATCO, founded in 1914, was a well-respected company known for producing specialized electronic equipment in short runs. Prototype clocks bore the working name National Atomic Frequency Standard (NAFS). When the first commercial product was unveiled on October 3, 1956, it bore the trade name "Atomichron" and the model number NC-1001. Between 1956 and 1960, fifty Atomichrons were made and sold to military agencies, government agencies, and universities. Nine other models followed with refinements in size, portability and accuracy. The most radical design departure began with the NC3001 when the beam tube was placed in the horizontal position. Prices ranged from $10,000 to $50,000.

Patents covering NATCO's frequency standards include: 2,960,663, 2,972,115, 2,991,389, 3,258,713, 3,305,290. In 1965, James J. Bagnall was assigned patent 3,167,772 for a Collision Avoidance System to NATCO. It never reached production.

Although supported by research contracts by all three military branches, especially the Army Signal Corps, NATCO failed to achieve a lasting profitability. It was liquidated, and its patents were acquired by Frequency Electronics in 1969.

Sources

1. PEM Drawing C43767, 1967, PEM Drawings (C38037-C43767), 1964-1967, Series 3, Components, 1955-1967, Atomic Clock Collection, Archives Center, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History.

2. Forman, Paul. "Atomichron: The Atomic Clock from Concept to Commercial Product," in Proceedings of the IEEE, vol. 73, p. 1181-1204, 1985.
Related Materials:
Materials at the National Museum of American History

Artifacts related to this collection are located in the Division of Work and Industry.

Materials at Other Organizations

Materials related to MIT staff and departments who were involved in NATCO's Atomic Clock projects also can be found in the Historical Collections at the MIT Museum (http://web.mit.edu/museum/) and in the Institute Archives and Special Collections (http://libraries.mit.edu/archives/) of the MIT Libraries in Cambridge, Mass.
Provenance:
Materials in this collection were donated to the Division of Electricity and Modern Physics by Louis C. Lerner in December 1984. The bulk of the blueprints were purchased from Robert Reeves in August, 1991.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research use.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Atomic clocks  Search this
Airplanes -- Collision avoidance -- 1950-1970  Search this
United States -- Air defenses -- Military -- 1950-1970  Search this
Inventions -- 1950-2000  Search this
Frequency standards -- 1950-1970  Search this
Cold War -- 1950-1970  Search this
Clocks and watches -- 1950-1970  Search this
Military-industrial complex -- Massachusetts -- Cambridge  Search this
Patents -- 1950-1970  Search this
Genre/Form:
Blueprints -- 20th century
Technical drawings
Reports -- 1940-1970
Manuals -- 1950-1970
Photographs -- 1940-1970
Citation:
National Company (NATCO) Atomic Clocks Records, 1955-1968, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0547
See more items in:
National Company (NATCO) Atomic Clocks Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0547
Additional Online Media:

Nepali Chandra Man's Songs, December, 1966 [sound recording]

Creator:
Hitchcock, John Thayer 1917-2001  Search this
Physical description:
1 sound tape reel : analog ; 7 in
Culture:
Nepalese  Search this
Type:
Songs
Place:
Kathmandu (Nepal)
Date:
1966
December, 1966
Topic:
Nepalese--Songs  Search this
Language and languages--Documentation  Search this
Local number:
Hitchcock Sound Recording 1
See more items in:
John T. Hitchcock Sound Recordings 1950s-1970s
Data Source:
National Anthropological Archives
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_273730

Manual of foreign languages; for the use of librarians, bibliographers, research workers, editors, translators, and printers, by Georg F. von Ostermann

Author:
Von Ostermann, George F (George Frederick) 1873-1952  Search this
United States Government Printing Office  Search this
Physical description:
414 p. illus. 24 cm
Type:
Style manuals
Date:
1970
1952
Topic:
Printing  Search this
Call number:
Z253 .V94 1952
Z253.V94 1952
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_26947

Manual of the grasses of the United States

Author:
Hitchcock, A. S (Albert Spear) 1865-1935  Search this
Chase, Agnes 1869-1963  Search this
Physical description:
2 v. illus., maps. 24 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
United States
Date:
1971
1950
[1971]
Topic:
Grasses--Identification  Search this
Call number:
QK495.G74 H67 1971
QK495.G74H67 1971
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_8854

Dangerous properties of industrial materials / N. Irving Sax, assisted by Marilyn C. Bracken ... [et al.]

Author:
Sax, N. Irving (Newton Irving)  Search this
Bracken, Marilyn C  Search this
Physical description:
xi, 1118 p. : ill. ; 29 cm
Type:
Handbooks, manuals, etc
Date:
1979
1951
C1979
Topic:
Hazardous substances  Search this
Call number:
T55.3.H3 S3 1979
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_115970

F-51D Mustang

Physical description:
iv, 122 p. : ill. ; 28 cm
Type:
Books
Date:
1973
1954
Topic:
Mustang (Fighter plane)--Handbooks, manuals, etc  Search this
Fighter planes  Search this
Call number:
TL685.3 .F102
TL685.3.F102
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_119012

Department of the Army supply manual [ microform] : FSC group 84 : clothing and equipment : class 8405, outerwear, mens : class 8410, outerwear, women's

Author:
United States Army Quartermaster Corps  Search this
Subject:
United States Army Supplies and stores  Search this
United States Army Uniforms  Search this
Physical description:
68 p
Type:
Microforms
Date:
1978
1954
Call number:
mfc 708
mfc 708
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_253648

Gray's Manual of botany; a handbook of the flowering plants and ferns of the central and northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. Largely rewritten and expanded by Merritt Lyndon Fernald, with assistance of specialists in some groups

Author:
Gray, Asa 1810-1888  Search this
Fernald, Merritt Lyndon 1873-1950  Search this
Gray, Asa 1810-1888 Manual of the botany of the northern United States  Search this
Physical description:
lxiv, 1632 p. illus. 24 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
United States
Date:
1950
1970 [c1950]
Topic:
Botany  Search this
Call number:
QK117 .G77 1970
QK117.G77 1970
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_66608

Fieldbook of Illinois mammals, by Donald F. Hoffmeister and Carl O. Mohr

Author:
Hoffmeister, Donald Frederick 1916-  Search this
Mohr, Carl O (Carl Otto) b. 1902  Search this
Physical description:
xi, 233 p. illus. 22 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Illinois
Date:
1972
1957
[1972]
Topic:
Mammals--Identification  Search this
Call number:
QL719.I2 H64 1972X
QL719.I2H64 1972X
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_28273

The history of getting the gay out

Creator:
National Museum of American History  Search this
Type:
Blog posts
Smithsonian staff publications
Blog posts
Published Date:
Thu, 15 Nov 2018 14:40:56 +0000
Topic:
American History  Search this
See more posts:
Blog Feed
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:posts_5188dcc4d7b0b6c0113e4d6e933192c4

Pacesetter [sewing machine user's guide] [pamphlet]

Topic:
Pacesetter (brand name)
Publisher:
Brother Sewing Machine Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (Nagoya, Japan)  Search this
Collector:
Adler, Solomon, 1901-1990  Search this
Collection Creator:
Adler, Solomon, 1901-1989  Search this
Extent:
1 Item (Ink on paper., 8-1/2" x 5-1/2".)
Container:
Box 2, Folder 1
Type:
Archival materials
Instructional materials
Manuals
Pamphlets
Date:
1956
Scope and Contents:
Instruction manual, 32 pp. + cover. Cover has line illustration of woman holding sewing machine on cover.
Local Numbers:
AC1157-0000016.tif (AC Scan No.: cover)
Collection Restrictions:
The collection is open for research use.
Collection Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Sewing machines  Search this
Genre/Form:
Instructional materials
Manuals -- 1950-1970
Pamphlets -- 1950-2000
Collection Citation:
Solomon Adler Papers, dates, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Solomon Adler Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-1157-ref721

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