A collection of correspondence, photographs, and copies of patents issued to inventor Robert Scofield Condon.
Scope and Contents:
The approximately 3 cubic feet of material contain copies of patents issued to Robert Scofield Condon for pencil lead pointers, pencil sharpeners, milling machines, gear cutting machines, and similar devices, as well as correspondence related to the patents from the United States Patent Office and with attorneys. Photographs depict Condon designs and inventions. The collection includes a very interesting example of Condon's actual pencil sharpener attached to a photograph, showing the pencil sharpener in use.
The collection is divided into six series.
Series 1: Correspondence, 1936-1942, 1961-1962
Series 2: Patents, 1931-1973
Series 3: Subject Files, 1955-1965
Series 4: Bills and receipts, 1946-1948
Series 5: Articles, 1924-1927
Series 6: Photographs, 1945
Biographical / Historical:
Robert Scofield Condon, born in Bloomington, Illinois, March 5, 1896, attended Bloomington, Ill., Normal School, and was a schoolteacher for several years to earn money for college tuition; he was graduated as a mechanical engineer from the University of Illinois, 1924. He married Catherine Behren in 1924, but she died in 1958. Condon was employed by the Kearney & Trecker Corp., Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1924-1929, then the Gleason Gear Works, Rochester, New York, 1929-1936. He was one of eighty engineers when he joined the engineering department of the Gleason Gear Works, but was one of only two remaining in 1934. The Condons spent fifteen years in Rutland, Vermont (1936-1946), where he was a founder of the Fibre Can Machinery Corp., which was later sold to the Continental Can Co. He was employed by the Continental Can Corp. from 1946 to 1960 (the Rutland plant closed in the early 1950s, but Condon continued working for the firm in other locations). After his retirement in 1960, he continued to work on projects and did consulting work. His last project was the small "Marvel" pencil pointer (sharpener). Documents in the papers bear the name and address, "Robert S. Condon Laboratories, 112 Cindy Lane, Berlin, Connecticut 06037."
Condon's second wife was Ilza de Souza. He died on April 22, 1973, leaving his son, Robert B. Condon, and two grandchildren.* The professional papers in this collection apparently were in Robert S. Condon's possession until his death, when his son acquired them and donated them to the Smithsonian in 1991.
* An obituary appeared in the Bennington Banner, April 26, 1973. The donor provided notes from this obituary, with additional biographical material and a collection inventory
Objects accompanying these archival materials were acquired by the Division of Mechanical and Civil Engineering (now Division of Work and Industry) , also donated by the inventor's son.
Collection donated by Robert Condon November 5, 1991.