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Ladislaus Laszlo Marton Collection

Author:
Marton, Ladislaus Laszlo, 1901-1979 (physicist)  Search this
Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Electricity and Modern Physics  Search this
Names:
United States. National Bureau of Standards  Search this
Extent:
4.66 Cubic feet (15 boxes, one (1) 16 mm film)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Blueprints
Lantern slides
Drawings
Photographs
Correspondence
Diagrams
Slides (photographs)
Notebooks
Date:
1932 - 1970
Scope and Contents:
This collection consists of materials documenting the history of electron optics, especially electron microscopes. Included are engineering drawings of Marton's devices, designed in Belgium, Stanford and RCA in the 1930s and 1940s; notebooks concerning extensive investigations in electron microscopy; photographs and micrographs concerning development work in this area of physics; correspondence 1930s 702; and reprints of scientific literature relating to Marton's interests.
Arrangement:
The collection is divided into three series.

Series 1: Notebooks, electron microscope, 1920s, undated

Series 2: Photographs, undated

Series 3: Printed Materials, 1940-1970
Biographical / Historical:
Ladislaus L. Marton 1901 1979 was a physicist best known for his pioneer work in electron physics, specifically in electron microscopy, electron optics, and electron interferences and scattering. He came to the United States in 1938, and became a naturalized citizen in 1944. He was a member of the faculty at the University of Brussels (Belgium), 1928 1938, and assistant professor from 1933 1938. He was a research physicist at the RCA Manufacturing Company from 1938 1941. He was associate professor of electron optics, head division Stanford University, 1941 1946. He was a physicist from 1946 1970 at the National Bureau of Standards in Washington. Until his death he was an honorable research associate at the Smithsonian Institution.
Provenance:
Collection donated by Ladislaus Laszlo Marton, circa 1970.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
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:
Electron microscopy  Search this
Electron physics  Search this
Physicists  Search this
Optics  Search this
Electron scattering  Search this
Electron optics  Search this
Physics  Search this
Electron interference  Search this
Genre/Form:
Blueprints
Lantern slides
Drawings -- 20th century
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin -- 19th-20th century
Correspondence -- 20th century
Diagrams
Photographs -- Phototransparencies -- 20th century
Slides (photographs)
Notebooks
Citation:
Ladislaus Laszlo Marton Collection, 1932-1970, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0100
See more items in:
Ladislaus Laszlo Marton Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep89d5f6f08-a953-47d4-9b1e-1a35bb96f51f
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0100

George H. Clark Radioana Collection

Creator:
Clark, George Howard, 1881-1956  Search this
Names:
American Marconi Company.  Search this
Radio Corporation of America.  Search this
Former owner:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Electricity and Modern Physics  Search this
Extent:
220 Cubic feet (534 boxes, 25 map-folders)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Technical manuals
Clippings
Patents
Correspondence
Blueprints
Letters patent
Photographs
Sale catalogs
Technical drawings
Date:
circa 1880-1950
Summary:
The collection forms a documentary record of over half a century of the history of radio, with the greatest emphasis on the period 1900-1935. The collection includes materials that span the entire history of the growth of the radio industry. It is useful for those historians and other researchers interested in technological development, economic history, and the impact of applications of technology on American life.
Scope and Contents:
The materials accumulated in this collection represent the overriding collecting passion of one individual, George H. Clark. The collection forms a documentary record of over half a century of the history of radio, with the greatest emphasis on the period 1900-1935.

The collection includes materials that span the entire history of the growth of the radio industry. It is useful for those historians and other researchers interested in technological development, economic history, and the impact of applications of technology on American life.

In particular, the collection is rich in biographical information on the men who developed the technical aspects of radio and the industry; information on the inception, growth, and activities of radio companies, most notably the National Electric Signaling Company and RCA; and in photographs of all aspects of Radioana.

While most materials document technical aspects of radio, there is much information (e.g. Series 109, 134) on broadcasting and on the early history of television.

The collection, housed in over 700 boxes (about 276 linear feet), was organized into 259 numbered "classes" or series by Clark. Sixty series numbers were never used or were eliminated by Clark and combined with other series. The unused numbers are scattered throughout the filing system. The collection also includes material from series that were eliminated. These materials were never reclassified and are included as an unprocessed series at the end of the series descriptions. The collection also contains material that was never assigned a "class" designation by Clark (Lettered Series: D, E, F, G, H).

The arrangement of the collection is Clark's own; his adaptation of the Navy filing system he helped devise in 1915. Clark periodically revised the filing system and reclassified items within it.

Clark assigned class numbers to types of equipment (e.g. broadcast receivers), systems (impulse-excited transmitters and systems), scientific theories (circuit theory), and topics (company history, biography). Box 1 contains descriptions of the classification system.

When Clark classified an item and filed it he also assigned a serial number. This classification begins with 1 (or 1A) for the first item in the class and continues with successive numbers as items were added. As a consequence, the order of individual items within a series reflects the order in which Clark filed them, not any logical relationship between the items. Clark created cross references for items dealing with more than one subject by making notations on blank sheets of paper placed in related series.

Clark made cross references between series when there was no logical relationship between them; that is, when a person using the collection would not normally look in the series. For example no cross reference would be made of an engineer from series 87 (portraits) to series 4 (biography), but one would be made from series 87 to series 142 (history of television) if the item showed the engineer, say, working on a television installation.

Clark created the insignia "SRM" as the sign on the bottom of all sheets of paper numbered by him for binding. SRM stood for Smithsonian Radio Museum. This replaced the earlier though not greatly used sign "CGM." For a time about 1930, the class number on each sheet was preceded by these: "C.G.M.", for Clark, Martin, and Goldsmith, the earliest contributors to what would become the Clark Radioana Collection. After about 1933-34 Clark used C.W.C. for Clark Wireless Collection.

There are many photographs located in most series throughout the collection. But there are also three exclusive photographic series. Lettered series A, B, C. See index; and also series descriptions under lettered series.
Arrangement:
The collection is divided into 223 series.

Numbered Series 1-233:

Series 1, Library Operating System, 1915-1950

Series 2, Apparatus Type Numbers, 1916-1931

Series 3, Photographic Lists, 1925-1928

Series 4, Biographies of Radio Personages, Technical Index to Correspondents in Series 4

Series 5, History of Radio Companies, 1895-1950

De Forest Radio Company, 1905-1930s

Jenkins Televsion Corporation, 1924-1931

Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company, 1908-1929

National Electric Signaling Company, 1896-1941

Wireless Specialty Apparatus Company, 1906-1929

Radio Corporation of America, 1895-1950

Series 6, Shore Stations, 1900-1940

Series 7, Marine Stations, 1900-1930s

Series 8, Broadcasting Stations, 1910s-1940s

Series 9, Amateur Stations, 1910s-1940s

Series 10, Miscellaneous Information, 1911-1914

Series 11, Radio Antiques, 1921-1938

Series 13, Specifications of Radio Apparatus, 1910s-1930s

Series 14, General History, 1899-1950s

Series 15, Radio Companies Catalogues & Bound Advertisements, 1873-1941

Series 16, Log Books, 1902-1923

Series 17, Radio Companies' House Organs, 1896-1942

Series 18, Prime Movers, 1904-1911

Series 19, Batteries, 1898-1934

Series 20, Rectifiers, 1875-1935

Series 21, Motor Generators, 1898-1936

Series 22, Nameplates of Apparatus, 1928

Series 23, Switchboards and Switchboard Instruments, 1910-1935

Series 24, Radio Frequency Switches, 1905-1905-1933

Series 25, Transmitter Transformers, 1893-1949

Series 26, Operating Keys, 1843-1949

Series 27, Power Type Interrupters, 1902-1938

Series 28, Protective Devices, 1910-1925

Series 30, Message Blanks, 1908-1938

Series 31, Transmitter Condensers, 1849-1943

Series 32, Spark Gaps, 1905-1913

Series 33, Transmitter Inductances, 1907-1922

Series 34, Transmitter Wave Changers, 1907-1924

Series 37, ARC Transmitters, 1907-1940

Series 38, Vacuum Tube Type of Radio Transmitter, 1914-1947

Series 39, Radio Transmitter, Radio-Frequency, Alternator Type, 1894-1940

Series 41, Vacuum Tubes, Transmitting Type, 1905-1948

Series 43, Receiving Systems, 1904-1934

Series 45, Broadcast Receivers, 1907-1948

Series 46, Code Receivers, 1902-1948

Series 47, Receiving Inductances, 1898-1944

Series 48, Receiving Condensers, 1871-1946

Series 49, Audio Signal Devices, 1876-1947

Series 50, Detectors, 1878-1944

Series 51, Amplifiers, 1903-1949

Series 52, Receiving Vacuum Tubes, 1905-1949

Series 53, Television Receivers, 1928-1948

Series 54, Photo-Radio Apparatus, 1910-1947

Series 59, Radio Schools, 1902-1945

Series 60, Loudspeakers, 1896-1946

Series 61, Insulators, 1844-1943

Series 62, Wires, 1906-1945

Series 63, Microphones, 1911-1947

Series 64, Biography, 1925-1948

Series 66, Antennas, 1877-1949

Series 67, Telautomatics, 1912-1944

Series 69, Direction Finding Equipment, Radio Compasses, 1885-1948

Series 71, Aircraft Transmitters, 1908-1947

Series 72, Field or Portables Transmitters, 1901-1941

Series 73, Mobile Radio Systems, 1884-1946

Series 74, Radio Frequency Measuring Instruments, 1903-1946

Series 75, Laboratory Testing Methods and Systems, 1891-1945

Series 76, Aircraft Receivers, 1917-1941

Series 77, Field Portable Receivers, 1906-1922

Series 78, Spark Transmitter Assembly, 1909-1940

Series 79, Spark Transmitter System, 1900-1945

Series 82, Firsts in Radio, undated

Series 85: Distance Records and Tests, 1898-1940

Series 87, Photographs of Radio Executives, and Technical Types, 1857-1952

Series 90, Radio Terms, 1857-1939

Series 92, Static Patents and Static Reducing Systems, 1891-1946

Series 93, Low Frequency Indicating Devices, 1904-1946

Series 95, Articles on Radio Subjects, 1891-1945

Series 96, Radio in Education, 1922-1939

Series 98, Special Forms of Broadcasting, 1921-1943

Series 99, History of Lifesaving at Sea by Radio, 1902-1949

Series 100, History of Naval Radio, 1888-1948

Series 101, Military Radio, 1898-1946

Series 102, Transmitting & Receiving Systems, 1902-1935

Series 103, Receiving Methods, 1905-1935

Series 108, Codes and Ciphers, 1894-1947

Series 109, Schedules of Broadcasting & TV Stations, 1905-1940

Series 112, Radio Shows and Displays, 1922-1947

Series 114, Centralized Radio Systems, 1929-1935

Series 116, United States Government Activities in Radio, 1906-1949

Series 117, Technical Tables, 1903-1932

Series 120, Litigation on Radio Subjects, 1914-1947

Series 121, Legislation, 1914-1947

Series 122, History of Radio Clubs, 1907-1946

Series 123, Special Applications of Radio Frequency, 1924-1949

Series 124, Chronology, 1926-1937

Series 125, Radio Patents & Patent Practices, 1861-1949

Series 126, Phonographs, 1894-1949

Series 127, Piezo Electric Effect, 1914-1947

Series 128, ARC Transmitting & Reciving Systems, 1904-1922

Series 129, Spark Systems, 1898-1941

Series 130, Vacuum Tubes Systems, 1902-1939

Series 132, Radiophone Transmitting & Receiving System, 1906-1947

Series 133, Photo-Radio, 1899-1947

Series 134, History of Radio Broadcasting, 1908-

Series 135, History of Radiotelephony, Other Than Broadcasting

Series 136, History of Amateur Radio

Series 138, Transoceanic Communication

Series 139, Television Transmitting Stations

Series 140, Radio Theory

Series 142, History of Television

Series 143, Photographs

Series 144, Radio Publications

Series 145, Proceedings of Radio Societies

Series 146: Radio Museums

Series 147, Bibliography of Radio Subjects and Apparatus

Series 148, Aircraft Guidance Apparatus

Series 150, Audio Frequency Instruments

Series 151, History of Radio for Aircrafts

Series 152, Circuit Theory

Series 154, Static Elimination

Series 161, Radio in Medicine

Series 162, Lighting

Series 163, Police Radio

Series 169, Cartoons

Series 173, Communications, Exclusive of Radio (after 1895)

Series 174, Television Methods and Systems

Series 182, Military Portable Sets

Series 189, Humor in Radio (see Series 169)

Series 209, Short Waves

Series 226, Radar

Series 233, Television Transmitter

Lettered Series

Series A, Thomas Coke Knight RCA Photographs, circa 1902-1950

Series B, George H. Clark Collection of Photographs by ClassSeries C, Clark Unorganized and/or Duplicate Photographs

Series D, Miscellaneous

Series E, News Clippings Series F: Radio Publications

Series G, Patent Files of Darby and Darby, Attorneys, circa 1914-1935

Series H, Blank Telegram Forms from many Companies and Countries Throughout the World

Series I (eye), Miscellaneous Series

Series J, Research and Laboratory Notebooks

Series K, Index to Photographs of Radio Executives and Technical Types

Series L, Index to Bound Volumes of Photos in Various Series

Series M, Index to David Sarnoff Photographs

Series N, Federal Government Personnel Files

Series O, Addenda Materials
Biographical / Historical:
George Howard Clark, born February 15, 1881, at Alberton, Prince Edward Island, Canada, emigrated to the United States at the age of fourteen. He worked as a railroad telegraph operator for the Boston and Maine Railroad during high school and college. In his unpublished autobiography he wrote:

In 1888, when I was a lad of seven, I suddenly blossomed out as a scrapbook addict, and for years I gave up boyhood games for the pleasure of sitting in a lonely attic and 'pasting up' my books ... By 1897, in high school, I graduated to beautiful pictures, and made many large size scrapbooks ... Around that time, too, I became infatuated with things electrical, and spent many evenings copying in pen and ink the various electrical text books in the Everett, Mass., Public Library. Clark began collecting material pertaining to wireless or radio in 1902. In 1903 he graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. During his last year of college he specialized in radio work under the instruction of Professor John Stone Stone and after graduation went to work for Stone's radio company, the Stone Telegraph and Telephone Company, of Boston.

In 1908 Clark took a competitive examination open to all wireless engineers in the United States and entered the civilian service of the Navy. He was stationed at the Washington Navy Yard, with special additional duty at the Navy's Bureau of Steam Engineering and at the National Bureau of Standards.

In 1915 Clark helped devise a classification system for Navy equipment, assigning a code number to each item. This system of classification for blueprints, photographs, reports, and general data, was prepared by Arthur Trogner, Guy Hill, and Clark, all civilian radio experts with the US Navy Department in Washington. In 1918 Clark adopted the 1915 Navy classification system for organizing the radio data he was accumulating. Clark created the term "Radioana" at this time. He began spending his evenings and weekends pasting up his collection and numbering pages. At this time he bound the accumulated material. It totaled 100 volumes.

In July 1919, after resigning from the Navy, Clark joined the engineering staff of the Marconi Telegraph Company of America, which became part of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) later the same year. His first work was at Belmar and Lakewood, New Jersey, assisting the chief engineer, Roy A. Weagant, in his development of circuits to reduce the interference caused by static (static reduction). Clark and his wife were assigned to the unheated Engineer's Cottage. His wife decided not to stay and left for Florida. Clark moved his trunks of wireless material to the heated RCA hotel at Belmar and spent most of the winter "pasting." As Clark mentions, "From that time on I was wedded to scraps."

After a year of work in New Jersey, Clark was assigned to the sales department in New York, where he devised the "type number system" used by RCA. This type number system, for example, gave the designation UV 201 to the company's first amplifier tube.

From 1922 to 1934 Clark was in charge of RCA's newly created Show Division, which held exhibits of new and old radio apparatus at state fairs, department stores, and radio shows. About 1928 Clark started an antique radio apparatus museum for RCA. RCA's board of directors announced:

Recognizing the importance of providing a Museum for the Radio Art to house the rapidly disappearing relics of earlier days, and the desirability of collecting for it without further delay examples of apparatus in use since the inception of radio, the Board of Directors of RCA has made an initial appropriation of $100,000, as the nucleus of a fund for the establishment of a National Radio Museum. A plan for ultimately placing the museum under the wing of the Smithsonian Institution was coupled with the goal of the Institution's gathering the largest possible library of wireless data.

Around 1933 the RCA traveling exhibition program ended and Clark started classifying his collected "radioana" material. The objects of the museum were eventually turned over for exhibit purposes to the Rosenwald Museum in Chicago and the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, when space was not forthcoming at the Smithsonian. A list of objects sent to the two museums (with tag and case numbers) is in Series 1, Box A. The "radioana" collection remained under Clark's care during the 1930s, and became of increasing use to RCA. Clark continued to add to the material.

Between 1934 and 1942 Clark was in court many times regarding patent infringements. Clark's wireless data was useful and he testified frequently, for example, in RCA's suit against the United States in the Court of Claims over the Marconi tuning patents and in the Westinghouse Company's suit against the United States over the heterodyne. Patent specifications and material regarding these and other radio industry suits are found throughout this collection.

In 1946 RCA retired George Clark and denied him space to house his "radioana" collection. Clark wished to remain in New York and house the collection somewhere in the city where it would be open at all times to the public and where it would be maintained. He hoped to continue cataloguing the collection and writing books from its information. He wanted to keep the collection under his control for as long as he was capable of using it.

George H. Clark died in 1956 and his collection was subsequently given to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 1959 the collection was given to the Smithsonian's new Museum of History and Technology, where space was available to house it. The collection remained in the Division of Electricity until the spring of 1983 when it was transferred to the Archives Center.
Brief Company Histories From The Radio Industry, 1900-1930s:
Introduction

At the end of the nineteenth century, when Guglielmo Marconi began his first wireless company, Western Union, Postal Telegraph, and the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) were the major enterprises in electrical communications. General Electric, Western Electric, and Westinghouse were the major producers of electrical equipment. All these earlier developments set the stage for the expansion of the radio industry.

General Electric, which dominated the lighting industry, was formed in 1892 as a merger of the Edison and Thomson-Houston companies. It was active in building central power station equipment; controlled nearly all the important early patents in electric railways; took a leading part in the introduction of trolley systems; and was the principal supplier of electric motors. Westinghouse promoted the alternating current system and installed the first AC central station in Buffalo, NY, during the winter of 1866-1867. After years of patent litigation, in 1896 GE and Westinghouse agreed to share their patents on electrical apparatus.

American Bell Telephone Company purchased Western Electric in 1881. Western Electric had a strong patent position in telephone equipment and in industrial power apparatus, such as arc lamps, generators, motors, and switchboard equipment.

Until RCA was formed in 1919, these established electrical companies played no active part in the early development of the American radio industry. They were in difficult financial positions, reorganizing, or concentrating their efforts and resources on improving their existing products.

The revolution in "wireless" technology, which began in earnest after 1900, centered in New York City, home of the Lee de Forest and American Marconi companies, and in Boston, headquarters of John Stone Stone and Reginald Fessenden.

Information in this section was compiled from the Clark Collection; the Invention and Innovation in the Radio Industry by W. Rupert Maclaurin, Macmillan Company, New York, 1949; and Radio Pioneers, Institute of Radio Engineers, Commemorating the Radio Pioneers Dinner, Hotel Commodore, New York, NY, November 8, 1945.

The De Forest Companies

Lee De Forest (1873-1961), inventor of the three-element vacuum tube or triode (1906) and the feedback circuit, was one of the first Americans to write a doctoral thesis on wireless telegraphy: "The Reflection of Short Hertzian Waves from the Ends of Parallel Wires," Yale University, 1899. The grid-controlled tube or audion of De Forest was first a radio detector, 1906-1907; in 1912 was adapted to an amplifier; and later to an oscillator. When it was perfected as a high vacuum tube, it became the great electronic instrument of electrical communications.

De Forest began work in the Dynamo Department at the Western Electric Company in 1899. Six months later he was promoted to the telephone laboratory. In 1900 De Forest went to work for the American Wireless Telegraph Company where he was able to carry out work on his "responder." However, after three months when De Forest refused to turn over the responder to the company, he was fired.

In the following year De Forest had a number of jobs, was active as an inventor, and created numerous firms to manufacture his inventions. In 1901 De Forest joined with Ed Smythe, a former Western Electric colleague and a collaborator in his research, to found the firm of De Forest, Smythe, and Freeman. Between 1902 and 1906 De Forest took out thirty-four patents on all phases of wireless telegraphy. The responder that he had been working on for so long never proved satisfactory.

The numerous De Forest companies, reflected his many interests and his inability to carry one project through to a conclusion. Unlike Marconi, but similar to Fessenden, De Forest had great inventive skill which resulted in a great number of companies; but none lasted long. The original partnership of 1901 led to the Wireless Telegraph Co. of America (1901), the De Forest Wireless Telegraph Company (Maine) (1902), and the American De Forest Wireless Telegraph Company (1903), to name a few.

The American De Forest Wireless Telegraph Company was incorporated after De Forest met a stock promoter, Abraham White. While many stations were built by this company, many never sent a message due to static interference. In 1907 two speculators from Denver with large holdings of company stock put the company out of business. The assets were sold to a new company that these speculators organized, the United Wireless Telephone Company. De Forest was forced to resign. He took the triode patents with him.

De Forest joined with one of White's stock salesmen, James Dunlop Smith, and together with De Forest's patent attorney, Samuel E. Darby, they formed a new corporation, the De Forest Radio Telephone Company in 1907. This company set out to develop wireless communication by means of the radio telephone.

In January 1910 De Forest staged the first opera broadcast, with Enrico Caruso singing. The Radio Telephone Company went bankrupt in 1911 following an aborted merger with North American Wireless Corporation. In 1913 he reorganized the company as the Radio Telephone and Telegraph Company and began producing the triode.

The Marconi Company brought a patent suit, claiming the triode infringed on the Fleming valve to which it had rights. In 1916 the court decided that Marconi had infringed the three element De Forest patent and that De Forest had infringed the two element Fleming valve. The result was that neither company could manufacture the triode.

In 1920 RCA acquired the De Forest triode rights through cross-licensing agreements with AT&T which had recently purchased the rights to it. De Forest's company was no match for GE, Westinghouse, and RCA. The De Forest Radio Company (1923) went bankrupt in 1928, was reorganized in 1930, and went into receivership in 1933. RCA eventually purchased its assets.

Marconi Companies

Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937) came from a wealthy and well connected Italian family. He was able to spend his time developing his inventions and following his own course of action. Marconi spent his entire life developing wireless communication into a "practical" reality. In 1905 Marconi invented a directional antenna. In 1909 he shared with Karl Ferdinand Braun the Nobel prize in physics. And in 1912 he invented the time spark system for the generation of continuous waves. The principal patents in his name were improved types of vertical antennas; improved coherer; magnetic detector for the detection of wireless signals; and improvements on methods of selective tuning. Two other inventions of great importance to the Marconi companies' patent structure were the Oliver Lodge tuning patent and the Ambrose Fleming valve.

In 1895 Marconi made the first successful transmission of long wave signals. The following year he met William Preece, engineer-in-chief of the British Post Office, who was interested in inductive wireless telegraphy. This meeting led to the formation in 1897 of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company Ltd. In 1898 he transmitted signals across the English Channel. In 1899 an American subsidiary was formed. The various Marconi companies were the dominant enterprises in both British and American wireless until 1919 when RCA was formed.

From a business standpoint, wireless did not become profitable until long distance communications were accomplished. On December 12, 1901 in St. John's, Newfoundland, Marconi received a telegraph signal in the form of repetitions of the Morse telegraphic letter "S" transmitted from the Marconi station at Poldhu, Cornwall, England. This success, however, was met by opposition from vested interests, particularly the Anglo-American Telegraph Company whose cables terminated in Newfoundland.

So as not to restrict his company's future to one front alone, Marconi decided to exploit the field of communication with ships at sea. In order to control this field he decided in 1900 to lease his apparatus rather than sell it outright. This strategy did not work. Competition developed in Germany (Telefunken Corporation) and the United States (American De Forest and its successor, United Wireless) and Marconi was forced to sell rather than lease apparatus to the navies of various countries. He nevertheless retained numerous restrictions. This led to further friction. At the height of this debacle English stations worldwide refused to communicate with ships without Marconi equipment. This absurd and dangerous situation had to change and coastal stations opened up to all senders in 1908.

Marconi's system was based on spark technology. He saw no need for voice transmission. He felt the Morse code adequate for communication between ships and across oceans. He, along with most others, did not foresee the development of the radio and the broadcasting industry. He was a pragmatist and uninterested in scientific inquiry in a field where commercial viability was unknown.

For these reasons Marconi left the early experimentation with the radio telephone to others, particularly Lee De Forest and Reginald Fessenden.

National Electric Signaling Company

Canadian-born Reginald Fessenden (1866-1932), one of the principal early radio inventors and the first important inventor to experiment with wireless, left the University of Pittsburgh in 1900 to work for the U.S. Weather Bureau. There he invented the liquid barretter, an early radio receiver, and attempted to work out a means for wireless transmission of weather forecasts. After a squabble over patent rights, Fessenden resigned in 1902.

The National Electric Signaling Company (NESCO), primarily intended to support Fessenden's work on wireless, telegraphy, and telephony, was formed by Fessenden and two Pittsburgh capitalists, Hay Walker, Jr. and Thomas H. Given. It began as an inventor's laboratory and never proved successful as a business venture.

Fessenden recognized that a continuous wave transmission was required for speech and he continued the work of Nikola Tesla, John Stone Stone, and Elihu Thomson on this subject. Fessenden felt he could also transmit and receive Morse code better by the continuous wave method than with a spark-apparatus as Marconi was using.

In 1903 Fessenden's first high-frequency alternator needed for continuous wave transmission was built to his specifications by Charles Steinmetz of GE. In 1906 Fessenden obtained a second alternator of greater power from GE and on Christmas Eve broadcast a program of speech and music. The work on this alternator was given to Ernst F. W. Alexanderson. It took years for Alexanderson to develop an alternator capable of transmitting regular voice transmissions over the Atlantic. But by 1916 the Fessenden-Alexanderson alternator was more reliable for transatlantic communication than the spark apparatus.

Fessenden also worked on continuous-wave reception. This work arose out of his desire for a more effective type of receiver than the coherer, a delicate device that was limited by its sensitivity on a rolling ship at sea. In 1903 he developed a new receiving mechanism - the electrolytic detector.

As his work progressed Fessenden evolved the heterodyne system. However, due to faulty construction and the fact that it was ahead of its time, heterodyne reception was not fully appreciated until the oscillating triode was devised, thus allowing a practical means of generating the local frequency.

Between 1905 and 1913 Fessenden developed a completely self-sustaining wireless system. However, constant quarrels between Fessenden, Walker, and Given culminated in Fessenden's forming the Fessenden Wireless Company of Canada. He felt a Canadian company could better compete with British Marconi. As a result, his backers dismissed Fessenden from NESCO in January of 1911. Fessenden brought suit, won, and was awarded damages. To conserve assets pending appeal, NESCO went into receivership in 1912, and Samuel Kintner was appointed general manager of the company.

In 1917 Given and Walker formed International Signal Company (ISC) and transferred NESCO's patent assets to the new company. Westinghouse obtained majority control of ISC through the purchase of $2,500,000 worth of stock. The company was then reincorporated as The International Radio Telegraph Company. The Westinghouse-RCA agreements were signed in 1921 and International's assets were transferred to RCA.

RCA

The development of the radio industry accelerated after 1912. This was due to several factors, the most important of which was the passage of legislation by the US government requiring ships at sea to carry wireless. This created a market incentive and spurred the growth of the industry. Also, with the outbreak of World War I, the larger electrical companies turned their manufacturing output to radio apparatus, supporting the war effort. Three firms were prominent in this industrial endeavor: AT&T, GE, and Westinghouse.

AT&T's early contributions to this effort centered on their improvements of De Forest's triode, particularly in the evolution of circuits, the redesign of the mechanical structure, and an increase in the plate design. The importation of the Gaede molecular pump from Germany created a very high vacuum. The resulting high-vacuum tube brought the practical aspects of the wireless telephone closer to reality. By August 1915 speech had been sent by land wire to Arlington, Va., automatically picked up there via a newly developed vacuum-tube transmitter, and subsequently received at Darien, Canal Zone. By 1920 AT&T had purchased the rights to the De Forest triode and feedback circuit, and had placed itself in a strong position in the evolution of radio technology.

GE centered its efforts on the alternator, assigning Ernst F. W. Alexanderson to its design, and on further development of vacuum tube equipment for continuous wave telegraph transmission. By 1915 Alexanderson, Irving Langmuir, William D. Coolidge, and others had developed a complete system of continuous wave transmission and reception for GE.

As can be seen, both AT&T and GE were diverting major time and expenditures on vacuum tube research. This inevitably led to patent interferences and consequently, to cross-licensing arrangements.

Westinghouse was not in the strategic position of GE and AT&T. Nevertheless, during the war it did manufacture large quantities of radio apparatus, motors, generators, and rectifiers for the European and American governments. Postwar moves led Westinghouse into full partnership with the other two companies.

By the end of the war, all three companies had committed significant resources to wireless. They were hampered internationally, however, by the Marconi Company's dominant status, and in the United States they were blocked by opposing interests with control of key patents.

The US government also was concerned with this lack of solidarity in the wireless industry and over the British domination of the field worldwide. This impasse set a fascinating and complicated stage for the formation of the RCA.

Owen D. Young, legal counselor for GE, was instrumental in breaking the impasse. Through an innovative and far-reaching organizational consolidation, Young was able to persuade British Marconi that persistence in monopoly was a fruitless exercise, because of the strong US government feelings. Marconi, realizing the harm of a potential American boycott, finally agreed to terms. GE purchased the controlling interest in American Marconi, and RCA was formed. Young was made chairman of the board of RCA, while Edwin J. Nally and David Sarnoff of the old American Marconi were appointed president and commercial manager respectively.

On July 1, 1920, RCA signed a cross-licensing agreement with AT&T. The telephone company purchased one half million shares of RCA common and preferred stock for several considerations -- the most important being that all current and future radio patents of the two companies were available to each other royalty-free for ten years. Many provisions of these agreements were ambiguous and led to later squabbles between the RCA partners.

In May 1920 Westinghouse, which had an efficient radio manufacturing organization, formed an alliance with the International Radio and Telegraph Company (NESCO's successor). Westinghouse's part ownership gave them control of Fessenden's patents, particularly continuous-wave transmission and heterodyne transmission. Westinghouse also wisely purchased in October of 1920 Armstrong's patents on the regenerative and superheterodyne circuits -- which also included some of Columbia University professor Michael Pupin's patents. This placed Westinghouse in a strong bargaining position vis-à-vis RCA and in their new consolidated corporation. Westinghouse joined the growing group of radio companies on June 30, 1921. With these mergers, RCA agreed to purchase forty percent of its radio apparatus from Westinghouse and sixty percent from GE.

Through these and other legal arrangements, RCA obtained the rights to over 2,000 patents. These amounted to practically all the patents of importance in the radio science of that day. As a result, other firms in the radio industry, for example, the United Fruit Company and the Wireless Specialty Apparatus Company, entered into cross-licensing arrangements with RCA.

RCA also made arrangements internationally with the three dominant companies in radio communication in their respective countries. British Marconi, Compagnie Generale de Telegraphie sans fil, and Telefunken. Each corporation was given exclusive rights to use the other companies' patents within their own territories.

The rise of amateur radio in the 1920s and, to a greater extent, the demand for new products by the general public contributed to the rise of the broadcasting industry. This put a strain on the earlier agreements between the major radio corporations and between 1921 and 1928 there was a struggle over patents for control of the evolving medium.

An initial attempt by AT&T to control the broadcasting industry -- using its earlier cross-licensing agreements to manufacture radio telephone transmitting equipment -- began with AT&T's disposal of RCA stock holdings in 1922-1923. It ended in 1926 with a new cross-licensing agreement which gave AT&T exclusive patent rights in the field of public service telephony and gave GE, RCA, and Westinghouse exclusive patent rights in the areas covered by wireless telegraphy, entertainment broadcasting, and the manufacture of radio sets and receiving tubes for public sale.

In 1926 after the agreements were finalized, RCA, GE, and Westinghouse joined forces and established the National Broadcasting Company (NBC). Fifty percent of the stock went to RCA, thirty percent to GE, and twenty percent to Westinghouse. The new company was divided into three divisions: the Red, Blue, and Pacific Networks. Independent, competing networks soon emerged. William S. Paley and his family formed the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) in 1927. The Mutual Broadcasting System was formed in 1934.

By 1928 RCA had strong patent positions in all major areas of the radio industry, including the research, development and manufacture of vacuum tubes and speakers. Most small companies entering the industry in the 1920s produced their products based on prior research by others and on expired patents. An RCA license, therefore, was essential for the manufacture of any modern radio set or vacuum tube.

In the late 1920s new developments in the reproduction of sound, produced significant changes in the phonograph industry. Among those new developments were the introduction of the electronic record, and the marketing of the Radiola 104 Loudspeaker in 1926. In 1929 RCA purchased the Victor Talking Machine Company. This changed not only the quality but the sales of the phonograph and the phonograph record. A new entertainment industry was born and an ever-expanding market for consumer products was created with cultural implications that continue today.

Telefunken

German industrialists were eager to break the Marconi Company's monopoly. Although Marconi had patents on his inventions in Germany, the Germans developed a rival system through the Telefunken Corporation, incorporated in 1903, based on the inventions of Professor Ferdinand Braun, Dr. Rudolf Slaby, and Count George von Arco.

Before 1903 the Braun-Siemens and Halske system had been developed by Gesellschaft fur Drahtlose Telegraphie (GFDT). The Slaby-Arco system had been developed by Allgemeine Electrizitats-Gesellschaft. After litigation over patents, the German court handed down a decision in favor of the GFDT. The Kaiser, with national interests in mind, ordered that the rivalry cease. The two systems were amalgamated under GFDT, and became known as the Telefunken.

Chronology of Some Significant Events In The History of The Radio Industry

1895 -- Marconi experiments with Hertz's oscillator and Branley's coherer.

1897 -- In March Marconi demonstrates his wireless system on Salisbury Plain, near London, and files a complete patent specification. In May trials of Marconi's system are made over water between Lavernock and Flatholm, a distance of three miles. On May 13, communication is established between Lavernock Point and Brean Down, a distance of eight miles. German scientist Professor Slaby is present. The first Marconi station is erected at the Needles, Isle of Wight. A distance of fourteen and one-half miles is bridged by wireless. In December the Marconi station at the Needles communicates with a ship eighteen miles at sea.

1898 -- In England Oliver Lodge files a complete specification covering inventions in wireless telegraphy.

1899 -- The New York Herald uses Marconi's wireless telegraphy to report the progress of the International Yacht races between the Columbia and the Shamrock off New York harbor in September. US. Navy vessels make trials of Marconi's wireless telegraph system. The cruiser New York and the battleship Massachusetts are equipped with apparatus. Fessenden develops improvements in methods of wireless telegraph signaling.

1900 -- The Marconi International Marine Communication Company is organized on April 25th in London. Reginald Aubrey Fessenden begins work at the United States Weather Bureau. Over the next two years he invents the liquid barretter, an improved radio receiver.

1901 -- In February on board the SS Philadelphia, Marconi receives wireless signals over a distance of 1,551 miles. In March Marconi wireless telegraph service begins between islands of the Hawaiian group. On December 12, Marconi receives transatlantic signal at St. John's, Newfoundland from Poldhu, Cornwall, England. The Canadian government orders two Marconi telegraph sets for use at coastal points along the Strait of Belle Isle.

1901 -- Fessenden procures US patent no. 706737 for a system of radio signaling employing long waves (low frequency). De Forest develops a system of wireless telegraphy in Chicago. 1903-06 10,000 to 50,000 cycle machines, 1 kW, are developed by Steinmetz and by Alexanderson of GE for Fessenden. 1905 Marconi procures patent number 14788 in England, covering the invention of the horizontal directional antenna.

1906 -- At Brant Rock, Massachusetts, Fessenden employs a generator of one-half kW capacity, operating at 75,000 cycles, for radio purposes. He succeeds in telephoning a distance of eleven miles by means of wireless telephone apparatus.

1907 -- De Forest procures a U. S. patent for an audion amplifier of pulsating or alternating current.

1908 -- Marconi stations in Canada and England are opened for radio telegraph service across the Atlantic. Fessenden constructs a 70,000-cycle alternator with an output of 2.5 kW. at 225 volts, for radio signaling purposes. He reports successful radio telephone tests between Brant Rock and Washington, DC, a distance of 600 miles.

1909 -- US House of Representatives passes the Burke Bill for the compulsory use of radio telegraphy on certain classes of vessels. The United Wireless Telegraph Company and the Radio Telephone Company of New York (De Forest and Stone systems) begin the erection of radio stations in the Central and Western states. Marconi shares with Ferdinand Braun of Germany the Nobel prize in recognition of contributions in wireless telegraphy.

1910 -- An act of the US government requires radio equipment and operators on certain types of passenger ships. The Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Marconi station is opened in September. This station communicates with Clifden, Ireland. The transatlantic tariff is seventeen cents a word.

1911 -- A radio section is organized by the US Department of Commerce to enforce the provisions of national radio legislation. Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company acquires the Lodge-Muirhead patents.

1912 -- Rotary gap is used with Fessenden 100 kW 500 cycle spark set at NAA, the Navy's first high-power station at Arlington, Virginia. Marconi Wireless of America acquires property of the United Wireless Telegraph Company. British Marconi secures the important radio patents of Bellini and Tosi, Italian inventors. Wreck of the SS Titanic on April 15th. The act of 1910 is extended on July 23 to cover cargo vessels. requires an auxiliary source of power on ships and two or more skilled radio apparatus operators on certain types of passenger ships. On August 13, an act provides for licensing radio operators and transmitting stations.

1912-1913 -- High vacuum amplifying tubes (an improvement on De Forest's), using the findings of pure science, are produced almost simultaneously in two great industrial laboratories, by Dr. H. D. Arnold of AT&T and Irving Langmuir of GE.

1915 -- De Forest Ultra-audion three-step (cascade) audio amplifier is announced and introduced into practice.

1916 -- GE and the Western Electric Company develop the first experimental vacuum tube radiotelephone systems for the Navy.

1917-1918 -- First production of vacuum tubes in quantity, both coated filament and tungsten filament types, by Western Electric Company and GE.

1918 -- Lloyd Espenschied procures US patent number 1,256,889 for the invention of a duplex radio telegraph system. (See Lloyd Espenschied Papers, Archives Center, NMAH, Collection #13.) The House of Representatives passes a resolution on July 5, authorizing the President to take over management of telegraph and telephone systems due to war conditions.

1919 -- Bills are introduced in Congress for permanent government control of radio stations. The widespread resentment of amateurs has more to do with the defeat of these bills than the objections of commercial companies. Roy Alexander Weagant, New York, reports having developed means of reducing disturbances to radio reception caused by atmospherics or static. This is the first successful static-reducing system. GE purchases the holdings of the British Marconi Company in the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America, the name of the latter company being changed to Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in October. Edward J. Nally is elected president of the new company.

1920 -- E. F. W. Alexanderson is appointed Chief Engineer of RCA. RCA begins the installation of 200-kW Alexanderson alternators at Bolinas, California, and Marion, Massachusetts. The Tropical Radio Telegraph Company, a subsidiary of the United Fruit Company, New York, operates ten long-distance radio stations at points in Central and South Americirca RCA purchases 6,000 acres at Rocky Point, Long Island, New York, and begins erection of a Radio Central station, comprising a number of operating units for communication with European stations and stations in South Americirca On May 15, RCA inaugurates radio telegraph services between installations at Chatham and Marion, Massachusetts, and stations at Stavanger and Jaerobe, Norway. Westinghouse Company's radio station KDKA, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, broadcasts returns of the national elections, November 2. Development, design, and manufacture by GE of the early receiving and transmitting tubes made available to the public by RCA (UV-200,201,202). Radio telegraph stations and properties taken over by the government under war time powers are returned to their owners at midnight, February 29. The government calls for bids for the sale of large quantities of surplus radio and telegraph and telephone apparatus purchased for war needs and not used.

1921 -- RCA develops Vacuum tubes UV-200(detector) and UV-201(amplifier) -- both triodes with brass shells known as the UV base, and incorporating a filament that required 1 ampere at 5 volts for operation -- for storage battery operation; and at the same time also released to the public the WD-11 for dry cell operation, which employed an oxide-coated tungsten filament. RCA station at Rocky Point, Long Island, opens on November 5. WJZ station established by the Westinghouse Company in Newark, NJ. RCA broadcast station at Roselle Park, NJ (WDY) opens on December 15. It continues operation until February 15, 1922, when its operation is transferred to WJZ, Newark, previously owned by Westinghouse. RCA installs 200-kW alternator at Tuckerton, NJ.

1922 -- First use of tube transmitters by RCA for service from the United States to England and Germany. RCA begins substitution of tube transmitters on ships to replace spark sets. RCA begins replacement of crystal receivers by tube receivers on ships.

1923 -- Broadcast stations WJZ and WJY opened in New York in May by RCA. WRC opens in Washington on August 1. The UV-201A, receiving tubes developed by GE and consuming only 1/4 of an ampere are introduced by RCA. Tungsten filaments coated and impregnated with thorium were employed.

1924 -- Edwin H. Armstrong, demonstrates the superheterodyne receiver on March 6th. In November RCA experiments with radio photographs across the Atlantic. RCA markets the superheterodyne receivers for broadcast reception.

1925-26 -- Dynamic loudspeakers introduced. Magnetic pick-up phonograph recording and reproduction developed. RCA opens radio circuit to Dutch East Indies. Direction-finders introduced on ships.

1927 -- Fully self-contained AC radio receivers introduced.
Provenance:
The collection was donated to the Smithsonian in 1959.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but a portion of the collection remains unprocessed and is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.

Gloves must be worn when handling unprotected photographs, negatives, and slides.
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:
Radio engineers -- 1880-1950  Search this
Electric engineers -- 1880-1950  Search this
Radio -- History  Search this
Electricity -- 1880-1950  Search this
Communication -- 1880-1950  Search this
Genre/Form:
Technical manuals -- Electrical equipment
Clippings
Patents
Correspondence -- 1930-1950
Blueprints
Letters patent
Photographs -- 1850-1900
Sale catalogs -- Electrical equipment -- 1880-1950
Technical drawings
Photographs -- 1900-1950
Citation:
George H. Clark Radioana Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0055
See more items in:
George H. Clark Radioana Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep833dbe2b0-891b-4411-a413-3b4b1e3306ad
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0055
Online Media:

Lloyd Espenschied Papers

Creator:
Espenschied, Lloyd, 1889-? (electrical engineer)  Search this
Names:
American Telephone and Telegraph Company  Search this
Bell Telephone Laboratories  Search this
Telefunken Wireless Telegraph Company.  Search this
Former owner:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Electricity and Modern Physics  Search this
Extent:
11.3 Cubic feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
1907-1969
Scope and Contents note:
Miscellaneous information on the history of telephonic and wireless communication; considerable personal correspondence about men and events in the field, especially disputed claims of inventions, development, and the like.
Arrangement:
The collection is divided into 4 series.

Series 1: Subject files, 1907-1964

Series 2: Papers and talks by Espenschied, 1923-1969

Series 3: Patents, 1928-1953

Series 4: Correspondence, 1947-1959
Biographical/Historical note:
Espenschied was born in St. Louis and graduated from Pratt Institute in electrical engineering, 1909; on staff of the Telefunken Wireless Telegraph Company, 1909-10; worked for American Telephone and Telegraph Company in various capacities, 1910-34; directed high-frequency transmission development for Bell Telephone Laboratories, 1934-37. Chief interests seem to have been wide-band and carrier waves and wide band systems for communications.
Provenance:
Immediate source of acquisition unknown.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
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:
Telegraph, Wireless  Search this
Radio  Search this
Telecommunication  Search this
Communication  Search this
Electrical engineering  Search this
Citation:
Lloyd Espenschied Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0013
See more items in:
Lloyd Espenschied Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep87565341e-05dc-4bd0-b826-f0cbb7625e85
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0013

Agency history, 1938-1995

Creator:
National Museum of American History (U.S.) Division of Electricity and Modern Physics  Search this
Subject:
Taylor, Frank A (Frank Augustus) 1903-2007  Search this
Multhauf, Robert P  Search this
Perry, Kenneth M  Search this
Mitman, Carl Weaver 1889-  Search this
Finn, Bernard S. 1932-  Search this
Forman, Paul  Search this
King, W. James (William James) 1915-  Search this
United States National Museum Division of Engineering Section of Electricity and Communications  Search this
United States National Museum Division of Engineering Section of Electricity  Search this
Museum of History and Technology (U.S.) Division of Electricity  Search this
National Museum of History and Technology (U.S.) Division of Electricity and Nuclear Energy  Search this
Type:
Mixed archival materials
Date:
1938
1938-1995
Topic:
Electricity--History  Search this
Nuclear energy  Search this
Physics--History  Search this
Local number:
SIA AH00082
Data Source:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_arc_218129

Allen Balcom Du Mont Collection

Creator:
Du Mont, Allen B. (Allen Balcom), 1901-1965  Search this
Names:
Du Mont Laboratories, Inc.  Search this
Former owner:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Electricity and Modern Physics  Search this
Extent:
46 Cubic feet (150 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Clippings
Newsletters
Scrapbooks
Notebooks
Motion pictures (visual works)
Photographs
Date:
1884-1965
Scope and Contents:
While the collection is focused rather specifically on the development of television in America, including technical details, legal proceedings, marketing and advertisement, and manufacturing, it is also a rich source for the history of American advertising, work cultures, sales, and entertainment. There is also information about radio, mostly in periodicals collected by Du Mont. Information about Allen Du Mont is largely limited to his professional development and activities, except for a few travel photographs and information about and logbooks from his boat.

Materials date from 1884 to 1965, but the bulk come from the years 1931 1960; mostly scattered periodicals comprise the earlier years.

The collection includes correspondence, photographs, blueprints, films, videotapes, pamphlets, books, periodicals, newspaper and magazine clippings, annual reports, organization charts, stock records, ticker tape, legal documents, patent documents, bills, accountants' reports, meeting minutes, scrapbooks, technical drawings, advertisements, catalogs, and technical manuals. Processing included revising the previous series order, refoldering and reboxing all items, and completely revising the finding aid. Duplicates were weeded out; two copies were retained of any multiple item. Materials in binders were unbound. An example of each binder with the DuMont logo was retained, and the materials once contained therein refer to the appropriate binder in the container list. Plain office binders were discarded.
Arrangement:
The collection is divided into 16 series.

Series 1: Personal Files, 1920s-1965

Series 2: Executive Records, 1938-1964

Series 3: Stock Records, 1937-1962

Series 4: DuMont Laboratories, Inc., Patents and Legal Proceedings, 1884-1960

Series 5: DuMont Laboratories, Inc., Financial Records, 1931-1964

Series 6: DuMont Laboratories, Inc., Operations, 1938-1958

Series 7: Radio Technical Planning Board, 1944-1946

Series 8: Federal Communications Commission, 1940-1959 and undated

Series 9: DuMont Laboratories, Marketing and Sales, 1939-1961 and undated

Series 10: Telecommunications for Venezuela, 1952-1957 and undated

Series 11: Du Mont Network, 1944-1952 and undated

Series 12: Du Mont Publications, 1933-1963 and undated

Series 13: Photographs, 1928-1960 and undated

Series 14: Clippings/Scrapbooks, 1933-1962

Series 15: Non-Du Mont Publications, 1892, 1907-1963 and undated

Series 16: Audiovisual Materials, 1948-1955

Series 17: Addenda, 1933-1959
Biographical / Historical:
Allen Balcom Du Mont was born Jan. 29, 1901, in Brooklyn, NY to S. William Henry Beaman and Lillian Felton Balcom Du Mont. He contracted poliomyelitis when he was eleven and was confined to bed for nearly a year. During his illness, he began to amuse himself with a crystal radio set; by year's end, he had built a receiving and transmitting set. He was licensed as a ship's wireless operator when he was fifteen, and took a job a year later as a radio operator on a passenger vessel that ran between New York and Providence, RI. He worked as a radio operator for the next seven years.

Du Mont graduated in 1924 from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, with a degree in electrical engineering. He had already begun his first invention for the Sound Operated Circuit Controller, a device that turns a switch on or off when it hears a sharp sound; he used it to turn off his radio during commercials with a hand clap. Du Mont began working for the Westinghouse Lamp Company (later a division of the Westinghouse Electric Corporation), raising their output of radio tubes from 500 a day to 5,000 an hour in four years. For this, he received the Westinghouse Achievement Award in 1927. He left Westinghouse to become chief engineer at the De Forest Radio Company in 1928; his inventions increased output there to 30,000 radio tubes a day, and he was promoted to vice president in charge of production. In 1929, he received his first patent, for a radio tube mounting device.

He also worked with television at De Forest, using mechanical receivers with a spinning "Nipkow disk" that scanned electrical impulses and gave the effect of a motion picture. The De Forest experimental transmitter, W2XCD, in Passaic, NJ, broadcast television programs in 1930. Du Mont quickly concluded that there was no future in scanning discs; they produced a small, dark picture, and were difficult to build correctly. Others had developed television pictures that were produced by an electronic beam scanning rapidly across a florescent screen at the end of a tube. However, those cathode ray tubes were still imported from Germany, were very expensive, and burned out after only twenty five to thirty hours.

Du Mont left his job at De Forest in 1931 and started a cathode ray manufacturing business in a garage laboratory at his home. He developed a tube that lasted a thousand hours and could be manufactured inexpensively. There was almost no market for his tubes; gross sales income the first year was only $70. However, the tubes were an integral part of the cathode ray oscillograph, an instrument widely used in physics laboratories that measures and records changes in electrical current over time. The business, incorporated in 1935 as DuMont Laboratories, Inc., prospered in the oscillograph market. DuMont Labs moved in 1933 into a series of empty stores, then to a plant in Passaic, NJ, in 1937. Du Mont also acted as consultant to manufacturers with cathode ray tube problems and served as an expert witness in patent litigations.

Du Mont used the money he made from oscillographs to develop television. His innovations in making precise, quickly manufactured, inexpensive, long lasting cathode ray tubes made commercial television possible. In 1938, Du Mont sold a half interest in his company to the Paramount Pictures Corporation to raise capital for broadcasting stations. In 1939, the company became the first to market a television receiver for homes, and was part of a major display at the 1939 World's Fair in New York. Television development and sales were cut off by World War II, since DuMont Laboratories converted entirely to wartime production of oscillographs and to radar research. DuMont Laboratories returned to television production in 1946 and was the first company to market a postwar television set. By 1951 the company grossed $75 million a year and had four plants manufacturing television sending and receiving equipment in Passaic, Allwood, East Paterson, and Clifton, NJ. Du Mont had become the television industry's first millionaire. He was chosen in a Forbes magazine poll as one of the twelve foremost business leaders of America that same year, and was once characterized as "one of the very few inventors in the annals of American industry who have made more money from their inventions than anyone else has" (Rice, 36).

Du Mont began an experimental television station, W2XTV, in Passaic, NJ, in 1939. He added WABD (later WNEW TV) in New York City, WTTG in Washington, D.C., and WDTV (later KDKA) in Pittsburgh, PA. He concentrated on technology and business, leaving entertainment to others in the company. However, the DuMont Network "featured such names as Ernie Kovacs, Morey Amsterdam, Ted Mack, Ernest Borgnine, Jan Murray, and Dennis James. Its long running variety hour, Cavalcade of Stars, showcased not only Jackie Gleason but The Honeymooners, which made its debut as a Cavalcade sketch" (Krampner, 98). The 1950s superhero Captain Video became famous on the DuMont network, and Bishop Fulton Sheen's inspirational show, "Life is Worth Livinq," won surprisingly high ratings (Watson, 17). Ultimately, America's fourth network failed: in 1955, DuMont Broadcasting separated from Du Mont Laboratories, Inc., becoming the Metropolitan Broadcasting Company and, with the addition of other properties, Metromedia, Inc.

Du Mont testified frequently before the Federal Communications Commission to set technical standards for American television broadcast between 1945 and 1952. In 1946, Du Mont's company was one of several to oppose the Columbia Broadcasting System's petition to the FCC to establish color television standards; Du Mont preferred to wait for further research to develop all electronic color television, rather than the mechanical method CBS favored. He felt that method produced a picture far less than optimal, and would have required persons who did not own color sets to purchase adapters to receive broadcasts being produced in color. Standards were developed by the National Television Standards Committee in 1951 1953; the Federal Communications Commission accepted them in 1953, and regular transmission of color programs began on the major networks, including the DuMont Network, in 1954.

Sales of television receivers from DuMont Laboratories, Inc. peaked in 1954; by the late 1950s, the company was losing money. The Emerson Radio and Phonograph Company purchased the division that produced television sets, phonographs, and high fidelity and stereo equipment in 1958. In 1960 remaining Du Mont interests merged with the Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corporation. Du Mont was president of DuMont Laboratories, Inc., until 1956, when he became chairman of the Board of Directors. His title changed to Chairman and General Manager in 1959. In 1961 he became Senior Technical Advisor, Allen B. Du Mont Laboratories, Division of Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corporation.

Du Mont received many awards for his work, including honorary doctorates from Rennselaer (1944), Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute (1949), Fairleigh Dickinson College (1955), and New York University (1955). He received the Marconi Memorial Medal for Achievement in 1945, and an American Television society award in 1943 for his contributions to the field. In 1949, he received the Horatio Alger Award, "a yearly prize bestowed by the American Schools and Colleges Association on the man whose rise to fortune most nearly parallels the virtuous careers of Ben the Luggage Boy and Tattered Tom" (Rice, 35). He held more than thirty patents for developments in cathode ray tubes and other television devices. His inventions included the "magic eye tube" once commonly seen on radios and the Duovision, a television that could receive two programs simultaneously. Du Mont was also noted for success in predicted log power boat racing; in his television equipped Hurricane III, he became the national champion of the power cruiser division of the American Power Boat Association in 1953 1955 and 1958. Du Mont died November 15, 1965; his obituary appeared on the front page of the New York Times. He was survived by Ethel Martha Steadman, whom he married in 1926, and their two children, Allen Balcom, Jr., and Yvonne.

Sources

Current Biography 1946, pp. 162 164. Krampner, Jon. "The Death of the DuMont [sic] Network: A Real TV Whodunit." Emmy Magazine (July August 1990): 96 103.

Obituary, New York Times, 16 November 1965, 1:3.

Rice, Robert. "The Prudent Pioneer." The New Yorker, 27 Jan. 1951.

Watson, Mary Ann. "And they Said 'Uncle Fultie Didn't Have a Prayer . . . "11 Television Quarterly 26, no. 3(1993): 16 21.

Who's Who in America, 1962.
Related Materials:
Materials in the Archives Center

Edward J. Orth Memorial Archives of the New York World's Fair, 1939-1940

Warshaw Collection, Worlds Expositions, New York World's Fair, 1939 (AC0060)

Larry Zim World's Fair Collection (AC0519)

George H. Clark "Radioana" Collection, ca. 1880-1950 (AC0055)

Division of Work and Industry

Related artifacts consist of cathode ray tubes, oscillographs, television receivers (including a Duoscope), and other instruments. See accession #:EM*315206, EM*315208, EM*315209, EM*327728, EM*327735, EM*327742, EM*327743, EM*327745, EM*327749, EM*327751, EM*327756, EM*327758, EM*327759, EM*327760, EM*327763, EM*327770, EM*328155, EM*328178, EM*328182, EM*328193, EM*328198, EM*328200, EM*328209, EM*328212, EM*328224, EM*328231, EM*328247, EM*328253, EM*328258, EM*328264, EM*328269, EM*328271, EM*328277, EM*328280, EM*328282, EM*328283, EM*328286, EM*328299, EM*328305, EM*328306, EM*328315, EM*328316, EM*328322, EM*328325, EM*328327, EM*328336, EM*328337, EM*328343, EM*328348, EM*328352, EM*328353, EM*328366, EM*328368, ZZ*RSN80323A74, ZZ*RSN80552U05, ZZ*RSN80748U09, ZZ*RSN80748U11, ZZ*RSN80844U09, and ZZ*RSN81576U01.

Library of Congress

Records of the Allen B. DuMont Laboratories, Inc. 1930 1960 (bulk 1945 1960). 56 lin. ft. Consists of nine series: Administrative Files, 1935 1960; General Correspondence, ca. 1930 1960; Interoffice Correspondence, ca. 1935 1960; Financial Records, 1932 1960; Sales and Advertising File, 1936 1960; Production and Engineering File, 1932 1960; Television File, ca. 1935 1960; Hearings File, 1935 1957; and General Miscellany, ca. 1937 1960. National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections number 68 2021; National Inventory of Documentary Sources number 2.1.243.

Wayne State University, Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs

John H. Zieger Papers, 1942 1980. 1 box (type not specified). Correspondence, clippings, leaflets, and memoranda, related to Zieger's union activities with Western Electric Employees Association and Allen B. Du Mont Laboratories. National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections number 91 2872.
Provenance:
Immediate source of acquisition unknown.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research. Gloves must be worn when handling unprotected photographs and negatives. Special arrangements required to view materials in cold storage. Using cold room materials requires a three hour waiting period. Only reference copies of audiovisual materials may be used. Contact the Archives Center for more information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
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:
Electricity  Search this
Television broadcasting  Search this
Televisions -- advertising  Search this
Television  Search this
Genre/Form:
Clippings -- 20th century
Newsletters
Scrapbooks -- 20th century
Notebooks
Motion pictures (visual works)
Photographs -- 20th century
Citation:
Allen Balcom Du Mont Collection, 1929-1965, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0018
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Allen Balcom Du Mont Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8bb80f3a9-4b1e-4430-8c1e-48a78cab60d3
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ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0018
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William J. Hammer Collection

Creator:
Hammer, William J. (William Joseph), 1858-1934 (electrical engineer)  Search this
Former owner:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Electricity and Modern Physics  Search this
Names:
Batchelor, George  Search this
Bell, Alexander Graham, 1847-1922  Search this
Berliner, Emile, 1851-1929  Search this
Curie, Marie  Search this
Curie, Pierre  Search this
Edison, Thomas A. (Thomas Alva), 1847-1931  Search this
Jehl, Francis  Search this
Johnson, Edward H.  Search this
Sprague, Frank J.  Search this
Tesla, Nikola, 1856-1943  Search this
Upton, Francis R.  Search this
Extent:
36 Cubic feet (124 boxes, 3 map-folders)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Correspondence
Photographs
Date:
circa 1847-1989
Summary:
Original documents and papers generated by William J. Hammer and by various companies and individuals with whom he was associated. Includes material related to the research and inventions of Edison, Bell, Tesla, the Curies, etc.
Scope and Contents:
This collection includes original documents and papers generated by Hammer and by various companies and individuals and various secondary sources assembled by Hammer between 1874 and 1934. Hammer's lifelong association with the foremost scientists of his day -- Edison, Bell, Maxim, the Curies, the Wright brothers, and others - afforded him a unique opportunity to collect materials about the development of science along many lines.

This collection, which includes rare historical, scientific, and research materials, was donated by the International Business Machine Corporation to the Museum of History and Technology in 1962 and held by the Division of Electricity. In 1983 it was transferred to the -Archives Center. The collection was badly disorganized when received and contained many fragile documents in poor condition. The collection was organized and arranged as reflected in this register.

The collection documents in photographs, manuscripts, notes, books, pamphlets, and excerpts, the beginnings of electrical technology. In its present state, it comprises four series: Series 1 contains twenty-two boxes of the William J. Hammer Papers, containing both biographical and autobiographical material; Series 2 has twenty boxes of material on Edison; Series 3 consists of thirty-three boxes of reference material; and Series 4 holds twenty-one boxes of photographs and portraits. See the container list beginning on page 39 for more detailed information on the contents of the collection.

Most of the material in the collection is chronologically arranged. However, in some cases alphabetical arrangement has been employed, for example, in the arrangement of portraits of eminent men of electrical science (Series 4, Boxes 78-80, 100-101), and the arrangement of publications (by authors' last names).

Hammer did original laboratory work upon selenium, radium, cathode rays, x-rays, ultra-violet rays, phosphorescence, fluorescence, cold light, and wireless. These aspects of his career are reflected in many parts of the collection: in Series 1 there are articles, notes, diagrams, sketches, graphs,, and correspondence; in Series 3 articles, magazines, news clippings, and bound pamphlets. Tie contributed many technical writings, some of which are found in Series 1.

Papers detailing Hammer's aeronautical activities were transferred to the National Air and Space Museum. They consist of two scrapbooks and one cubic foot of aeronautical photographs of balloons, airplanes, and gliders and one-half cubic foot of correspondence. For further information contact the National Air and Space Museum Archives at (202) 357-3133.
Arrangement:
The collection is divided into four series.

Series 1: William J. Hammer Papers, 1851-1957

Series 2: Edisonia, 1847-1960

Series 3: Reference Materials, 1870-1989

Series 4: Photographs, 1880-1925
Biography of William J. Hammer:
William Joseph Hammer, assistant to Thomas Edison and a consulting electrical engineer, was born at Cressona, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, February 26, 1858, and died March 24, 1934. His parents were Martha Augusta Bech (1827-1861) and William Alexander Hammer (1827-1895). He attended private and public schools in Newark, New Jersey, and university and technical school lectures abroad.

On January 3, 1894, Hammer married Alice Maud White in Cleveland, Ohio. They had one daughter, Mabel (Mrs. Thomas Cleveland Asheton). Alice Hammer died in 1906.

In 1878 Hammer became an assistant to Edward Weston of the Weston Malleable Nickel Company. In December 1879 he began his duties as laboratory assistant to Thomas Edison at Menlo Park, New Jersey. He assisted in experiments on the telephone, phonograph, electric railway, ore separator, electric lighting, and other developing inventions. However, he worked primarily on the incandescent electric lamp and was put in charge of tests and records on that device. In 1880 he was appointed Chief Engineer of the Edison Lamp Works. In this first year, the plant under general manager Francis Upton, turned out 50,000 lamps. According to Edison, Hammer was "a pioneer of Incandescent Electric Lighting"! (Hammer's memoranda and notes, Series 2).

In 1881 Edison sent Hammer to London as Chief Engineer of the English Electric Light Co. In association with E. H. Johnson, general manager, Hammer constructed the Holborn Viaduct Central Electric Light Station in London. This plant included three, thirty-ton "Jumbo" steam-powered dynamos (generators), and operated 3,000 incandescent lamps. Holborn was the first central station ever constructed for incandescent electric lighting. Hammer began its operation on January 12, 1882, by lighting the Holborn Viaduct.

In 1882 Hammer also installed a large isolated lighting plant containing twelve Edison dynamos at the Crystal Palace Electric Exposition and the Edison Exhibit at the Paris Electrical Exposition.

At this time Hammer also designed and built the first electric sign. The sign spelled the name "Edison" in electric lights, and was operated by a hand controlled commutator and a large lever snap switch. It was erected over the organ in the Crystal Palace concert hall.

In 1883 Hammer became Chief Engineer for the German Edison Company (Deutsche Edison Gesellschaft), later known as Allegemeine Elektricitaets Gesellschaft. Hammer laid out and supervised the installations of all Edison plants in Germany. While in Berlin he invented the automatic motor-driven "flashing" electric lamp sign. The sign, which flashed "Edison" letter by letter and as a whole, was placed on the Edison Pavilion at the Berlin Health Exposition in 1883.

On his return to the United States in 1884, Hammer took charge of some of Edison's exhibits, including Edison's personal exhibit, at the International Electrical Exhibition held under the authority of the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. There he built the first flashing "Column of Light." He also became confidential assistant to E. R. Johnson, president of the parent Edison Electric Light Company. Together with Johnson and Frank J. Sprague, he became an incorporator of the Sprague Electric Railway and Motor company. He also was elected a trustee and the company's first secretary.

Hammer installed an all-electric house at Newark, New Jersey in 1884 and he devised various electrical devices and contrivances for an unusual party for friends and colleagues. (See "Electrical Diablerie" beginning on page 6).

At the end of 1884 Hammer became chief inspector of central stations of the parent Edison Electric Light Company. For over two years he made financial, mechanical, and electrical reports on the various stations throughout the United States. During 1886-87 he was chief engineer and general manager of the Boston Edison Electric Illuminating Company. He also acted as contractor for the company. He laid $140,000 of underground tubing and installed Sprague Electric Motors.

In 1888, acting as an independent engineer, he was placed in charge of completing the 8,000 light plant of the Ponce de Leon Hotel in St.Augustine Florida. At the time this was the largest isolated incandescent lighting plant ever constructed. Also in 1888 Hammer was appointed consulting electrical engineer to the Cincinati Centennial Expostition, and as a contractor designed and installed over $40,000 worth of electrical effects.

Hammer was appointed Edison's personal representative remarked, "There are a lot of crowned heads in the Edison business. How many of them am I subservient to?" Mr. Edison answered "You take no instructions except from Thomas A. Edison." Hammer asked "What are your instructions?" Mr. Edison replied, 'Hammer, I haven't any. Go and make a success of it.' In Paris he set up and operated all of Edison's inventions, which embraced nineteen departments and covered 9,800 square feet of space. He also built a huge Edison lamp forty-five feet high employing 20,000 lamps. Edison remarked, 'He had entire charge of my exhibit at the Paris Exposition, which was very successful." This was the largest individual exhibit at the Exposition, costing $100,000. Mr. Edison replied, "I want you to go right out and have a card engraved William J. Hammer, Representative of Thomas A. Edison. You are the only representative I have here," and he complimented him on his work adding, "The French government will do something handsome for you for your work." Hammer replied that he would not raise his hand to get it and did not believe in giving such honors to people who seek them. Mr. Edison said, "You are wrong. You are a young man and such things are valuable. At any rate if there's anyone in this exhibition who deserves recognition, you do, and I'm going to see you get it' (Hammer's memoranda and notes, Series 2). Thirty-four years later, in 1925, through the personal influence of Edison, Hammer was made Chevalier of the Legion of Honor by the French government.

In 1890 Hammer returned to the United States and opened an office as a consulting electrical engineer. He was in private practice until 1925, making reports, conducting tests, and giving expert testimony in patent suits.

On January 31, 1890, Hammer formed the Franklin Experimental Club of Newark where boys could come and carry on experiments, build apparatus, and listen to lectures. Hammer equipped the laboratory at his own expense. One side was an electrical laboratory and the other a chemical laboratory. About forty-five boys joined. Each boy had a key to the club and a section of a bench with his own drawer for keeping notes, tools, and other equipment. In 1892 the structure was destroyed by fire from a saloon next door, ending Hammer's plans for a large and useful institution.

In 1896 Hammer was elected president of the National Conference of Standard Electrical Rules, which prepared and promulgated the "National Electric Code."

In 1902 in Paris, Hammer visited Pierre and Marie Curie, the discoverers of radium and polonium. They gave him nine tubes of radium and one of polonium to bring back to the United States. He also acquired some sulphide of zinc, with which he mixed radium carbonates, producing a beautifully luminous powder. This was the first radium-luminous material ever made. By mixing the powder with Damar varnish he produced the first radium-luminous paint. He was also the first person to make colored (and white) luminous materials. In 1907 he invented and patented a process for producing colored phosphorescent materials by combining phosphorescent and fluorescent substances.

Back in the United States in the fall of 1902 and into 1903, Hammer applied his radium-luminous materials to thirty different objects: luminous dials for clocks and watches, toys, artificial flowers, radium luminous gun sights, taps and pulls for lamp sockets, switches, keyholes, push buttons, telephone transmitters, poison bottle labels, a small plaster figure, push pins, and writing implements among others. He did not patent the invention due to the scarcity and high cost of radium, but later in an important suit involving foreign and American patents of radium-luminous materials, his testimony and that of other noted scientists and professionals of the day who had visited his home and laboratory proved that his work completely anticipated that of all inventors both in the United States and abroad. In 1902 he was one of the first persons to be burned with radium.

Hammer gave eighty-eight lectures on the Curies' work and on radium and radioactive substances. He wrote the first book published on radium, Radium and other Radioactive Substances, 1903. Hammer proposed and used radium for cancer and tumor treatment, successfully treating and curing a tumor on his own hand in July 1903. Tie also supplied several hospitals with radioactive water he had made and conducted extensive experiments with x-rays, cathode-rays, radium-rays, ultraviolet lights, phosphorescence, fluorescence, and cold-light. He was probably the first to suggest many wartime uses for radium-luminous materials, such as airplanes, instruments, markers, barbed-wire, and landing fields.

Hammer also did important work with selenium, a nonmetallic element that resembles sulphur and tellurium chemically. It is obtained chiefly as a by-product in copper refining, and occurs in allotropic forms. A grey stable form varies in electrical conductivity depending on the intensity of its illumination and is used in electronic devices. Hammer invented selenium cells and apparatus, and suggested industrial uses for selenium and other light-sensitive cells.

In 1886 Hammer devised a system for automatically controlling street and other lights by use of a selenium cell. In 1892 he designed a torpedo that could be steered by searchlight and selenium cell. In the early 1900s he suggested many other uses for "light" cells, including burglar alarms, dynamo control, buoy, railroad signaling, automatic gun firing, transmission of music, stethoscope recorder, automatic operating shutters, automatic boiler feed, snow recorder, and electric motor control.

At the St. Louis Exposition of 1904 Hammer was Chairman of the Jury for Telegraphy, Telephony, and Wireless. He was also a member of the "Departmental" Jury ("Applied Science: Electricity") and of the committee appointed to organize the International Electrical Congress at St. Louis in 1904.

In 1906 Hammer received the "Elliott Cresson" gold medal from the Franklin Institute for his "Historical Collection of Incandescent Electric Lamps," accumulated over thirty-four years. This collection received a special silver medal at the International Electrical Exposition at the Crystal Palace, London, England, in 1882, and "the Grand Prize" at the St. Louis Exposition of 1904.

During the First World war Hammer served as a major on the General Staff of the, Army War College, Washington, D.C., where he was attached to the Inventions Section of the War Plans Division and later to the operations Division at the war Department in charge of electrical and aeronautical war inventions. He did special work at the U.S. Patent office, marking and delaying patents that might be useful to the enemy and served on the Advisory Board of Experts attached to the Alien Property Commission. He was elected Historian general of the Military order of the World War (1926-1928) and was a member of the Society of American Military Engineers.

Hammer was an early aeronautics enthusiast and became the owner of one of the first airplanes sold in the United States to an individual. Even in his last few years of his life, Hammer's interest in airplanes did not wane. In 1931, by the permission of the Secretary of the -Navy, Hammer made a twelve-hour flight in the Los Angeles dirigible from the Lakehurst, New Jersey airdrome along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean to New York, flying over New York City at night.

Hammer served on numerous committees. In 1916 he was a member of a special committee, appointed by the Aeronautical Society of America. one of his responsibilities on this committee was to recommend methods for the formation of a reserve force of civilian aviators for the Army. At the start of World War I, Hammer was appointed chairman of a committee on camouflage by the Aeronautical Society. During the war, he flew airplanes and tested sound devices and was also among the first five selected out of thousands for the dissemination of propaganda into many countries. He also examined documents and papers captured from spies and prisoners of war to see if these material contained any technical matter of value to the U. S. Army.

Hammer traveled extensively as a delegate of the Military Order of World War I. For example, in 1922 he attended the aeronautical Congress and Flying Meet in Detroit, Michigan. In the same year he also attended Immigration Conferences of the National Civic Federation in New York.

Between 1922 and 1928 Hammer intensified his efforts in collecting and organizing autographed portraits of eminent scientific men, a project he had been working on for over forty-five years. Tie displayed many of these portraits with his Historical Collection of Incandescent Electrical Lamps in -his New York home. At this time he also prepared an elaborate bibliography on selenium and its industrial and scientific applications.

Major William Joseph Hammer, described by Edison as "my most valuable assistant at Menlo Park" died of pneumonia March 24, 1934.
'Electrical Diablerie':
"ELECTRICAL DIABLERIE"

N.Y. World, January 3, 1885 and Newark, N.J. Daily Advertiser and Journal, January 3, 1885

Some years ago, (1884) on New Year's eve, an entertainment was given at the home of Mr. William J. Hammer, in Newark, N.J., which, for the display of the powers of electricity has seldom, if ever, been equaled. Mr. Hammer, who has for years been associated with Mr. Edison, both in this country and in Europe, desiring to give his old classmates, the "Society of Seventy-Seven," a lively and interesting time, invited them to "an electrical dinner"at his home.

The invitations which were sent out were written upon Western Union telegram blanks with an Edison electric pen. When the guests arrived and entered the gate, the house appeared dark, but as they placed foot upon the lower step of the veranda a row of tiny electric lights over the door blazed out, and the number of the house appeared in bright relief. The next step taken rang the front door bell automatically, the third threw open the door, and at the same time made a connection which lit the gas in the hall by electricity.

Upon entering the house the visitor was invited to divest himself of his coat and hat, and by placing his foot upon an odd little foot-rest near the door, and pressing a pear-shaped pendant hanging from the wall by a silken cord, revolving brushes attached to an electric motor brushed the mud and snow from his shoes and polished them by electricity. As he was about to let go of the switch or button, a contact in it connected with a shocking coil, caused him to drop it like a hot potato. Up-stairs was a bedroom which would be a fortune to a lazy man; he had only to step on the door sill and the gas was instantly lighted. The ceiling was found to be covered with luminous stars, arranged to represent the principal constellations in the heavens-while comets, moons, etc., shone beautifully in the dark. By placing one's head on the pillow, the gas, fifteen feet away, would be extinguished and the phosphorescent stars on the ceiling would shine forth weirdly, and a phosphorescent moon rose from behind a cloud over the mantel and slowly describing a huge arch disappeared behind a bank of phosphorescent clouds on the other side of the room; by pressing the toe to the foot-board of the bed the gas could again be relit.

Pouring a teacup of water into the water clock on the mantel and setting the indicator would assure the awakening of the sleeper at whatever hour he might desire. There was also in the hall outside the room a large drum, which could be set to beat by electricity at the hour when the family wished to arise. The whole house was fitted throughout with electric bells, burglar alarms, fire alarms, telephones, electric cigar lighters, medical coils, phonographs, electric fans, thermostats, heat regulating devices, some seven musical instruments, operated by electricity, etc.

Upon the evening referred to nearly every. piece of furniture in the parlor was arranged to play its part. Sit on one chair and out went the gas, take another seat and it would light again; sitting on an ottoman produced a mysterious rapping under the floor; pressure on some chairs started off drums, triangles, tambourines, cymbals, chimes and other musical instruments; in fact, it seemed unsafe to sit down anywhere. The quests stood about in groups and whispered, each hoping to see his neighbor or a new comer caught napping.

One visitor (Brown) secured an apparently safe seat, and was telling a funny story--he had left electricity far behind--but just as he reached the climax, a pretty funnel-shaped Japanese affair like a big dunce cap, that seemed but a ceiling ornament which was held in place by an electromagnet, dropped from overhead and quietly covered him up, thus silently extinguishing the story and the story-teller.

A big easy chair placed invitingly between the folding doors joining the double, parlors sent the unwary sitter flying out of its recesses by the sudden deafening clamor of twenty-one electric bells hidden in the folds of the draperies hanging in the doorway. In a convenient position stood the silver lemonade pitcher and cup, the former was filled with the tempting beverage, but no matter how much a guest might desire to imbibe one touch convinced him that the pitcher and cup were so heavily charged with electricity as to render it impossible for him to pour out a drink or even to let go until the electricity was switched off from the hidden induction coil.

Some one proposed music, and half a selection had been enjoyed when something seemed to give way inside the piano, and suddenly there emanated from that bewitched instrument a conglomeration of sounds that drowned the voices of the singers, and the keys seemed to beat upon a horrible jangle of drums, gongs and various noise-producing implements which were fastened inside of and underneath the piano.

After the guest were treated to a beautiful display of electrical experiments, under the direction of Mr. Hammer, and Professor George C. Sonn, they were escorted to the dining-room, where an electrical dinner had been prepared and was presided over by 'Jupiter," who was in full dress, and sat at the head of the table, where by means of a small phonograph inside of his anatomy he shouted, "Welcome, society of Seventy-Seven and their friends to Jove's festive board." The menu was as follows: "Electric Toast," "Wizard Pie," "Sheol Pudding," "Magnetic Cake," "Telegraph Cake," "Telephone Pie," "Ohm-made Electric Current Pie," "Menlo Park Fruit," "Incandescent Lemonade," "'Electric Coffee" and "Cigars," etc., and music by Prof. Mephistopheles' Electric Orchestra.

About the table were pretty bouquets, and among the flowers shone tiny incandescent lamps, while near the center of the table was placed an electric fan which kept the air cool and pure, and at each end was a tiny Christmas tree lighted with small incandescent lamps, planted in a huge dish of assorted nuts and raisins. Each lamp had a dainty piece of ribbon attached to it upon which the initials of the Society and the date were printed, and each guest received a lamp to take away with him as a souvenir of the occasion. Plates of iced cakes made in the form of telephones, switches, bells, electric lamps, batteries, etc., stood on each side of the center piece.

Promptly at 12 o'clock, as the chimes of the distant churches came softly to the ears of the assembled quests, pandemonium seemed to change places with the modest dining-room. A cannon on the porch, just outside the door, and another inside the chimney, were unexpectedly discharged; and at this sudden roar, every man sprang back from the table; the lights disappeared; huge fire-gongs, under each chair beat a tattoo. The concussion produced by the cannon in the fireplace caused several bricks to come crashing down the chimney, and as the year of 1884 faded away, the table seemed bewitched. The "Sheol Pudding" blazed forth green and red flames illuminating the room, tiny tin boxes containing 'Greek" fire which had been placed over each window and door were electrically ignited by spirals of platinum iridium wire heated by a storage battery and blazed up suddenly; the "Telegraph Cake" clicked forth messages said to be press reports of the proceedings (it was also utilized to count the guests and click off the answers to various questions put to it); bells rang inside the pastry; incandescent lamps burned underneath the colored lemonade; the thunderbolt pudding discharged its long black bolts all over the room (long steel spiral springs covered with black cloth) and loud spirit rapping occurred under the table. The silver knives, forks and spoons were charged with electricity from a shocking coil and could not be touched, while the coffee and toast (made by electricity) were made rapidly absorbed; the "Magnetic Cake' disappeared; the "Wizard" and "Current Pies' vanished, and 'Jupiter" raising a glass to his lips began to imbibe.

The effect was astonishing! The gas instantly went out, a gigantic skeleton painted with luminous paint appeared and paraded about the room, while Jupiter's nose assumed the color of a genuine toper! His green eyes twinkled, the electric diamonds in his shirt front (tiny lamps) blazed forth and twinkled like stars, as he phonographically shouted "Happy New Year'. Happy New Year!" This "Master of Cererionies' now becoming more gentle, the guests turned their attention to the beautiful fruit piece, over four feet high, that stood in the center of the table. From the fruit hung tiny electric lamps, and the whole was surmounted by a bronze figure of Bartholdils "Statue of Liberty;" uplifted in "Miss Liberty's" right hand burned an Edison lamp no larger than a bean.

The dinner finished, and there was much that was good to eat, notwithstanding the "magical" dishes which they were first invited to partake of, speeches were delivered by Messrs. Hammer, Rutan, McDougall, 'Brown, Duneka, and Dawson, and an original poem was read by Mr. Van Wyck. Upon repairing to the parlors the guest saw Mr. Hammer's little sister, May, dressed in white and mounted upon a pedestal, representing the "Goddess of Electricity:" tiny electric lamps hung in her hair, and were also suspended as earrings, while she held a wand surmounted by a star, and containing a very small electric lamp.

Not the least interesting display of electricity took place in front of the house, where a fine display of bombs, rockets, Roman candles, Greek fire and other fireworks were set off by electricity, which was by the way, the first time this had been accomplished. The guests were requested to press button switches ranged along the front veranda railing thus causing electricity from a storage battery to heat to a red heat tiny platinum iridium spirals attached to each fuse of the various pieces of fireworks thus sending up rocket after rocket, as well as igniting the other pieces which had been placed in the roadway in front of the house.

An attempt was made to send up a large hot air balloon to which was attached a tiny storage battery and an incandescent signal lamp but a sudden gust of wind caused the ballon to take fire as it rose fr(xn the ground. This constituted the only experiment made during the evening which was not an unqualified success. The innumerable electrical devices shown during the progress of the dinner were all operated by Mr. Hammer, who controlled various switches fastened to the under side of the table and attached to a switchboard, which rested on his lap, while the two cannons were fired by lever switches on the floor, which he operated by the pressure of the foot. Electricity was supplied by primary and storage batteries placed under the table. After an exhibition of electrical apparatus and experiments with a large phonograph, the guests departed with a bewildered feeling that somehow they had been living half a century ahead of the new year."
Expositions and Exhibitions:
The many Expositions held at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries were important for the Edison Electric Company's future business. In particular the Paris Electrical Exposition, 1881, and the Crystal Palace Exposition in London in 1892 were introductions for the company's international business enterprises. Edison, therefore, sent his ablest men from the Menlo Park staff (Batchelor, Hammer, Jehl, Johnson) to Europe to oversee the installation and promotion of the company's exhibits.

THE INTERNATIONAL PARIS EXPOSITION OF 1881

The International Paris Electrical Exposition was held during the summer of 1881. Many of Edison's electric lighting systems, ranging from arc lights to incandescent devices, were exhibited. A model of the Edison central-station lighting system showed an arrangement of incandescent lights within a complete electrical distributing system, including novel appliances and controls of the Edison system. "The completeness of its conception made a profound impression on the foremost European electrical engineers of that era." (Josephson, Matthew. Edison, A Biography. p. 252). Edison also exhibited his first "Jumbon generator. It was "direct-connected" to its driving engine, another area in which Edison pioneered. Edison improved upon the original design of William Wallace's "Telemachon' - a generator coupled to a water-powered turbine. Wallace had earlier in the decade produced the first dynamo in America.

Charles Batchelor headed the Edison exhibits within Paris. Edison received many gold medals and diplomas and was awarded the ribbon of the Legion of Honor.

The William J. Hammer Collection contains various reports and catalogues exhibited at the International Exposition of Electricity. (Series 3, Box 44, Folders 1-4)

THE CRYSTAL PALACE EXHIBITION OF 1882

At the Crystal Palace Exhibition of 1882 in London, Edison displayed a great many of his inventions, including: the steam dynamo; specimens of street pipes and service boxes used in the Edison underground system of conductors, and the system of house conductors with devices for preventing abnormal increase of energy in house circuits; apparatus for measuring the resistance of his lamps, for measuring the energy consumed in lamps, and rheostats for restoring currents; also thermogalvano-meters, carbon rheostats, dynamometers, photometers, carbon regulators, Weber meters,, current regulators, and circuit breakers for controlling electric light circuits; the carbon relay, the pressure relay, and the expansion relay; the telegraph system in Morse characters; and the Roman character automatic telegraph.

Thomas Edison also exhibited the carbon telephone, the musical telephonograph, telephone repeater, and numerous apparatus for demonstrating the method of varying the resistance of a closed circuit by contact with carbon, illustrative of the experimental factors of the Edison carbon transmitter. Incandescent lamps, the process of the manufacture of lamps, and various designs of electric light chandeliers were also on display.

Hammer won the silver medal at the exposition for the first complete development of the incandescent electric lamp from its initial stages to date. At the exhibition the first hand-operated flashing electric lamp sign was displayed, which was invented and built by Hammer.

The collection contains photographs of the Edison dynamo, and the Edison Electric Lighting Plant of 1882 erected by Hammer. The official Catalogue of the International Electric and Gas Exhibition, and various articles from the Daily Telegraph, Daily Chronicle, and Daily News are also included within the collection (Series 4, Box 99 and Series 3, Box 42, Folder 1-2).

THE BERLIN EXPOSITION OF 1883.

The Berlin Exposition of 1883 had the first motored flashing electric sign designed, built and operated by Hammer. The electric sign spelled out the word "Edison" letter by letter and was used on the Edison pavilion in the Health Exposition. It has most features of today's flashing sign.

The collection contains two photographs of the first flashing sign (Series 4, Box 99).

THE FRANKLIN INSTITUTE INTERNATIONAL ELECTRICAL EXHIBITION OF 1884

The Franklin Institute International Electrical Exhibition was held in Philadelphia from September 2 to October 14, 1884. Many of Edison's companies had display booths at the exhibition. The Edison Electric Light Company showed in operation their system of house lighting as supplied from a central station. The Edison Company for Isolated Lighting exhibited their system of lighting factories, hotels, hospitals, and other places situated beyond the reach of a central lighting station. A full assortment of Edison lamps and dynamos also made up parts of other exhibits. Also displayed at the exhibition was the first flashing column of light, which Hammer designed and built.

Included within the collection are a variety of photographs of the exhibitions. Four pamphlets also are contained in the collection (Series 3, Box 1, Folder 3), (Series 4, Box 99).

THE EXPOSITION OF THE OHIO VALLEY AND THE CENTRAL STATES OF 1888

The Exposition of the Ohio Valley and Central States, in Cincinnati from July 4 to October 27, was in honor of the one hundredth anniversary of the settlement of Cincinnati. The exposition showed the progress and ramifications of the first hundred years of this settlement.

The space occupied by permanent buildings was greater than that covered by any building for exhibiting purposes on the Western continent. T',ie exposition developed the Electric Light Plant to make a special feature of electric lighting in the evening. Several companies used this opportunity to make exhibits of their apparatus and for their equipment to be used for illumination. The Edison Lamps were used for displays in showcases and pavilions of exhibitors of the Park Building.

The collection contains photographs of the halls of the exposition and a poster which is a souvenir of the electrical display of the exposition. An official Guide of the Centennial Exposition of the Ohio Valley and Central States is included within the collection. (Series 4, Box 99), (Series 3, Box 42, Folder 4).

THE SUMMER CARNIVAL AND ELECTRICAL EXHIBITION, ST. JOHN, NEW BRUNSWICK, 1889

The Summer Carnival and Electric Exhibition held at St. John, New Brunswick, Canada was to celebrate the opening of the Canadian Pacific Short Line to St. John and Portland. The Electrical Exhibition was the most popular of the displays present, containing the Monster Edison Lanm, the Mysterious Electric Fountain, and many other inventions.

The William J. Hammer Collection contains a poster that illustrates some of the leading exhibits at the Electrical Exhibition (Series 4, Box 99).

PARIS UNIVERSAL EXPOSITION OF 1889

The Universal Exposition of 1889 held in Paris was larger than all previous expositions held there. The famous Eiffel Tower was its principal attraction.

A large portion of the exhibit hall within the Palace of Mechanical Industries contained Thomas Edison's electrical inventions, including various electric lamps for use in houses. Variations of the telephone also were shown. During the Paris Exposition Europeans were exposed to the phonograph for the first time. Hammer represented Edison's interests at the Paris Exhibition.

The collection contains articles from New York World, New York Herald and Electrical World on Edison's exhibits at the Paris Exposition (Series 3, Box 44, folder 6). A scrapbook of photographs from the exhibition showing exhibit buildings and halls and loose photographs showing Edison's exhibits are included in the collection (Series 4, Box 98).

THE CRYSTAL PALACE EXHIBITION OF 1892

The Crystal Palace Exhibition of 1892 was held in London. Hammer displayed a great variety of products in the machine room of the Electrical Exhibition. Sockets for controlling individual incandescent lamps on alternating currents and the Ward Arc Lamp for use on incandescent circuits were just a few of the items displayed. Edison's companies displayed specimens of all types of incandescent electric lamps for public and private illumination. They also displayed primary batteries for use in telegraphy, telephony, household work, and engines.

The William, J. Hammer Collection contains a variety of photographs of the electrical exhibition. The Official Catalogue and Guide of the Electrical Exhibition is also contained within the collection (Series 4, Box 99), (Series 3, Folder 2, Box 42).

LOUISIANA PURCHASE EXPOSITION, 1904

The Louisiana Purchase Expostition of 1904, held in St. Louis, Missouri from April 30 to December 1, celebrated the centennial of the Louisiana Purchase. The nineteen million people who attended made it the largest exposition ever. The year 1904 marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of Edison's invention of the carbon filament lamp and central power station system.

F.J.V. Skiff, the exhibits classifier for the fair, developed a twofold classificatory arrangement. He organized exhibits in a sequential synopsis corresponding to the sixteen different departments of the exposition. The principal exhibition buildings were built in the shape of a fan. The departments of education, art, liberal arts, and applied sciences-including electricity - headed the classification, Skiff noted, because they "equip man for the battle and prepare him for the enjoyments of life.' Departments devoted to displays of raw materials such as agriculture, horticulture, !inning, forestry, fish and game came next. Anthropology, social economy, and physical culture concluded the classification.

The Hammer collection contains photographs of Hammer with other Chairmen of Domestic and Foreign Jurors of the Electricity Section of the International Jury of Awards of the Louisiana Exposition and Hammer as chairman of the jury on telegraphy, telephony, and wireless. (Series 4, Box 102). A pamphlet by the American Telephone and Telegraph Company on the exhibit of the Radiophone at the Department of Applied Science is also part of the collection (Series 3, Box 42, Folder 5).

THE PANAMA-PACIFIC EXPOSITION OF 1915

The Panama Pacific Exposition celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal and the four hundredth anniversary of the European discovery of the Pacific Ocean. It was held in San Francisco from February 20 to December 4, 1915. Approximately nineteen million people attended the exposition.

The eleven main buildings of the exposition were grouped around a central court of the Sun and Stars at the entrance of which was the famous Tower of Jewels. The main group of exhibits comprised the Palaces of Education, Liberal Arts, Manufactures, Varied Industries, Mines,

Transportation, Agriculture, Horticulture and all kinds of food products. During the exposition special days were set aside to honor industrialists Henry Ford and Thomas Edison. The Pacific Gas and Electric Company provided a large searchlight to flash out a Morse code greeting on the nighttime sky for their arrival.

The William J. Hammer Collection contains a pamphlet on the "Illumination of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition." The pamphlet describes the lighting of the exposition, and the use of arc lamps ' searchlights, incandescent electric lamps, and gas lamps (Series 4, Box 99), (Series 3, Box 43).
Provenance:
Collection donated by IBM, 1962.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
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:
Fluorescence  Search this
Electrical engineering  Search this
Incandescent lamps  Search this
Phosphorescence  Search this
Selenium cells  Search this
Cathode rays  Search this
X-rays  Search this
Radium  Search this
Genre/Form:
Correspondence -- 1930-1950
Photographs -- 1850-1900
Photographs -- 20th century
Citation:
William J. Hammer Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0069
See more items in:
William J. Hammer Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep806480cfb-3204-4fc1-8e11-b58fffe1b338
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0069
Online Media:

C.L. Stong Papers

Author:
Stong, C.L., 1902-1975 (electrical engineer)  Search this
Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Electricity and Modern Physics  Search this
Extent:
12.6 Cubic feet (38 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Date:
1952-1976
Scope and Contents:
These papers are the files of the editor of "The Amateur Scientist" section of the Scientific American from 1952 to 1975. They are arranged chronologically by date of article. The feature was started in 1952 as an expansion of "The Amateur Astronomer" section of the periodical. The papers include files of Stong's predecessor and files for articles prepared but not published before his death. The files contain correspondence with authors and readers, original illustrations, and reprints of articles.
Arrangement:
Divided into 69 series, including: (1) Aerodynamics; (2) Analogue; (3) Antibubbles; (4) Antitwister; (5) Archeology; (6) Astronomical Instruments other than telescopes & photographs; (7) Birds; (8) Cavendish; (9) Clocks; (10) Collagen; (11) Color; (12) Cooling; (13) Coriolis; (14) Crystals; (15) Differentials; (16) Electrical Discharge; (17) Electrochemistry; (18) Electronics; (19) Electrostatics; (20) Experiments; (21) Fish; (22) Gibberellins; (23) Glass; (24) Gravitation; (25) Hall effect; (26) Hekeshaw; (27) Hilsch; (28) Holograms; (29) Hydrophone; (39) Interferometer; (31) Isotension; (32) Laser; (33) Liesegang; (34) Liquids; (35) Magnetics; (36) Mathematical Machines; (37) Mead; (38) Meteorology; (39) Micron; (40) Microscopy; etc.
Biographical / Historical:
C. L. Stong (1902-1975), an electrical engineer with the Western Electric Company from 1926 to 1962, became editor of "The Amateur Scientist" feature of the Scientific American in 1957 and held that position until his death.
Provenance:
Collection donated by Mildred Stong, 1976.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
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.
Occupation:
Ornithologists -- 1950-1980  Search this
Topic:
Paleontologists -- 1950-1980  Search this
Mathematicians -- 1950-1980  Search this
Meteorologists -- 1950-1980  Search this
Mineralogists -- 1950-1980  Search this
Musicians -- 1950-2000  Search this
Astronomers -- 1950-1980  Search this
Biologists -- 1950-1980  Search this
Botanists -- 1950-1980  Search this
Ichthyologists -- 1950-1980  Search this
Photographers -- 1950-1980  Search this
Publishing, scientific  Search this
Electrical engineers -- 1950-1980  Search this
Aerodynamics -- 1950-1980  Search this
Science -- 1950-1980  Search this
Zoologists -- 1950-1980  Search this
Archeologists -- 1950-1980  Search this
Physicists -- 1950-1980  Search this
Citation:
C. L. Stong Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0012
See more items in:
C.L. Stong Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep894fbf016-799b-4701-bdd1-521e1d8cab2c
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0012
Online Media:

Walter Guyton Cady Papers

Creator:
Cady, Walter Guyton, 1874-1973 (physicist)  Search this
Former owner:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Electricity and Modern Physics  Search this
Extent:
22.5 Cubic feet (73 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Notebooks
Date:
1903-1974
Scope and Contents:
Consists chiefly of Cady's research notebooks on various subjects in physics and a considerable technical reprint file; some records of Cady's consultant work and patents granted.
Arrangement:
Divided into 11 series.

Series 1: Research Notebooks, 1896 1972

Series 2: Chapter Drafts for Piezoelectricity An Introduction To The Theory And Applications Of Electromechanical Phenomena In Crystals, 1945

Series 3: Technical Reprint Files, 1900s-1960s

Series 4: Walter G. Cady's Writings and Reviews, 1950s-1960s

Series 5: Consultant Work, 1931-1967

Series 6: Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE), 1945-1963

Series 7: Institute of Electric and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), 1932-1973

Series 8: Patent Records, 1914-1974

Series 9: Books, 1887-1960

Series 10: Miscellaneous, 1949-1973

Series 11: Card Indexes, 1940s-1960s.
Biographical / Historical:
Walter Guyton Cady (1874 1973) was born in Providence, Rhode Island. He graduated from Brown University (Bachelors 1895 and Masters 1897) and from the University of Berlin (Ph. D. Physics, 1900). Cady worked at a magnetic observatory of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey from 1900-1902. In 1902, Cady joined the faculty of Wesleyan University as a professor of physics where he remained until 1946. During WW I, Cady used piezoelectricity—electricity or electric polarity due to pressure especially in a crystalline substance as quartz—and underwater sound to make devices that would locate enemy submarines. From this work evolved the crystal resonator and oscillator. Piezoelectricity is utilized in microphones, phonograph pickups, and telephone communications systems.

During World War II, Cady worked on military applications of piezoelectricity. Among the applications were supersonic trainers for radar operators, which employed piezoelectric transducers in liquid tanks to generate realistic echoes on radar indicators. In 1946, Cady published a book titled Piezoelectricity An Introduction To The Theory And Applications Of Electromechanical Phenomena In Crystals, 1946. After his retirement in 1951 to Pasadena, California, Cady returned to Providence, Rhode Island in 1963 and was active in consulting work for industry and the Federal government. Cady was an active member of Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE), becoming a fellow of the institute in 1927 and receiving the Morris N. Liebmann Memorial Award in 1928. He also received the Dudell Medal from the Physics Society of Great Britain in 1936. Cady also served as an editor for the PROCEDDINGS OF IRE and as president of IRE, was Editor of the Physical Review from 1924-1926, a member of the national Research Committee, 1935-1938, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Cady's principal interests included the study of electrical discharges in gases, detection of wireless waves, piezoelectricity, ultrasonics, piezoelectric resonators and oscillators, and crystal devices.

Cady married Kathrin Olive Miller (1883-1909) and they had one son, Willoughby Miller Cady (1907-1953), also a physicist.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
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:
Scientists  Search this
Resonators  Search this
Ultrasonics  Search this
Piezoelectric resonators  Search this
Physics  Search this
Professors  Search this
Piezoelectricity  Search this
Crystal devices  Search this
Physicists  Search this
Electrical science and technology  Search this
Genre/Form:
Notebooks
Citation:
Walter Guyton Cady Papers, 1903-1974, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0046
See more items in:
Walter Guyton Cady Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8cad9103e-9ab5-4197-9bf7-62f351aecde7
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0046
Online Media:

Albert G. Ingalls Papers

Creator:
Porter, Russell W.  Search this
Ingalls, Albert G., 1888-1958 (astronomer, editor)  Search this
Former owner:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Electricity and Modern Physics  Search this
Extent:
8.7 Cubic feet (27 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Clippings
Place:
Mt. Palomar, California
Date:
circa 1920-1956
Summary:
Collection documents Albert G. Ingallsrole as an editor for the "Scientific American" (specifically a column on amateur astronomy) primarily through correspondence and other publications.
Scope and Contents:
The Ingalls correspondence collection, while centered on problems of telescope construction, is by no means exclusively concerned with it. Over the years, in his editorial role and through many personal contacts, Ingalls developed continuing friendships which were maintained through voluminous correspondence. The letters often dealt with non-scientific subjects, sometimes quite personal in nature. They were often very informal in style and in the case of correspondents who were particularly close friends, were sometimes conducted on the basis of private nicknames, slang and "in-jokes."

In addition to letters, the Ingalls collection includes numerous copies of publications, reprints, and clippings often related to the subject matter of the correspondence. There are also drafts and final versions of Ingalls' columns from the Scientific American and from other publications. The collection also includes rough sketches of telescope components as well as blueprints and many photographs of equipment and individuals.

Prominent among Ingalls' correspondents was Russell W. Porter, a versatile scientist and artist who participated in Arctic exploration in the early 1900's and later became a professional maker of telescope mirrors and the author of numerous articles on the field. Porter's greatest contribution was as a member of the team which designed and constructed the 200-inch telescope at Mt. Palomar, California. Ingalls, 17 years Porter's junior, helped to publicize Porter's writings. Utilizing Porter's material as well as information from many other sources, Ingalls published in 1926 a book, Amateur Telescope Making, which went through 14 printings and 4 editions by 1959.
Biographical / Historical:
Albert G. Ingalls (1888-1958) served in World War I; later as an editor of Scientific American, he conducted a regular column on amateur astronomy. Educated at Cornell University, Ingalls was a life-time astronomy and telescope-making enthusiast. In his editorial capacity he corresponded with hundreds of amateur and professional astronomers and other scientists in the U.S. and many other countries.
Provenance:
Collection donated by Jeremy G. Ingalls and Joan V. Ingalls, July 1985.
Restrictions:
This collection is open for research.
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:
Astronomy -- 20th century  Search this
Telescope -- 20th century  Search this
Telescope makers -- 20th century  Search this
Genre/Form:
Clippings
Citation:
Albert G. Ingalls Papers, 1920-1956, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0175
See more items in:
Albert G. Ingalls Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8378e18e4-e02e-48ed-a6f6-f2e84d6b0bc5
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0175

C. Willard Geer Scrapbooks

Creator:
Geer, C. Willard, 1902-1975 (physicist)  Search this
Former owner:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Electricity and Modern Physics  Search this
Names:
University of Southern California  Search this
Extent:
0.5 Cubic feet (1 box)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Clippings
Diagrams
Patents
Notebooks
Legal documents
Photographs
Scrapbooks
Date:
1944-1962
Scope and Contents:
Two notebooks (scrapbooks) of clippings, correspondence, original United States patents, briefs on hearings of patent interference suits, drawings of color television tubes, photographs of Geer and his model of the receiving tube, licensing agreement proposal on the sale of patent rights to the (Bob) Hope Enterprises, and biographical information.
Biographical / Historical:
Assistant Professor of Physics, University of Southern California, 1943-1968. In 1944, he was granted the basic patent in color television for his tri-color television device which enabled the practical production of color images by television receiving apparatus. He held fourteen additional patents on the television.
Separated Materials:
Related artifacts in the Division of Work and Industry (electricity collections).
Provenance:
Transferred from the Division of Electricity, 3/30/84.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
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:
Color television  Search this
Physicists  Search this
Tri-color television device  Search this
Television  Search this
Genre/Form:
Clippings
Diagrams
Patents -- 20th century
Notebooks -- 1950-2000
Legal documents
Photographs -- 1940-1970
Scrapbooks -- 20th century
Citation:
C. Willard Geer Papers, 1944-1962, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0096
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep89510d75d-9aac-4dfc-8021-47d1c8545b5c
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0096

Julius G. Berger Collection

Creator:
Berger, Julius G., 1888- (electrical engineer)  Search this
Names:
General Electric Company  Search this
Stevens Institute of Technology  Search this
Former owner:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Electricity and Modern Physics  Search this
Extent:
0.75 Cubic feet (3 boxes)
Container:
Box 1
Box 2
Box 3
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Scrapbooks
Notebooks
Manuscripts
Newsletters
Date:
1909-1918.
Scope and Contents note:
This collection traces the training and employment of an early electrical engineer. It includes 4 manuals filled with Berger's lab training at Stevens and G.E., a lecture notebook, two business correspondence scrapbooks, an industrial power data reference book, and a group of G.E. technical newsletters.
Biographical/Historical note:
Berger served as a General Electric Company electrical engineer, a William Gordon Corporation contractor, and eventually began his own electrical design firm. He was educated in 1910 at the Stevens Institute, and enrolled in the General Electric continuing education program at Lynn, Mass.
Provenance:
Immediate source of acquisition unknown.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
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:
Electrical engineers  Search this
Electrical science and technology  Search this
Genre/Form:
Scrapbooks -- 1900-1950
Notebooks -- 1900-1950
Manuscripts -- 1900-1950
Newsletters -- 20th century
Citation:
Julius G. Berger Collection, 1909-1918, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0075
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8b725c551-e6e6-4690-b8ea-8088ffdb36d8
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0075

Elisha Gray Collection

Creator:
Gray, Elisha, 1835-1901 (inventor)  Search this
Former owner:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Electricity and Modern Physics  Search this
Names:
Western Electric Company.  Search this
Bell, Alexander Graham, 1847-1922  Search this
Taylor, Lloyd W.  Search this
Extent:
3.6 Cubic feet (10 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Clippings
Patents
Photographs
Correspondence
Date:
1871-1938
Scope and Contents note:
Legal documents, photographs, articles, copies of correspondence, three folders of original Gray correspondence on the Gray-Bell controversy; most of the collection consists of copies of material, or printed matter, collected by Lloyd W. Taylor of the museum staff.
Arrangement:
Divided into 8 series: (1) Correspondence; (2) Memoirs and Unpublished Manuscripts; (3) Legal Material; (4) Patents; (5) Biographical; (6) Lloyd W. Taylor; (7) Diagrams, Sketches; (8) Clippings.
Biographical/Historical note:
Elisha Gray (1835-1901) was an inventor and the co-founder of the Western Electric Company. Gray is best known for his part in a bitter controversy with Alexander Graham Bell over the priority of invention of the telephone.
Provenance:
Original source unidentified.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
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:
Telegraph  Search this
Electricity  Search this
Electrical science and technology  Search this
Electric engineering  Search this
Function:
Invention of telegraph
Genre/Form:
Clippings
Patents
Photographs -- 1900-1950
Correspondence -- 1930-1950
Photographs -- 1850-1900
Citation:
Elisha Gray Collection, 1871-1938, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0014
See more items in:
Elisha Gray Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep85a920b41-e020-4039-b1c3-6241cd1a9845
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0014

Russell H. Varian Papers

Author:
Varian, Russell H., 1898-1959 (electrical engineer)  Search this
Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Electricity and Modern Physics  Search this
Names:
Varian Associates.  Search this
Extent:
0.15 Cubic feet (1 box)
Container:
Box 1
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Notebooks
Date:
1937.
Scope and Contents:
Two notebooks, April 12-July 14 and July 14-September 8, 1937, documenting development of the klystron tube at Stanford University.
Biographical / Historical:
Russell H. Varian was co-inventor of the klystron tube, important in the development of radar. Varian worked at various times for Stanford University, Humble Oil Company, Farnsworth Television Corporation, and the Sperry Gyroscope Company, before founding Varian Associates with his brother Sigmund.
Provenance:
Russell H. Varian,gift,1958
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
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:
Klystron tube  Search this
Radar  Search this
Electrical science and technology  Search this
Genre/Form:
Notebooks -- 1900-1950
Citation:
Russell H. Varian Papers, 1937, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0110
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep807710773-4825-46e8-a046-2e4ddb6094ab
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0110

Henri Gaston Busignies Papers

Creator:
Busignies, Henri Gaston, 1905-1981 (electronic/communications engineer)  Search this
Names:
International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation  Search this
Former owner:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Electricity and Modern Physics  Search this
Extent:
0.15 Cubic feet (1 box)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Papers
Place:
Nutley (N.J.)
Date:
1905-1981
Scope and Contents:
Documentation of Gaston's role in the development of radio direction finders during World War II.
Biographical / Historical:
Busignies, electronic-communications engineer, came to the United States from France in 1940 and was naturalized in 1953. He held several positions at the Paris laboratories of the International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation(ITT), 1928-1941, where he was involved with the development of direction finders, radar, and instrument landing and at the Federal Telecommunications Laboratories of ITT at Nutley, New Jersey, 1941-1946. He received a certificate of commendation for his outstanding service with the United States Navy in 1947 and the Presidential Certificate of Merit in 1948.
Separated Materials:
Related objects in the Division of Work and Industry (Electricity and Nuclear Energy collections).
Provenance:
Immediate source of acquisition unknown.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
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:
Radio detection finders  Search this
Radar  Search this
Telecommunications engineers  Search this
Electronic engineers -- 20th century  Search this
Electronics  Search this
Communications, Military  Search this
Genre/Form:
Papers
Citation:
Henri Gaston Busignies Papers, 1905-1981, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0098
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8c4fd8379-6532-42e1-9762-37e3d70c8f36
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0098

James H. Nicholson Amateur Radio Collection

Creator:
Nicholson, James H., 1897-  Search this
Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Electricity and Modern Physics  Search this
Names:
United States. Navy  Search this
Extent:
0.66 Cubic feet (2 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Technical manuals
Date:
1920-1970.
Scope and Contents:
Correspondence, photographs, audio tapes and other documents relating to James H. Nicholson's career in radio, both as a long-time amateur operator and in his career in the U.S. Navy in both world wars and civilian government employment before and after World War II; Nicholson's autobiography; reminiscences by his daughter; and publications of amateur radio organizations (particular the "Old Old Timers Club") in which he was active.
Arrangement:
1 series.
Biographical / Historical:
Radio operator during his service in the Navy, an operator on merchant ships after World War I, and a "ham" radio operator on shore. He set up a radio shop which included the first licensed radio station in Maine, WTAJ. During World War II he was in charge of Naval aviation radio and after the war he worked for the Civil Aeronautics Administration.
Provenance:
The collection was donated to the Division of Electricity by Patricia Kilkenny, daughter of J.H. Nicholson, on 12/30/1994.
Restrictions:
Unrestricted research access on site by appointment. Unprotected photographs must be handled with gloves.
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:
World War, 1939-1945 -- Equipment and supplies  Search this
Radio -- History  Search this
Genre/Form:
Technical manuals -- Electrical equipment
Citation:
James H. Nicholson Amateur Radio Collection, 1920-1970, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0577
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep886ad747e-a937-4292-9da8-41f80e292dba
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0577

William K. Applebaugh Papers

Creator:
Applebaugh, William K.  Search this
Former owner:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Electricity and Modern Physics  Search this
Extent:
0.3 Cubic feet (2 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Letters (correspondence)
Clippings
Place:
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865
Date:
1857-1926
Summary:
The papers document the life and career of William K. Applebaugh, and his activities as a telegrapher during the U.S. Civil War.
Scope and Contents:
Archival materials documenting the life and career of William K. Applebaugh, and his activities as a telegrapher during the U.S. Civil War.
Arrangement:
The collection is divided into two series.

Series 1: Correspondence, 1846-1926

Series 2: Printed Materials, 1857-1874
Biographical / Historical:
Telegrapher during the U.S. Civil War.

Sergeant in Co. F, 16th Pennsylvania Cavalry on September 18, 1862, Applebaugh was promoted to Quartermaster Sergeant of the 161st PA Regiment on October 29, 1862, then Sergeant Major of the 16th PA Cavalry on June 20, 1863. On January 6, 1864, he was assigned to the U.S. Military Telegraph Service by General Halleck, and while serving as "1st Engineer" at Headquarters of the Army of the James, Sergeant Major Applebaugh became familiar with all the new electrical equipment developed to improve field communications. Immediately following his discharge on May 27, 1865, he was employed by Western Union and gained rapid advancement in the telegraphy profession
Related Materials:
Materials at the Archives Center

Western Union Telegraph Company Records (AC0205)
Provenance:
Collection donated by Division of Information, Technology and Society, National Museum of American History.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
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:
Telegraphers  Search this
Military telegraph  Search this
Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Communications  Search this
Genre/Form:
Letters (correspondence) -- 1850-1900
Letters (correspondence) -- 20th century.
Clippings -- 1840-1940
Citation:
William K. Applebaugh Papers, 1857-1926, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0638
See more items in:
William K. Applebaugh Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep82d5a5cdf-3cce-4bd9-b9fc-3a43887e4374
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0638

Harold R. D. Roess Papers

Author:
Roess, Harold R.D. (radio engineer)  Search this
Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Electricity and Modern Physics  Search this
Names:
Naval Research Laboratory (U.S.)  Search this
Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company  Search this
Extent:
2 Cubic feet (6 boxes )
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Technical drawings
Professional papers
Photographs
Blueprints
Date:
circa 1920-1964
Scope and Contents:
These papers document the career and interests of Roess, especially radio rebroadcasting stations, radio navigation, radar, antennas, Naval Research Laboratory projects, and radio broadcasting. Includes blueprints, schematics, technical literature, reprints, manuals, photographs, correspondence, and notes.
Arrangement:
The collection is divided into three series.

Series 1: Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Materials

Series 2: Photographs

Series 3: Radio Materials
Biographical / Historical:
Radio engineer for Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company; later worked for the Naval Research Laboratory.
Provenance:
The Harold R.D. Roess Papers were originally donated to the Division of Electricity by Harold R.D. Roess' daughter, Ms. O'Mara, circa 1972.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
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:
Technical literature -- Electric equipment  Search this
Electrical equipment  Search this
Antenna systems  Search this
Electrical engineers  Search this
Radar  Search this
Radio  Search this
Radio engineers  Search this
Genre/Form:
Technical drawings
Professional papers
Photographs -- 20th century
Blueprints
Citation:
Harold R. D. Roess Papers, ca. 1920-1964, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0048
See more items in:
Harold R. D. Roess Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep895d9f8ef-93f0-4433-8743-fca092de6cf2
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0048

Gerald Connop Gross Papers

Creator:
Gross, Gerald Connop (radio engineer)  Search this
Names:
Federal Communications Commission.  Search this
Federal Radio Commission.  Search this
International Telecommunication Union.  Search this
Former owner:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Electricity and Modern Physics  Search this
Extent:
2 Cubic feet (6 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Clippings
Legal documents
Publications
Reports
Correspondence
Photographs
Place:
Bern (Switzerland)
Date:
1900-1946.
Scope and Contents note:
This collection documents the history of the development of international communications. Includes official correspondence, 1926-1945, while Gross was at the F.C.C.; clippings; photographs; publications; legal documents; radio licenses; reports from international conferences; and F.C.C. reports and circulars.
Biographical/Historical note:
Gross (1903- ), radio engineer, served with the Federal Radio Commission and later as Chief of the International Division of the Federal Communications Commision (FCC). In 1945, he was appointed Vice Director of the International Telecommunication Union in Bern, Switzerland.
Provenance:
The collection was purchased from Walter Grossman circa 1980.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Topic:
Communication -- Research  Search this
Radio  Search this
Radio engineers  Search this
Genre/Form:
Clippings
Legal documents
Publications
Reports
Correspondence -- 1930-1950
Photographs -- 1900-1950
Citation:
Gerald Connop Gross Papers, 1900-1946, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0095
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8a04c226a-e64a-4467-a1c2-83770de92214
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0095

Elihu Thomson Collection

Collector:
Thomson, Elihu, 1853-1937 ((electrical engineer) )  Search this
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Electricity and Modern Physics  Search this
Names:
Thomson Electric Welding Company  Search this
Thomson Spot Welder Company  Search this
Extent:
0.5 Cubic feet (1 box)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Notes
Patents
Date:
1900-1932.
Scope and Contents:
Material documenting the activities of the Thomson Electric Welding Company and the Thomson Spot Welder Company. Includes copies of patents issued to Thomson or his employees, bulletins on electric resistance welding published by the companies, photographs of electric welding equipment, sales literature, historical notes on Elihu Thomson, and a ledger containing a record of the Factory Committee, presumably for one of Thomson's plants, 1911-1913.
Biographical / Historical:
Elihu Thomson (1853-1937), scientist, inventor, and electrical manufacturer, did important work in arc lighting, electric welding, and electrical manufacturing.
Provenance:
Immediate source of acquisition unknown.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
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:
Electric welding  Search this
welding  Search this
Electrical manufacturing  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs -- 1900-1950
Notes
Patents
Citation:
Elihu Thomson Collection, 1900-1932, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0103
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep86488f3d6-819b-4659-997a-74d318124d7c
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0103

Charles Sumner Tainter Papers

Creator:
Tainter, Charles Sumner, 1854-1940  Search this
Hartsook Studio (San Diego, Calif.)  Search this
Names:
American Graphophone Company  Search this
Clark, Alvin and Sons Company  Search this
Edison Phonograph Works  Search this
International Graphophone Company  Search this
Volta Graphophone Gompany  Search this
Bell, Alexander Graham, 1847-1922  Search this
Bell, Chichester  Search this
Berliner, Emile, 1851-1929  Search this
Former owner:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Electricity and Modern Physics  Search this
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Mechanisms  Search this
Extent:
2 Cubic feet (6 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Laboratory notebooks
Date:
1878-1937
Summary:
Charles Sumner Tainter has been recognized as the father of the talking machine, and much of the material in this collection represents his experimental work on the graphophone. Alexander Graham Bell, Chichester Bell, and Tainter established the Volta Laboratory Association in 1881. This collection presents a comprehensive picture of the early development of the phonograph and Tainter's substantial contributions to the project.
Scope and Contents:
Charles Sumner Tainter has been recognized as the father of the talking machine, and much of the material in this collection represents his experimental work on the graphophone.

Alexander Graham Bell, in partnership with his cousin Chichester Bell, and Tainter, established the Volta Laboratory Association in 1881, which stayed in operation until 1885. During this time Tainter recorded his experiments on the graphophone in thirteen note books or "Home Notes" and in two large volumes of technical drawings and notes. One of these volumes contains very exact drawings for a multiple record duplicator (1897-1908); the other contains rough sketches of his experiments with various apparatuses (1883-1884).

Tainter also wrote an unpublished, undated manuscript on The Talking Machine and Some Little Known Facts in Connection with Its Early Development. Another document consists of a binder with the printed patent specifications of Tainter, Alexander Graham Bell, and Chichester Bell (1880-1903). All of these documents are contained within this collection, except Volumes 9, 10, and 13 of Tainter's "Home Notes" which were destroyed in a fire in Tainter's Laboratory in Washington, D.C., in September 1897. The other ten volumes were needed in a law suit and were in possession of his attorney at the time of the fire. Records of Court testimony in suits involving the phonograph (1894-1896) are also included in this collection.

Tainter's memoirs, Early History of Charles Sumner Tainter provide a personal account of his childhood and youth, and of his later role as a member of the U. S. Government Expedition to observe the transit of Venus in 1874. Certificates, photographs, clippings, some correspondence, handwritten notes, and articles on the history of the phonograph complete the collection of his papers.
Arrangement:
The collection is divided into three series:

Series 1, Papers, 1878-1937

Series 2, Laboratory Notes, 1881-1908

Series 3, Artifacts, undated
Biographical / Historical:
Charles Sumner Tainter, son of George and Abigail Sanger Tainter, was born on April 25, 1854, in Watertown, Massachusetts, near Boston. His father was an inventor with several patents to his name. In his memoirs Tainter describes his father as "a man of much force of character and inventive ability" and his mother as, "a woman of high character and beloved by all." His school years left him with a terror of public speaking that followed him all his life. He completed public school without much enthusiasm and then became essentially self-educated, studying only subjects that interested him. He obtained scientific and technical books from the public library, and was an avid reader of Scientific American. In his memoirs he recalls: "I believe that this journal had a great influence in molding my thoughts in mechanical and scientific directions as I grew up with it and used to read it regularly."

In 1870 Tainter started to work for Charles Williams, Jr., a manufacturer of telegraphs and electrical apparatus in Boston, for five dollars a week. Two years later he became associated with Johnson and Whittlemore, manufacturers of electrical instruments in Boston. He stayed with them until the business folded in 1873, and then joined Alvan Clark and Sons, a well-known manufacturing company of large telescopes and optical instruments in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts. As a technician at the Alvan Clark and Sons Company, Tainter assisted with the building of the Equatorial Telescope mounted in the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C. He also constructed much of the equipment that was used during the U.S. government expedition to observe the transit of Venus in the South Pacific on December 8, 1874. The Secretary of the Navy appointed Tainter a member of this expedition, and Tainter vividly reveals his role in the event in his memoirs: "Early History of Charles Sumner Tainter." See Series 1, Box 1. [Note: Henry Draper, (1837 1882), a scientist whose collection of papers are also stored in the Archives Center, Series 3, Box 6, was superintendent of the government commission for the observation of the transit of Venus.] After he returned from the expedition in 1875, Tainter rejoined Alvan Clark and Sons Company and stayed there for three years.

Tainter started his own business in 1878 in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts, constructing scientific instruments. It was in Cambridgeport, that he met Alexander Graham Bell. A year later Tainter accepted Bell's proposal to join him in Washington, D.C. to establish a small laboratory. After a series of experiments they developed the radiophone, an instrument for transmitting sound to distant points through the agency of light, using sensitive selenium cells. The radiophone was shown at an electrical exhibition in Paris in 1881, where Tainter was awarded a gold medal and diploma for his part in the invention. Between 1879 and 1880, Tainter and Bell also experimented with and tried to improve on Edison's talking machine.

The Academie des Sciences of Paris awarded Bell the Volta prize in 1880 for his development of the telephone. The prize included $10,000 that Bell used a year later to establish the Volta Laboratory Association, a small research laboratory in Washington, D.C. He asked his cousin, Chichester A. Bell, a chemist from London, and Tainter to join him in this venture. Although they devoted much of their attention to electrical and acoustical research, most of their efforts went into the improvement of Edison's talking machine. Edison had used tinfoil as the recording medium for his first phonograph in 1877, but then abandoned the project and turned his attention to the electric light and power distribution system. Meanwhile, Chichester Bell and Tainter saw the fragile tinfoil as a major obstacle in any further development of the instrument, and after much experimenting came upon the idea of replacing the tinfoil with a wax compound onto which they could engrave the sound waves directly. This invention was patented in May 1886 under the name Graphophone. It was an important step in the development of the phonograph since for the first time it was possible to manufacture the device commercially. Tainter recorded his experiments on the graphophone in thirteen notebooks ("Home Notes") and two large volumes of technical drawings and sketches. See: Series 2, Boxes 1, 2, and 3.

Bell and Tainter recognized Edison as the inventor of the talking machine, and they wanted to work with him and carry the costs for all further experiments in exchange for half the share of the profits, but Edison rejected this proposal. He felt that they wanted to steal his invention. In 1885 the partnership between Bell, his cousin, and Tainter was dissolved, and the graphophone rights were given to a group of Washington court stenographers who felt that the graphophone could best be utilized as a dictaphone. The group subsequently formed the Volta graphophone Company where Tainter continued to work for several years. The Volta Graphophone Company was reorganized two years after its formation as the American Graphophone Company. Eventually Edison sued the Volta Graphophone Company (1894), and the American Graphophone Company (1895-96).

In June 1886 Tainter married Lila R. Munro, daughter of William J. Munro of Newport, Rhode Island. Two years later he suffered a severe case of pneumonia, which was to incapacitate him intermittently for the rest of his life.

The Volta Graphophone Company sold the foreign rights for the graphophone in the spring of 1889 to form the International Graphophone Company. Tainter became associated with this new company and went to Europe to look after its interests there. In the same year the graphophone was exhibited at the Paris Exposition and Tainter was awarded the Decoration of "Officier de L Instruction Publique" from the French government for his invention of the graphophone. Upon his return from Europe Tainter established a factory for the International Graphophone Company in Hartford, Connecticut in 1889. When he left the company in 1890, he launched his own laboratory in Washington, D.C., where he continued to improve on the phonograph and a number of new inventions were patented.

At the Chicago Exposition in 1893 Tainter was asked to manage the exhibition of more than a hundred machines for the American Graphophone Company. In 1897 a fire destroyed Tainter's Washington laboratory and much valuable material was lost, including three volumes of his "Home Notes", which contained some of the findings of his experiments on the graphophone. Three years later the city of Philadelphia awarded the John Scott medal to Chichester Bell and Tainter for their work in connection with the graphophone.

Tainter's chronic illness forced him to suspend his work frequently and seek treatment and relief in various sanatoria and spas both in Europe and in the United States. He and his wife eventually moved to California. They settled in San Diego in June of 1903 to enjoy the better climate there. Again Tainter established a laboratory and continued to work whenever his health allowed. In 1915 he was awarded a gold medal and diploma for his work with the graphophone at the San Francisco Exposition. Tainter's wife died in 1924. Four years later he married Laura Fontaine Onderdonk, widow of Charles G. Onderdonk.

At the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Pittsburgh in December 1934, Tainter was made an Emeritus Life Member, having been a fellow for 55 years. His obituary also mentions that in 1915 Tainter was awarded a gold medal at the Panama Pacific Exposition for his work on the graphophone.

Tainter died on April 20, 1940. He was considered an inventor, a physicist, and a manufacturer of electrical apparatus, but most of all he was known as the father of the talking machine.
Separated Materials:
Materials Located at the National Museum of American History

Medal award given to Charles Sumner Tainter, Exposition Internationale d'Electricite, Paris, 1881. See Accession #: ME*313452.02

Gold medal award given to Charles Sumner Tainter. Panama - Pacific Exposition, 1915. See Accession #: ME*313452.01
Provenance:
The collection was donated by Laura F. Tainter, Charles Sumner Tainter's widow, in 1947 and 1950.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research. Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves.
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:
Physicists  Search this
Inventors  Search this
Electrical engineers  Search this
Light machinery  Search this
Mechanical engineering  Search this
Dictating machine  Search this
Sound recording and reproduction  Search this
Talking machine  Search this
Phonograph  Search this
Genre/Form:
Laboratory notebooks
Citation:
Charles Sumner Tainter Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0124
See more items in:
Charles Sumner Tainter Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8887378c2-5b90-4839-90fc-901c69375fb7
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0124
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