Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Search Results

Collections Search Center
43 documents - page 1 of 3

John G. Brainerd

Artist:
Libby Rudnick, born early 20th century  Search this
Sitter:
John G. Brainerd, 1904 - 1988  Search this
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
105cm x 89.7cm (41 5/16" x 35 5/16"), Sight
Type:
Painting
Date:
c. 1955-1965
Topic:
John G. Brainerd: Male  Search this
John G. Brainerd: Education\Educator  Search this
John G. Brainerd: Science and Technology\Engineer\Electrical  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
Owner: University of Pennsylvania
Object number:
PA330459
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Catalog of American Portraits
Data Source:
Catalog of American Portraits
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/sm4dec74736-ced8-4c83-b34d-175add4b6655
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:npg_PA330459

Vannevar Brush

Artist:
Sidney Edward Dickinson, 1890 - 1980  Search this
Sitter:
Vannevar Bush, 11 Mar 1890 - 28 Jun 1974  Search this
Type:
Painting
Date:
mid 20th-late 20th century
Topic:
Home Furnishings\Furniture\Seating\Chair  Search this
Vannevar Bush: Male  Search this
Vannevar Bush: Literature\Writer  Search this
Vannevar Bush: Education\Educator\Professor\University  Search this
Vannevar Bush: Science and Technology\Inventor  Search this
Vannevar Bush: Science and Technology\Engineer\Military  Search this
Vannevar Bush: Science and Technology\Engineer\Electrical  Search this
Portrait  Search this
Credit Line:
Owner: Carnegie Institute
Object number:
DC900214
Restrictions & Rights:
Usage conditions apply
See more items in:
Catalog of American Portraits
Data Source:
Catalog of American Portraits
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/sm467c68ae4-ace0-447f-846e-ff1950ab0629
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:npg_DC900214

Dietzgen 1084S Wallet Case of Drawing Instruments

Distributor:
Eugene Dietzgen Company  Search this
Physical Description:
steel (overall material)
leather (overall material)
fabric (overall material)
german silver (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 2.6 cm x 22 cm x 9.5 cm; 1 1/32 in x 8 21/32 in x 3 3/4 in
Object Name:
drawing instruments, set of
Place made:
Germany
Place distributed:
United States: Illinois, Chicago
Date made:
1928-1937
Subject:
Mathematics  Search this
Drafting, Engineering  Search this
Credit Line:
Gift of Norma P. Wieler
ID Number:
1998.0032.01
Catalog number:
1998.0032.01
Accession number:
1998.0032
See more items in:
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Drawing Instruments
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a5-5283-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_694124
Online Media:

Rule Advertising Marlin-Rockwell Company

Distributor:
Marlin Rockwell Corporation  Search this
Physical Description:
steel (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: .1 cm x 16 cm x 1.1 cm; 1/32 in x 6 5/16 in x 7/16 in
Object Name:
scale rule
rule
Place made:
United States
Date made:
mid-20th century
Subject:
Mathematics  Search this
Rule, Measuring  Search this
Promotional Item  Search this
Credit Line:
Gift of Norma P. Wieler
ID Number:
1998.0032.07
Catalog number:
1998.0032.07
Accession number:
1998.0032
See more items in:
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Scale Rules
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a5-158e-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_694130
Online Media:

Knopf Bow Compass

Maker:
Knopf  Search this
Physical Description:
graphite (overall material)
metal (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 1 cm x 4 cm x 14 cm; 13/32 in x 1 9/16 in x 5 1/2 in
Object Name:
bow pencil
bow pencil
Place made:
Germany
Date made:
mid 20th century
Subject:
Mathematics  Search this
Drawing Instruments  Search this
Credit Line:
Gift of Norma P. Wieler
ID Number:
1998.0032.10
Catalog number:
1998.0032.10
Accession number:
1998.0032
See more items in:
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Dividers and Compasses
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a5-1503-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_694133

Richardson Direct Reading Slide Rule

Maker:
George W. Richardson  Search this
Physical Description:
plastic (part material)
aluminum (overall material)
paper (part material)
Measurements:
overall: 28 cm x 4.2 cm x .4 cm; 11 1/32 in x 1 21/32 in x 5/32 in
Object Name:
slide rule
Place made:
United States: Illinois, Chicago
Date made:
ca 1909
Subject:
Mathematics  Search this
Rule, Calculating  Search this
Patented  Search this
General Calculation  Search this
Credit Line:
Gift of Michael Konshak
ID Number:
2009.0038.02
Accession number:
2009.0038
Catalog number:
2009.0038.02
See more items in:
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Slide Rules
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746ac-a376-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_1346566
Online Media:

E. O. Richter & Co. 2330 Set of Drawing Instruments Sold by Frederik Preisler

Maker:
E. O. Richter & Co.  Search this
Physical Description:
wood (overall material)
leather (overall material)
fabric (overall material)
german silver (overall material)
steel (overall material)
aluminum (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 2.5 cm x 27 cm x 11.7 cm; 31/32 in x 10 5/8 in x 4 19/32 in
Object Name:
drawing instruments, set of
Place made:
Germany: Saxony, Chemnitz
Date made:
ca 1920
Subject:
Mathematics  Search this
Drafting, Engineering  Search this
Credit Line:
Transfer from Library of Congress, Exchange and Gift Division
ID Number:
1985.0909.01
Accession number:
1985.0909
Catalog number:
1985.0909.01
See more items in:
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Drawing Instruments
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a9-aa49-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_1214582
Online Media:

Western Electric telegraph relay

Maker:
Western Electric  Search this
Physical Description:
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
brass (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 4 in x 9 1/2 in x 5 1/2 in; 10.16 cm x 24.13 cm x 13.97 cm
Object Name:
telegraph relay
Credit Line:
from Oberlin College, Dept. of Physics, thru David L. Anderson
ID Number:
EM.324122
Accession number:
253039
Catalog number:
324122
See more items in:
Work and Industry: Electricity
Communications
Telegraph Relays & Repeaters
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746aa-5a5a-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_1198120
Online Media:

Improved Willis Planimeter

Maker:
James L. Robertson & Sons  Search this
Physical Description:
wood (overall material)
metal (overall material)
celluloid (overall material)
fabric (overall material)
leather (overall material)
Measurements:
case: 14.7 cm x 26 cm x 11.5 cm; 5 25/32 in x 10 1/4 in x 4 17/32 in
Object Name:
planimeter
Place made:
United States: New York, New York City
Date made:
1901-ca 1910
Subject:
Mathematics  Search this
Engineering  Search this
Credit Line:
Gift of R. S. Spencer
ID Number:
MA.324247
Accession number:
253403
Catalog number:
324247
See more items in:
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Planimeters
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
GUID:
http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746aa-954d-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:nmah_1132184
Online Media:

Washington Society of Engineers Records

Creator:
Washington Society of Engineers  Search this
Author:
Remington, Charles E.  Search this
Donor:
Ellenberger, William J.  Search this
Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of History of Technology  Search this
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Mechanical and Civil Engineering  Search this
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Work and Industry  Search this
Extent:
13.1 Cubic feet (30 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Correspondence
Business records
Minutes
Reports
Financial records
Ledgers (account books)
Place:
Washington (D.C.)
Date:
1905-1985
bulk 1930-1979
Summary:
The Washington Society of Engineers was founded in 1905 with the objective to advance engineering knowledge and maintain a high professional standard among members. Membership was open to all individuals who were actively engaged in any branch of the engineering profession. The records contain membership records, meeting minutes and reports, financial records, correspondence, projects and events details, as well as research documents.
Scope and Contents:
The collection documents work conducted by the Washington Society of Engineers. A large portion of the papers are from the offices of Charles E. Remington, former treasurer of the Society. The collection includes administrative records, organizational information, financial records, business records such as meeting minutes, general correspondence, reprints, records of programs and events, academic papers, and reference files about members and activities of the Society.
Arrangement:
The collection is divided into five series.

Series 1: Membership Records, 1905-1985

Series 2: Meeting Minutes and Reports, 1905-1980

Series 3: Financial Records,1906-1984

Series 4: Correspondence, 1928-1980

Series 5: Project, Events, and Research Documents, 1931-1983
Biographical / Historical:
The Washington Society of Engineers was formed in 1905 to represent local engineers in the Washington (DC), Virginia, and Maryland areas, as well as serve as a resource for sharing ideas and networking with others within the engineering profession. Membership was open to all persons actively involved in the practice of any branch of engineering. The Society became part of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE) and was also affiliated with the Washington Academy of Sciences. Other engineering societies were able to form due to the assistance of the Washington Society of Engineers such as the engineers including the Engineers Joint Council, the Washington Academy of Sciences, the DC Council of Engineering and Architectural Societies, and the American Association of Engineering Societies. The Washington Society of Engineers was absorbed into different national professional societies, such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), both of which have DC metro area branches.
Provenance:
Immediate source of acquisition unknown.
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:
Societies -- Professional  Search this
Engineering  Search this
Genre/Form:
Correspondence -- 20th century
Business records -- 20th century
Minutes
Reports
Financial records -- 20th century
Ledgers (account books)
Citation:
Washington Society of Engineers Records, 1905-1985, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0972
See more items in:
Washington Society of Engineers Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep86d121619-a005-4784-b7f1-b10d21aa4c3c
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0972

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:

Western Union Telegraph Company Records

Creator:
United Telegraph Workers.  Search this
Western Union Telegraph Company  Search this
Extent:
452 Cubic feet (871 boxes and 23 map folders)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Administrative records
Articles
Books
Clippings
Contracts
Drawings
Photographs
Patents
Newsletters
Photograph albums
Scrapbooks
Specifications
Technical documents
Date:
circa 1820-1995
Summary:
The collection documents in photographs, scrapbooks, notebooks, correspondence, stock ledgers, annual reports, and financial records, the evolution of the telegraph, the development of the Western Union Telegraph Company, and the beginning of the communications revolution. The collection materials describe both the history of the company and of the telegraph industry in general, particularly its importance to the development of the technology in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The collection is useful for researchers interested in the development of technology, economic history, and the impact of technology on American social and cultural life.
Scope and Contents:
The collection is divided into twenty-six (26) series and consists of approximately 400 cubic feet. The collection documents in photographs, scrapbooks, notebooks, correspondence, stock ledgers, annual reports, and financial records, the evolution of the telegraph, the development of the Western Union Telegraph Company, and the beginning of the communications revolution. The collection materials describe both the history of the company and of the telegraph industry in general, particularly its importance to the development of the technology in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The collection is useful for researchers interested in the development of technology, economic history, and the impact of technology on American social and cultural life.
Arrangement:
The collection is divided into twenty-seven series.

Series 1: Historical and Background Information, 1851-1994

Series 2: Subsidiaries of Western Union, 1844-1986

Series 3: Executive Records, 1848-1987

Series 4: Presidential Letterbooks and Writings, 1865-1911

Series 5: Correspondence, 1837-1985

Series 6: Cyrus W. Field Papers, 1840-1892

Series 7: Secretary's Files, 1844-1987

Series 8: Financial Records, 1859-1995

Series 9: Legal Records, 1867-1968

Series 10: Railroad Records, 1854-1945

Series 11: Law Department Records, 1868-1979

Series 12: Patent Materials, 1840-1970

Series 13: Operating Records, 1868-1970s

Series 14: Westar VI-S, 1974, 1983-1986

Series 15: Engineering Department Records, 1874-1970

Series 16: Plant Department Records, 1867-1937, 1963

Series 17: Superintendent of Supplies Records, 1888-1948

Series 18: Employee/Personnel Records 1852-1985

Series 19: Public Relations Department Records, 1858-1980

Series 20: Western Union Museum, 1913-1971

Series 21: Maps, 1820-1964

Series 22: Telegrams, 1852-1960s

Series 23: Photographs, circa 1870-1980

Series 24: Scrapbooks, 1835-1956

Series 25: Notebooks, 1880-1942

Series 26: Audio Visual Materials, 1925-1994

Series 27: Addenda
Biographical / Historical:
In 1832 Samuel F. B. Morse, assisted by Alfred Vail, conceived of the idea for an electromechanical telegraph, which he called the "Recording Telegraph." This commercial application of electricity was made tangible by their construction of a crude working model in 1835-36. This instrument probably was never used outside of Professor Morse's rooms where it was, however, operated in a number of demonstrations. This original telegraph instrument was in the hands of the Western Union Telegraph Company and had been kept carefully over the years in a glass case. It was moved several times in New York as the Western Union headquarters building changed location over the years. The company presented it to the Smithsonian Institution in 1950.

The telegraph was further refined by Morse, Vail, and a colleague, Leonard Gale, into working mechanical form in 1837. In this year Morse filed a caveat for it at the U.S. Patent Office. Electricity, provided by Joseph Henry's 1836 "intensity batteries", was sent over a wire. The flow of electricity through the wire was interrupted for shorter or longer periods by holding down the key of the device. The resulting dots or dashes were recorded on a printer or could be interpreted orally. In 1838 Morse perfected his sending and receiving code and organized a corporation, making Vail and Gale his partners.

In 1843 Morse received funds from Congress to set-up a demonstration line between Washington and Baltimore. Unfortunately, Morse was not an astute businessman and had no practical plan for constructing a line. After an unsuccessful attempt at laying underground cables with Ezra Cornell, the inventor of a trench digger, Morse switched to the erection of telegraph poles and was more successful. On May 24, 1844, Morse, in the U.S. Supreme Court Chambers in Washington, sent by telegraph the oft-quoted message to his colleague Vail in Baltimore, "What hath God wrought!"

In 1845 Morse hired Andrew Jackson's former postmaster general, Amos Kendall, as his agent in locating potential buyers of the telegraph. Kendall realized the value of the device, and had little trouble convincing others of its potential for profit. By the spring he had attracted a small group of investors. They subscribed $15,000 and formed the Magnetic Telegraph Company. Many new telegraph companies were formed as Morse sold licenses wherever he could.

The first commercial telegraph line was completed between Washington, D.C., and New York City in the spring of 1846 by the Magnetic Telegraph Company. Shortly thereafter, F. O. J. Smith, one of the patent owners, built a line between New York City and Boston. Most of these early companies were licensed by owners of Samuel Morse patents. The Morse messages were sent and received in a code of dots and dashes.

At this time other telegraph systems based on rival technologies were being built. Some companies used the printing telegraph, a device invented by a Vermonter, Royal E. House, whose messages were printed on paper or tape in Roman letters. In 1848 a Scotch scientist, Alexander Bain, received his patents on a telegraph. These were but two of many competing and incompatible technologies that had developed. The result was confusion, inefficiency, and a rash of suits and counter suits.

By 1851 there were over fifty separate telegraph companies operating in the United States. This corporate cornucopia developed because the owners of the telegraph patents had been unsuccessful in convincing the United States and other governments of the invention's potential usefulness. In the private sector, the owners had difficulty convincing capitalists of the commercial value of the invention. This led to the owners' willingness to sell licenses to many purchasers who organized separate companies and then built independent telegraph lines in various sections of the country.

Hiram Sibley moved to Rochester, New York, in 1838 to pursue banking and real estate. Later he was elected sheriff of Monroe County. In Rochester he was introduced to Judge Samuel L. Selden who held the House Telegraph patent rights. In 1849 Selden and Sibley organized the New York State Printing Telegraph Company, but they found it hard to compete with the existing New York, Albany, and Buffalo Telegraph Company.

After this experience Selden suggested that instead of creating a new line, the two should try to acquire all the companies west of Buffalo and unite them into a single unified system. Selden secured an agency for the extension throughout the United States of the House system. In an effort to expand this line west, Judge Selden called on friends and the people in Rochester. This led, in April 1851, to the organization of a company and the filing in Albany of the Articles of Association for the "New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company" (NYMVPTC), a company which later evolved into the Western Union Telegraph Company.

In 1854 there were two rival systems of the NYMVPTC in the West. These two systems consisted of thirteen separate companies. All the companies were using Morse patents in the five states north of the Ohio River. This created a struggle between three separate entities, leading to an unreliable and inefficient telegraph service. The owners of these rival companies eventually decided to invest their money elsewhere and arrangements were made for the NYMVPTC to purchase their interests.

Hiram Sibley recapitalized the company in 1854 under the same name and began a program of construction and acquisition. The most important takeover was carried out by Sibley when he negotiated the purchase of the Morse patent rights for the Midwest for $50,000 from Jeptha H. Wade and John J. Speed, without the knowledge of Ezra Cornell, their partner in the Erie and Michigan Telegraph Company (EMTC). With this acquisition Sibley proceeded to switch to the superior Morse system. He also hired Wade, a very capable manager, who became his protege and later his successor. After a bitter struggle Morse and Wade obtained the EMTC from Cornell in 1855, thus assuring dominance by the NYMVPTC in the Midwest. In 1856 the company name was changed to the "Western Union Telegraph Company," indicating the union of the Western lines into one compact system. In December, 1857, the Company paid stockholders their first dividend.

Between 1857 and 1861 similar consolidations of telegraph companies took place in other areas of the country so that most of the telegraph interests of the United States had merged into six systems. These were the American Telegraph Company (covering the Atlantic and some Gulf states), The Western Union Telegraph Company (covering states North of the Ohio River and parts of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Minnesota), the New York Albany and Buffalo Electro-Magnetic Telegraph Company (covering New York State), the Atlantic and Ohio Telegraph Company (covering Pennsylvania), the Illinois & Mississippi Telegraph Company (covering sections of Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois), and the New Orleans & Ohio Telegraph Company (covering the southern Mississippi Valley and the Southwest). All these companies worked together in a mutually friendly alliance, and other small companies cooperated with the six systems, particularly some on the West Coast.

By the time of the Civil War, there was a strong commercial incentive to construct a telegraph line across the western plains to link the two coasts of America. Many companies, however, believed the line would be impossible to build and maintain.

In 1860 Congress passed, and President James Buchanan signed, the Pacific Telegraph Act, which authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to seek bids for a project to construct a transcontinental line. When two bidders dropped out, Hiram Sibley, representing Western Union, was the only bidder left. By default Sibley won the contract. The Pacific Telegraph Company was organized for the purpose of building the eastern section of the line. Sibley sent Wade to California, where he consolidated the small local companies into the California State Telegraph Company. This entity then organized the Overland Telegraph Company, which handled construction eastward from Carson City, Nevada, joining the existing California lines, to Salt Lake City, Utah. Sibley's Pacific Telegraph Company built westward from Omaha, Nebraska. Sibley put most of his resources into the venture. The line was completed in October, 1861. Both companies were soon merged into Western Union. This accomplishment made Hiram Sibley leader of the telegraph industry.

Further consolidations took place over the next several years. Many companies merged into the American Telegraph Company. With the expiration of the Morse patents, several organizations were combined in 1864 under the name of "The U.S. Telegraph Company." In 1866 the final consolidation took place, with Western Union exchanging stock for the stock of the other two organizations. The general office of Western Union moved at this time from Rochester to 145 Broadway, New York City. In 1875 the main office moved to 195 Broadway, where it remained until 1930 when it relocated to 60 Hudson Street.

In 1873 Western Union purchased a majority of shares in the International Ocean Telegraph Company. This was an important move because it marked Western Union's entry into the foreign telegraph market. Having previously worked with foreign companies, Western Union now began competing for overseas business.

In the late 1870s Western Union, led by William H. Vanderbilt, attempted to wrest control of the major telephone patents, and the new telephone industry, away from the Bell Telephone Company. But due to new Bell leadership and a subsequent hostile takeover attempt of Western Union by Jay Gould, Western Union discontinued its fight and Bell Telephone prevailed.

Despite these corporate calisthenics, Western Union remained in the public eye. The sight of a uniformed Western Union messenger boy was familiar in small towns and big cities all over the country for many years. Some of Western Union's top officials in fact began their careers as messenger boys.

Throughout the remainder of the nineteenth century the telegraph became one of the most important factors in the development of social and commercial life of America. In spite of improvements to the telegraph, however, two new inventions--the telephone (nineteenth century) and the radio (twentieth century)--eventually replaced the telegraph as the leaders of the communication revolution for most Americans.

At the turn of the century, Bell abandoned its struggles to maintain a monopoly through patent suits, and entered into direct competition with the many independent telephone companies. Around this time, the company adopted its new name, the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T).

In 1908 AT&T gained control of Western Union. This proved beneficial to Western Union, because the companies were able to share lines when needed, and it became possible to order telegrams by telephone. However, it was only possible to order Western Union telegrams, and this hurt the business of Western Union's main competitor, the Postal Telegraph Company. In 1913, however, as part of a move to prevent the government from invoking antitrust laws, AT&T completely separated itself from Western Union.

Western Union continued to prosper and it received commendations from the U.S. armed forces for service during both world wars. In 1945 Western Union finally merged with its longtime rival, the Postal Telegraph Company. As part of that merger, Western Union agreed to separate domestic and foreign business. In 1963 Western Union International Incorporated, a private company completely separate from the Western Union Telegraph Company, was formed and an agreement with the Postal Telegraph Company was completed. In 1994, Western Union Financial Services, Inc. was acquired by First Financial Management Corporation. In 1995, First Financial Management Corporation merged with First Data Corporation making Western Union a First Data subsidiary.

Many technological advancements followed the telegraph's development. The following are among the more important:

The first advancement of the telegraph occurred around 1850 when operators realized that the clicks of the recording instrument portrayed a sound pattern, understandable by the operators as dots and dashes. This allowed the operator to hear the message by ear and simultaneously write it down. This ability transformed the telegraph into a versatile and speedy system.

Duplex Telegraphy, 1871-72, was invented by the president of the Franklin Telegraph Company. Unable to sell his invention to his own company, he found a willing buyer in Western Union. Utilizing this invention, two messages were sent over the wire simultaneously, one in each direction.

As business blossomed and demand surged, new devices appeared. Thomas Edison's Quadruplex allowed four messages to be sent over the same wire simultaneously, two in one direction and two in the other.

An English automatic signaling arrangement, Wheatstone's Automatic Telegraph, 1883, allowed larger numbers of words to be transmitted over a wire at once. It could only be used advantageously, however, on circuits where there was a heavy volume of business.

Buckingham's Machine Telegraph was an improvement on the House system. It printed received messages in plain Roman letters quickly and legibly on a message blank, ready for delivery.

Vibroplex, c. 1890, a semi-automatic key sometimes called a "bug key," made the dots automatically. This relieved the operator of much physical strain.
Related Materials:
Materials in the Archives Center

Additional moving image about Western Union Telegraph Company can be found in the Industry on Parade Collection (AC0507). This includes Cable to Cuba! by Bell Laboratory, AT & T, featuring the cable ship, the C.S. Lord Kelvin, and Communications Centennial! by the Western Union Company.

Materials at Other Organizations

Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, Delaware.

Western Union International Records form part of the MCI International, Inc. Records at the First Data Corporation, Greenwood Village, Colorado.

Records of First Data Corporation and its predecessors, including Western Union, First Financial Management Corporation (Atlanta) and First Data Resources (Omaha). Western Union collection supports research of telegraphy and related technologies, and includes company records, annual reports, photographs, print and broadcast advertising, telegraph equipment, and messenger uniforms.

Smithsonian Institution Archives

Western Union Telegraph Expedition, 1865-1867

This collection includes correspondence, mostly to Spencer F. Baird, from members of the Scientific Corps of the Western Union Telegraph Expedition, including Kennicott, Dall, Bannister, and Elliott; copies of reports submitted to divisional chiefs from expedition staff members; newspaper clippings concerning the expedition; copies of notes on natural history taken by Robert Kennicott; and a journal containing meteorological data recorded by Henry M. Bannister from March to August, 1866.
Separated Materials:
Artifacts (apparatus and equipment) were donated to the Division of Information Technology and Society, now known as the Division of Work & Industry, National Museum of American History.
Provenance:
The collection was donated by Western Union in September of 1971.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but Series 11 and films are stored off-site. Special arrangements must be made to view some of the audiovisual materials. 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:
Communications equipment  Search this
Communication -- International cooperation  Search this
Electric engineering  Search this
Electric engineers  Search this
Electrical equipment  Search this
Electrical science and technology  Search this
Telegraphers  Search this
Telegraph  Search this
Genre/Form:
Administrative records
Articles
Books
Clippings
Contracts
Drawings
Photographs -- 19th century
Patents
Photographs -- 20th century
Newsletters
Photograph albums
Scrapbooks -- 19th century
Scrapbooks -- 20th century
Specifications
Technical documents
Citation:
Western Union Telegraph Company Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0205
See more items in:
Western Union Telegraph Company Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8b72e8493-288c-4bd0-84d5-011155da30a7
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0205
Online Media:

Milton Rosen Papers

Creator:
Rosen, Milton, b. 1915  Search this
Names:
Naval Research Laboratory (U.S.)  Search this
Extent:
4.36 Cubic feet ((4 box))
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Correspondence
Technical manuals
Photographs
Reports
Date:
bulk 1940s-1990s
Scope and Contents:
This collection consists of four cubic feet of material documenting the aerospace career of Milton Rosen, especially his work on the Viking Rocket and Vanguard Projects. The collection includes the following types of material: a Viking scrapbook; publications written by Rosen, including articles, papers, journals, and books; Viking photographs; Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) Viking reports; NRL reports on V-2 and development of remote control for the JB-2 Flying Bomb; Rosen's professional correspondence; Viking design summary; 1955 Vanguard proposal; and several 1961 papers on planning for the manned lunar landing.
Biographical / Historical:
Milton Rosen (b. 1915) was a key figure in the development of the Viking Rocket and Vanguard programs. Rosen earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania in 1937. He joined the staff of the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in 1940 and he worked on guidance systems for missiles during World War II. From 1947 until 1955, Rosen was in charge of Viking Rocket development, and he then became the technical director of Project Vanguard. Rosen joined NASA in 1958 as Director of Launch Vehicles and Propulsion in the Office of Manned Space Flight. In 1963, he became Senior Scientist in NASA's Office of the Deputy Associate Administrator for Defense Affairs and was later appointed Deputy Associate Administrator for Space Science (Engineering). Rosen retired from NASA in 1974 to become Executive Secretary of the National Academy of Science's Space Science Board. Rosen wrote numerous articles on rockets and space flight, and is the author of The Viking Rocket Story, published in 1954. He is a fellow and former director of the American Rocket Society.
Provenance:
Milton Rosen, Gift, 2005
Restrictions:
No restrictions on access.
Rights:
Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests
Topic:
Viking rocket  Search this
V-2 rocket  Search this
Astronautics  Search this
Rockets (Aeronautics)  Search this
Project Vanguard  Search this
Periodicals  Search this
Genre/Form:
Correspondence
Technical manuals -- 20th century
Photographs
Reports
Citation:
Milton Rosen Papers, Accession 2005-0070, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
NASM.2005.0070
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/pg285b25947-a1d1-483d-9fda-b5de2bc033ef
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nasm-2005-0070

Kenneth M. Swezey Papers

Creator:
Swezey, Kenneth M., 1905-1972 (journalist)  Search this
Sarony, Napoleon, 1821-1896  Search this
Tesla, Nikola, 1856-1943  Search this
Extent:
8.6 Cubic feet (26 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Cabinet photographs
Patents
Date:
1891 - 1988
Summary:
The collection consists of correspondence (both of Nicola Tesla and Kenneth Swezey), copies of patents, articles, pamphlets, brochures, stamps, newsletters, and manuscripts, from 1890-1972 collected and assembled by Swezey.
Scope and Contents:
The Swezey papers are divided into four series: Series 1: Correspondence and Subject Files, Series 2: Tesla Photographs, Series 3: Publications and Series 4: Research Notes. Series 4: Research Notes is housed in a small metal box and contains Swezey's research notes presumably for his incomplete biography of Tesla. Series 1: Correspondence and Subjects Files is arranged alphabetically and is composed of correspondence, copies of patents, articles, pamphlets, brochures, stamps, newsletters and manuscripts. The folders within this series are titled and include a diverse combination of correspondence between Swezey and Tesla, and between Swezey and his colleagues, companies, government officials, museum curators, and Tesla's admirers. Box 19 contains photographs of Tesla, his inventions, his laboratories and personal photographs. Boxes 20-26 include bibliographies, biographies and articles. The collection is strong in articles from magazines such as Electrical Experimentor, newspaper clippings, articles regarding electricity, power, radio, pamphlets, and brochures. The collection generally follows Swezey's arrangement and is somewhat inconsistent in terms of organization. However, the folder titles are fairly specific and should give the researcher direction. The materials within the folders are arranged chronologically. While some photo prints have been placed together in Series 2, there are also a large number of photo prints throughout the collection, according to Swezey's original arrangement. The collection provides an overview of Tesla's unusual personality and Swezey's intense preoccupation with Tesla. The collection also provides insight into Tesla's way of life, philosophies, personality and a general overview of his inventions and how society reacted to this prolific and unusual inventor.
Arrangement:
The collection is divided into four series.

Series 1: Correspondence and Subject Files, 1891-1988

Series 2: Tesla Photographs, 1983; 1943

Series 3: Publications, 1959-1970

Series 4: Research Notes, undated
Biographical / Historical:
Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) was born in Smiljan, Lika, now Yugoslavia and emigrated to America in 1884. He worked at the Edison Machine Works as a dynamo designer where he was promised a salary of $18.00 a week, with a completion bonus of $50,000. He realized at the end of the year the bonus had been a practical joke and he resigned. By 1887, he accumulated enough money to build a laboratory and start working on models of motors. Shortly thereafter, he developed his famous polyphase, alternating current motor, using an alternating current instead of the direct current used up until this point. Tesla's motor kept "exact step with the rotations of the field, regardless of load; this was the first polyphase synchronous motor." (Science, Swezey, vol. 127 p.1149) The induction motor which he later invented developed a high torque in starting, built up speed, and could maintain speed with varying loads. In 1888, Tesla received his first patents from the U.S. Patent Office. George Westinghouse quickly recognized Tesla's lucrative ideas, and hired him. Westinghouse was awarded the important Niagara Falls Power contract using Tesla's patents for his turbine engine utilizing the polyphase system. After a year, despite his very high salary with Westinghouse, Tesla decided to go back to working in his private lab in New York. He experimented with high frequency currents which led to many discoveries, including the famous Tesla coil the forerunner of fluorescent and neon lighting. At the same time he started delving in the new field of science, telautomatics, now called automation. He built and demonstrated model boats controlled by wireless radio impulses and the first radio controlled torpedo (the forerunner of the guided missile) One of Tesla's dreams was to transmit electric signals all over the world without using wires . In 1899, he began building a demonstration plant for wireless transmission at his Shoreham, Long Island laboratory. Despite never completing the plant due to lack of funds, his vision earned him the name "father of radio". In Tesla's latter years he worked on inventions and ideas which he could not afford to develop and became more eccentric and withdrawn from society. He died January 7, 1943 at the age of 87. Although Tesla was well regarded in his time, he was never revered in this country as he was in Yugoslavia. Most of Tesla's original documents and correspondence are in Belgrade, Yugoslavia at the Nikola Tesla Museum. The Library of Congress Manuscript Division holds 7 reels of microfilm of these materials.

Kenneth M. Swezey (1905-1972) wrote for the New York Sun in his late teens and early twenties. At this time he met and became friends with Nikola Tesla. Swezey regarded him as an unsung electrical genius and collected Tesla materials from 1921-1972. In his capacity as writer for various publications he frequently wrote about Tesla and his scientific advancements. Privately he spent a large part of his time memorializing him, eg. he started the Tesla Society. He also organized anniversary celebrations commemorating Tesla, etc. Swezey also wrote science books, among them: Formulas, Methods, Tips and Data for Home and Workshop, 1969; Science Shows You How, 1964 and After Dinner Science. When Mr. Swezey died in 1972, the Smithsonian Institution acquired his collection. Kenneth Swezey felt that the United States should honor Tesla and spent most of his life trying to memorialize him. He was instrumental in organizing a celebration of Tesla's 75th anniversary with the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, soliciting admiring statements from both individuals and corporations, for the unpublished pamphlet, "Tribute to Nikola Tesla." Some of Mr. Swezey's other Tesla related activities included: forming the Tesla Society, organizing and designing the 100th anniversary celebration, successfully lobbying for the naming of ships, schools, and a unit of measurement after Tesla, and the striking of a stamp commemorating Tesla.
Provenance:
The collection was donated by Robert MacCrate, Attorney, Sullivan and Cromwell in 1972.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.

Series 1: Leland Anderson correspondence, box 2 is restricted by the donor until 2030.
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 -- History  Search this
Electrical engineering  Search this
Electrical engineers  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs -- 20th century
Cabinet photographs
Patents
Citation:
Kenneth M. Swezey Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0047
See more items in:
Kenneth M. Swezey Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep82f8acf59-7398-45d6-973e-9391f2fde87a
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0047
Online Media:

William "Cat" Anderson Collection

Creator:
Anderson, William "Cat", 1916-1981 (musician)  Search this
Names:
Benny Carter All Stars  Search this
Cat Anderson Quintet  Search this
Duke Ellington Orchestra  Search this
Lionel Hampton Orchestra  Search this
Mingus Quintet  Search this
Bechet, Sidney (musician)  Search this
Calloway, Cab, 1907-  Search this
Carter, Benny, 1907-2003  Search this
Ellington, Duke, 1899-1974  Search this
Fitzgerald, Ella, 1917-1996  Search this
Hampton, Lionel  Search this
Humphrey, Hubert H. (Hubert Horatio), 1911-1978  Search this
Humphrey, Muriel  Search this
Johnson, Lucy Bird  Search this
Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973  Search this
Tatum, Art, 1910-1956  Search this
Webster, Ben  Search this
Extent:
5 Cubic feet (12 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Manuscripts
Transcripts
Oral histories (document genres)
Oral history
Phonograph records
Photographs
Recordings
Interviews
Clippings
Audiotapes
Awards
Audiocassettes
Articles
Date:
1940-1981
bulk 1963-1977
Scope and Contents note:
Primarily audiotapes, sheet music, and photographic images. Also: correspondence, newspaper clippings, magazine articles, itineraries, awards, and ephemera.,Of particular interest are recordings or photographic images, including the personalities listed below, and President and Mrs. Tubman of Liberia; also, two interviews and three recordings of Cat Anderson as guest with various university and college jazz bands.
Arrangement:
Collection is divided into four series.

Series 1: Music

Series 2: Original tapes and recordings

Series 3: Photographs

Series 4: Miscellaneous
Biographical/Historical note:
Cat Anderson (Sept 12, 1916 - April 29, 1981) was one of the premier trumpet players of the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Known for his effortless high notes, he was a strong section leader and a great soloist whose style exhibited humor and precision. He grew up in Jenkins= Orphanage in Charleston, SC, received basic music training there, and participated in many of their famous student ensembles. He formed and played with the Cotton Pickers, a group of orphanage teens while still a young man. Before joining Ellington in 1944, he played in several big bands, including Claude Hopkins and Lionel Hampton. Anderson left the Ellington organization from 1947 through 1949 again to lead his own group. From 1959 to1961 and after 1971 Anderson free lanced, working with the Ellington orchestra intermittently. He died in 1981 after receiving honors from the US Air Force, the Prix du Disque de Jazz, and the City of Los Angeles.
Related Archival Materials:
Related artifacts include: awards, plaques, mutes, trumpet mouth pieces, and the Jon Williams/Cat Anderson simulator in the Division of Cultural and Community Life (now Division of Cultural and Community Life). See accession: 1998.3074.
Provenance:
The collection was donated to the National Museum of American History in January 1998, by Dorothy Anderson, Cat Anderson's widow. It was acquired through negotiations with her, her brother, Mr. John Coffey and her nephew, Andrew Brazington. The materials were picked up from Mr. John Coffey of upper N.W. Washington, DC on January 21, 1998.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research. Master tapes not available to researchers.
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.

Copyright status of items varies. Signed copies of releases on file.
Occupation:
Composers -- 20th century  Search this
Topic:
Music -- 20th century  Search this
Music -- Acoustics and physics  Search this
Musicians -- 20th century  Search this
Piano and synthesizer music  Search this
Inventions -- 1980-2000  Search this
Synthesizer music  Search this
Electric engineering -- 1980-2000  Search this
Band musicians  Search this
African American musicians  Search this
Jazz musicians -- United States  Search this
Inventors -- 20th century  Search this
Genre/Form:
Manuscripts -- Music -- 20th century
Transcripts
Oral histories (document genres)
Oral history
Phonograph records
Photographs -- 20th century
Recordings
Interviews
Interviews -- 1950-2000
Clippings -- 20th century
Audiotapes -- 1940-1980
Awards
Audiocassettes
Audiotapes
Articles -- 1940-1980
Citation:
William "Cat" Anderson Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0630
See more items in:
William "Cat" Anderson Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep891a9a0e4-7c4f-4956-b81e-6d65c57e1f29
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0630
Online Media:

Julius G. Berger Collection

Creator:
Berger, Julius G., 1888- (electrical engineer)  Search this
Names:
General Electric Company  Search this
Stevens Institute.  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)
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

Analogue Music Synthesizer Oral History Project

Creator:
Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.  Search this
Interviewee:
Krause, Bernie  Search this
Deutsch, Herbert  Search this
Hemsath, Bill  Search this
Pollock, Jay  Search this
Moog, Robert  Search this
Oberheim, Tom  Search this
Sear, Walter  Search this
Preston, Don  Search this
Scott, Jim  Search this
Chowning, Jonathan  Search this
Buchla, Don  Search this
Interviewer:
Pinch, Trevor  Search this
Extent:
1 Cubic foot (8 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Audiocassettes
Transcripts
Audiotapes
Interviews
Oral history
Oral histories (document genres)
Date:
1996-2000
Summary:
The collection consists of over thirty hours of 7" open reel-to-reel master tapes, compact discs (DVDs), and transcripts for oral histories documenting the invention and development of the analogue music synthesizer.
Scope and Contents:
The collection consists of over thirty hours of 7" open reel-to- reel master tapes, compact discs, and transcripts for the oral histories documenting the invention and development of the analogue music synthesizer. Not all interviews have master tapes, reference copies, or transcripts.
Arrangement:
Collection is arranged into three series.

Series 1: Transcripts, 1996-1998

Series 2: Reference Disks (DVDs), 1996-2000

Series 3: Master Tapes (7"), 1996-1998
Biographical / Historical:
The Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, in cooperation with Trevor Pinch and Frank Trocco of Cornell University, conducted oral histories to document the pioneering engineers and musicians of the electronic music synthesizer from 1960 to 1970. Pinch and Trocco authored in 2002, Analog Days: The Invention and Impact of the Moog Synthesizer by Harvard University Press. This book is based on the oral histories from the Analogue Music Synthesizer Oral History Project.
Provenance:
This collection was created by the Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation with National Museum of American History staff member Jim Weaver, Division of Cultural History and Trevor Pinch and Frank Trocco, Department of Science and Technology Studies, Cornell University.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research use.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Inventors -- 20th century  Search this
Piano and synthesizer music  Search this
Electric engineering -- 1980-2000  Search this
Inventions -- 1980-2000  Search this
Synthesizer music  Search this
Music -- Acoustics and physics  Search this
Music -- 20th century  Search this
Genre/Form:
Audiocassettes
Transcripts
Audiotapes
Interviews
Oral history
Oral histories (document genres)
Citation:
Title and date item, Analogue Music Synthesizer Oral History Project, 1996-1998, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0640
See more items in:
Analogue Music Synthesizer Oral History Project
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8ac41714f-e1a6-4462-a98b-baa221827e0c
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0640

Robert W. Kearns Papers

Creator:
Brown, Brian Ivan  Search this
Kearns, Robert W.  Search this
Kearns, Timothy  Search this
Quan, John  Search this
Names:
Kearns and Law  Search this
Tann Company  Search this
United States. Bureau of Standards.  Search this
Extent:
8.5 Cubic feet (24 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Reports
Trade literature
Patents
Photographs
Drawings
Notebooks
Correspondence
Memorandums
Date:
1963 - 1999
Summary:
The collection documents the inventive career of physicist and engineer Robert W. Kearns. Kearns invented and patented in 1967 the windshield wiper system with intermittent operation (US 3,351,836), among other inventions. The papers include notebooks, correspondence, reports, memoranda, photographs, patents, drawings, and trade literature.
Scope and Contents:
The collection includes notebooks, correspondence, reports, memoranda, photographs, patents, drawings, and trade literature. Kearns held patents related to circuitry which are integral to electronic intermittent windshield wipers. The windshield wiper documentation consists of patents, correspondence, and a set of drawings from November 16, 1967 for Tann Company. Other documentation includes Kearns's work with the engineering firm Kearns and Law (brochures, shop orders, agreements); his National Bureau of Standards work, which consists of his personnel file and notebooks detailing his highway skid resistance research; and subject files that cover a range of topics that interested Kearns, such as radar, speed control, and electric cars. At the heart of the collection are 32 invention notebooks (1963-1986) belonging to Kearns as well as engineers he worked with including John Quan, Brian Ivan Brown, and Timothy Kearns, son of Robert Kearns. Bound, paginated, and dated, the notebooks contain sketches, schematics, calculations, data, telephone numbers, and details about materials, costs, testing data, and descriptions for many of Kearns's projects. The notebooks present a comprehensive overview of his ideas and are significant to understanding his creative process and how his ideas changed or did not change over time. The majority of the notebooks are arranged in chronological order and therefore researchers can see Kearns's work unfold. Many of the notebooks are stamped with a "PO" to indicate a "protective order" followed by a number, and many of the notebooks were used during court proceedings. The protective order restricted access to notebooks which were filed with the court, or to be filed with the court at a future date.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into ten series.

Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1957-1991

Series 2: Notebooks, 1954-1994

Series 3: Patents, 1957-1985

Series 4: Kearns and Law Engineers, 1957-1962

Series 5: Kearns Engineers, 1967-1985

Series 6: National Bureau of Standards, 1967-1972

Series 7: Ford Motor Company (Engineering Technical Education Program), 1964-1966

Series 8: Windshield Wiper Materials (Kearns vs. Ford Motor Company), 1962-1993

Series 9: Subject Files, 1965-1999

Series 10: Correspondence, 1989-1999
Biographical / Historical:
Robert William Kearns was born in Gary, Indiana on March 10, 1927 to Martin W. Kearns and Mary E. Kearns. One of three children, Kearns grewup in the Detroit area, graduating from the University of Detroit, Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (1952); Wayne State University, Masters of Science in Engineering Mechanics (1957); and Case Western Reserve University, Ph.D. in engineering (1964). Kearns also earned certificates in nuclear reactor control from Argonne National Laboratories (1958 and 1959). He was a Corporal in the United States Army, assigned to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the Strategic Services Unit (SSU); the Central Intelligence Group (CIG), and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA.) from July 31, 1945 to November 29, 1946.

Prior to joining the military in 1945, Kearns worked at Mercury Engineering Company (1943-1945) in Detroit as a draftsman preparing engineering shop drawings. After the war, Kearns joined the H & A Tool and Die Company (1946-1947), also in Detroit, as a draftsman preparing engineering shop drawings for the manufacture of the individual parts for machinery and special dies. Through the University of Detroit Cooperative Program with the National Bureau of Standards, he participated in an engineer in training program (1949-1952) where he executed a variety of standardized tests on engineering materials. He held a variety of engineering positions: designer/draftsman with Peerless Design Company, Detroit (1952); junior engineer with Burroughs Corporation Research Laboratories, Philadelphia (1952-1953); and engineer with Bendix Aviation Corporation, Detroit (1953-1957) where Kearns supervised and directed of a group of engineers responsible for the design of computer components, servomechanisms, control systems and related devices. Other duties included planning, liaison with other Bendix divisions, establishing test equipment requirements, as well as technical specifications and reports. In 1957, Kearns joined the faculty of Wayne State University, Department of Engineering Mechanics, as an assistant professor (1957-1963), later becoming an associate professor (1963-1967).

Kearns also established two independent businesses, the engineering firms of Kearns and Law (1963-1976) and Computer Central (1965-1976). Founded with partner Kenneth J. Law, an electrical engineer, Kearns and Law provided industry with consultation, research, design, and development services in the fields of computers, automatic controls and instrumentation. Computer Central manufactured a series of control components such as the Linear Range Comparator, Sign or Equality Binary Comparator, Identity Comparator, Dual Brush V-Scan Encoder Electronics, Gray Code to Binary Code Encoder Electronics, and Digital Difference to Analog Converters. Kearns served as Detroit's Commissioner of Buildings and Safety Engineering (1967-1971), where he acted as an administrator, overseeing professional engineering activities such as building inspections. Kearns moved to Gaithersburg, Maryland in 1971 to become principal investigator for the highway skid resistance program at the National Bureau of Standards, now the National Institute of Standards and Technology (1971-1976).

In 1967, Kearns invented and patented an electronic windshield wiper system with intermittent operation (US 3,351,836). Previous wiper systems were controlled by vacuum tubes. He installed his device on his 1962 Ford Galaxy and met with Ford Motor Company and Chrysler Corporation in 1963 with the goal of manufacturing his idea and being a supplier to the auto industry. Kearns tried to commercialize the wiper through the Tann Corporation. In 1969, Kearns's intermittent windshield wiper was installed on Ford cars without his knowledge. He ultimately filed suit against Ford for patent infringement in 1978 (representing himself as Kearns Associates), seeking $141 million in damages (a figure eventually raised to $325 million). Kearns's purpose in pursuing litigation was not a cash award. Rather, he wanted the rightful ownership. In all, he filed lawsuits against 26 car manufacturers and other companies concerning the same patent (US 3,351,836). In July 1990, a federal jury ruled that Ford had unintentionally infringed on Kearns's patent and awarded him $10.2 million. In June 1992, Kearns was awarded $11 million from Chrysler. Kearns held over 30 patents, with the majority relating to windshield wipers.

Kearns died in 2005. He married Phyllis Hall (1932-2013) in 1953, divorcing in 1989. The couple had six children: Dennis Kearns (b.1954); Timothy Kearns (b.1956); Patrick Kearns (b.1958); Kathleen Corsetty (b. 1961); Maureen Kearns (b. 1964); and Bob Kearns (b. 1967).
Provenance:
Collection donated by the Estate of Robert W. Kearns, through Dennis Kearns and Maureen Kearns, 2016.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research. Some health-related materials in Series 6: National Bureau of Standards are restricted until 2055.
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:
Inventors  Search this
Topic:
Inventions -- 20th century  Search this
Windshield wipers  Search this
Automobiles -- Design and construction  Search this
Genre/Form:
Reports -- 20th century
Trade literature -- 20th century
Patents -- 20th century
Photographs -- 20th century
Drawings -- 20th century
Notebooks -- 20th century
Correspondence -- 20th century
Memorandums -- 20th century
Citation:
Robert W. Kearns Papers, 1963-1992, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.1406
See more items in:
Robert W. Kearns Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep83c37ebc7-5f04-40bc-bd53-98f10a2b4809
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-1406
Online Media:

Women in Industry Photographs and Advertisements

Topic:
Kodak (Brand name)
Extent:
1 Cubic foot (2 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Advertisements
Date:
1890-1979
Summary:
The collection consists of photographs and advertisements related to women working in industry dating from 1890 to 1948.
Scope and Contents:
Series 1 consists of photographs that include images of women in industry along with associated documents. Materials are arranged alphabetically by subject. The photographs date from 1890 to 1981, yet the bulk of the materials are from 1930 to 1948. A portion of the materials are undated. There is a notable shortage of material related to women of color. The photographs depict women working in engineering jobs, operating heavy machinery, working with textiles, and handling different types of technology. There are several types of machines and products featured in the collection including pneumatic drills, gas irons, typewriters, rivet guns, compressed air machines, an arbor press, bending roll machines, and light bulbs. Documents that correspond to the photographs discuss an increase in women taking men's jobs in the 1940s while the men were at war. Consequently, photographs from the 1940s in this collection represent the transition of making machinery more applicable to women and enabling them to do "man-sized" jobs. Many of the 1940's photographs depict women enrolling in engineering training programs and physically working with heavy machinery.

Earlier materials from the early 1900s show women sitting in factories next to lighter equipment such as sewing machines and typewriters. There are a variety of companies displayed in the photographs including B. F. Spinney Co., Computing-Bureau Freight Accounts, Curtis Publishing Company, Curtis-Wright Corporation, Deane Works, Draper Corporation, General Electric Co., Glenn L. Martin Co., Goodyear Aircraft Corp., Osborn Manufacturing Company, and Timken Roller Bearing Co. A portion of the commercial photographs were taken by companies including Commercial Photo Co., Eastman Kodak Company, Mercury MFG. Co., Novelty Photo Co., Science Service, and Underwood and Underwood.

Series 2 contains advertisements related to women in industry. These advertisements date from 1927 to 1946. The materials in this series promote products and jobs targeting women operating machinery such as safety bars, grinding tools, bending roles, gauges, double-seaming machines, and portable package staplers. There are a variety of companies featured in this series including Acme Staple Co., Ashcroft Gauge Division, Buffalo Forge Company, E.W. Bliss Co., The Sheffield Corporation, and Willson Safety Products.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into two series.

Series 1: Photographs, 1890-1948

Series 2: Advertisements, 1927-1946
Historical:
This artificially created collection traces the transition of women's work in industry during the twentieth century. Most of the collection materials have a different provenance, but thirty-two photographs were assembled by Helena E. Wright during her years working as a curator in the Division of Culture and the Arts at the National Museum of American History. Other photographs showing women in industrial sites were added to the collection by the curator Peter Liebhold in the Division of Work and Industry. The photographs and advertisements in the complete collection were arranged to exhibit the evolution of women in the workforce. Women's occupations in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries included work in the clothing industry (i.e. Draper Corporation, B. F. Spinney Co.), factories, and production lines. Despite the low pay, laborious and unsafe working conditions that came with working in these industries, most women felt a sense of empowerment being employed outside the home. Many women welcomed the opportunity to provide an income for their families yet worked long hours in inadequate and dismal settings. During World War I and World War II, men left their industry jobs to serve in the war. In order to serve the war effort, women found more employment opportunities in several types of industries. These included electric companies (i.e. General Electric Co.), aircraft and aerospace engineering businesses (i.e. Glenn L. Martin Co., Goodyear Aircraft Corp.), foundry work (i.e. Osborn Manufacturing Company), steel making (i.e. Timken Roller Bearing Co.), as well as enrollment in engineering training programs (i.e. Curtis-Wright Corporation). These industries provided women with a broader range of employment opportunities, skills, and experiences. Consequently, other companies began creating and marketing products to help improve the lives of women in the workforce. Inventions such as the Willson Saf-t-Bra advertised comfort and protection to women working in various industry occupations.
Related Materials:
Materials in the Archives Center

Warshaw Collection of Business Americana Subject Categories: Women (AC0060)

Rosie the Riveter Health and Safety Records (AC0621)

Jantzen Knitting Mills Collection (AC0233)
Provenance:
Found in collections and assembled by curatorial staff.
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:
Science Service  Search this
Women iron and steel workers  Search this
Women laborers  Search this
Factories -- 20th century  Search this
Textile industry  Search this
Machinery industry  Search this
Electric engineering -- 20th century  Search this
Industrial engineering  Search this
Manufacturing -- 1920-1930  Search this
Commercial photography  Search this
Women employees  Search this
Photographs  Search this
Industry -- U.S.  Search this
Women -- Employment  Search this
Women in technology  Search this
Women in advertising  Search this
World War, 1939-1945  Search this
Genre/Form:
Advertisements -- 20th century
Citation:
Women in Industry Photographs and Advertisements, 1890-1948, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.1446
See more items in:
Women in Industry Photographs and Advertisements
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep875322312-8f6c-4ebd-953a-39fca61ad338
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-1446
Online Media:

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
See more items in:
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
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0018
Online Media:

Modify Your Search







or


Narrow By