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Pratt, Read Corporation Records

Donor:
Nickse, Hugo  Search this
Johnson, Hanford  Search this
Steinway, Henry Ziegler  Search this
Creator:
Comstock, Cheney and Co.  Search this
Pratt, Read and Company  Search this
Extent:
84 Cubic feet (106 boxes, 28 oversize folders)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Motion pictures (visual works)
Financial records
Employee records
Advertisements
Minute books
Sales records
Design drawings
Manufacturing records
Legal documents
Annual reports
Publications
Photographs
Correspondence
Labels
Stock records
Place:
Ivoryton (Conn.)
Date:
1839-1990
Summary:
Records documenting Pratt, Read and Company; its early competitor and later partner, Comstock, Cheney and Company; and a number of predecessor, subsidiary and related companies. Other topics include the late 19th century African ivory trade and Pratt, Read's production of troop-carrying gliders during World War II.
Scope and Contents:
Pratt, Read & Company, located in the Essex area of Connecticut, was once the world's largest producer of ivory products. Beginning with the manufacture of combs, collar buttons, and toothpicks, the company moved on to the production of piano and organ key veneers, and soon dominated the field. Eventually, it began to produce complete piano and organ keyboards and actions, becoming the major supplier to the American piano industry. The records in this collection document Pratt, Read & Company; its early competitor and later partner, Comstock, Cheney & Company; and a number of predecessor, subsidiary, and related companies. Other topics of interest dealt with in this collection include the late nineteenth century African ivory trade and Pratt, Read's production of troop carrying gliders during World War II.
Arrangement:
The Collection is divided into seven series.

Series 1: Predecessor and Miscellaneous Companies, 1839-1870s

Series 2: Comstock, Cheney and Company, 1863-1936

Series 3: Pratt, Read and Company, 1863-1988

Series 4: Gould Aeronautical Division, 1941-1977

Series 5: Subsidiary and Related Companies, 1859-1980

Series 6: Information on Related Companies, 1977-1992

Series 7; Addenda, 1837-2004
Historical:
Pratt, Read & Company is one of the oldest companies in the state of Connecticut. The firm traces its origins to 1798, when an Essex goldsmith and clockmaker named Phineas Pratt invented a circular saw to cut the teeth on ivory combs. In 1809, George Read and his brother in law, Phineas Pratt II, dammed the Deep River in the nearby town of Deep River and constructed a waterwheel to power ivory cutting machinery. Read left the partnership in 1816, and Phineas Pratt II joined with Alfred Worthington to manufacture ivory combs under the name of Pratt Worthington & Company. When Worthington died in 1830, two of Phineas Pratt II's sons, Ulysses and Alexis, took over the business, operating as U & A Pratt. The name was changed in 1844 to Pratt Spencer & Company, when a new partner was added, and changed again in 1850, to Pratt Brothers & Company. In 1856 the company erected a much larger factory in Deep River.

In the meantime, Julius Pratt, another of Phineas Pratt I's sons, had joined with Thomas Howard to set up an ivory comb factory in the town of Meriden. This firm was known as Howard, Pratt & Company. After Howard's death in 1822, it became Julius Pratt & Company. In 1854, the firm began to produce wooden piano keyboards, which then were fitted with keys of ivory. One half interest in this firm was owned by George Read.

When Read left his original partnership with Phineas Pratt II in 1816, he joined with Essex comb maker Ezra Williams to set up a new ivory working factory in Deep River. This new firm was known as Ezra Williams & Company. In 1829, Read became the senior partner and the company's name was changed to George Read & Company. This company later secured a very important contract to supply ivory keys for the first American manufacturer of pianos, Chickering & Sons of Boston.

In 1863, the firms of George Read & Company, Julius Pratt & Company, and Pratt Brothers & Company, were merged to form Pratt, Read & Company. The new company further enlarged its factory in Deep River in 1866. In 1871, the old Julius Pratt & Company factory in Meriden was closed and its operations moved to Deep River. Though this factory was destroyed by fire in 1881, a larger factory was quickly rebuilt and the company was back in business early in 1882.

With the election of George L. Cheney as president in 1892, Pratt, Read & Company began a period of continued expansion. In December of that year the company joined with another Connecticut piano component manufacturer, Comstock, Cheney & Company, to organize a midwestern manufacturing branch, under the name of the Piano & Organ Supply Company. This firm was to serve the territory west of Toledo, Ohio, operating in competition with its parent companies. In 1929 Pratt, Read and Comstock, Cheney combined to buy out the Piano & Organ Supply Company and it was dissolved.

In 1910 Pratt, Read & Company decided to begin the manufacture of piano actions. An independent manufacturer of piano actions, New York based Wasle & Company, and its subsidiary, the Wasle Unique Player Action Company, were acquired that same year. In 1914, Pratt, Read built a second factory solely for the production of player piano actions in Deep River. Wasle & Company was dissolved in 1919 and its production was continued under the Pratt, Read name. The company soon acquired two additional keyboard and action manufacturers: the Sylvester Tower Company of Cambridge, Mass., was purchased, dissolved, and all its equipment was moved to Deep River in 1924; and Strauch Bros. Company of New York was purchased in 1926. The Deep River player action plant operated until 1928, when business declined and production of player piano actions was discontinued in favor of manufacturing small motorboats. This line of business also soon declined and the project was abandoned by 1932.

COMSTOCK, CHENEY & COMPANY. Meanwhile, other manufacturers of ivory products had been at work in the Essex area. Chief among these was the firm of Comstock, Cheney & Company of Ivoryton. The dominant figure in this company was Samuel M. Comstock. He had learned the ivory cutting trade while working in his older brother's Saybrook area ivory cutting shop, known as Joseph A. Comstock & Company. By 1838, Samuel had left his brother's shop and joined with Edwin Griswold to set up Comstock & Griswold Company further west up the Falls River in Centerbrook. In 1848, the company moved its operations to a new factory in the Ivoryton area, where combs, toothpicks, and other ivory products were made. At the same time, the firm's name was changed to S. M. Comstock & Company, reflecting Samuel's sole ownership.

In 1860, Samuel Comstock allied his firm with George A. Cheney to form Comstock, Cheney & Company. Cheney had invested in Comstock's firm and was one of the principals in the important New York based ivory importing firm of Arnold, Cheney & Company. The new firm began production of thin slices of ivory for mounting on wooden piano keys. It also had its own agents buying ivory in Africa, most of which went toward production of piano keys. The company was formally incorporated in 1872 and in 1873 it opened an even larger factory in Ivoryton.

1936 MERGER. On December 31, l936, Pratt, Read & Company of Deep River was consolidated and merged with Comstock, Cheney & Company of Ivoryton. The resulting corporation was titled Pratt, Read & Company, Inc. By l938, all manufacturing operations had been consolidated in Ivoryton and the Deep River factory closed. During World War II, both the Deep River factory and the Ivoryton factory were used to produce CG 4A "Waco" troop carrying gliders for the U.S. Army Air Forces, along with LNE 1 training gliders and the GLOMB experimental plane for the U.S. Navy. Production of piano keyboards and actions was sharply curtailed for the duration of the war, and was slow to resume afterward. In l946 the Deep River factory was sold.

From 1948 to l957, the Ivoryton factory was enlarged and modernized on a large scale. During the Korean War, the company contracted to make helicopter blades for the Kaman Corporation of Bloomfield, Conn., and this partnership lasted for fourteen years. In l958, Pratt, Read transferred all of its piano action manufacturing operations to a newly built plant in Central, S.C. This move was made primarily in order to modernize production facilities at a lower cost than would have been possible through continued renovation of the Ivoryton plant.

With the election of Peter H. Comstock (a great grandson of one of the founders of Comstock, Cheney & Company) as President in 1954, the firm began an ambitious plan of diversification. The Cornwall & Patterson Company of Bridgeport, Conn., manufacturer of piano hardware, was purchased in l957. In 1959, Pratt, Read joined with six British Commonwealth firms to acquire British Piano Actions, Ltd., of Wales. Keyboards, Inc., a Chicago based producer of keyboards for electronic organs, was acquired in 1960. The Tech Art Plastics Company of Morristown, N.J., a custom molder of plastics materials especially for the piano industry, was acquired in 1961. The F. Kelly Company of Derby, Conn., which specialized in the production of small metal parts, was acquired in l964, and operated as a division of Cornwall & Patterson. In l966, Pratt, Read purchased the Allen Rogers Corporation of Laconia, N.H., which produced wooden furniture and piano components.

MERGER WITH VOCALINE COMPANY. In February l968, Pratt, Read & Company, Inc., was merged into the Vocaline Company of America, Inc., of Old Saybrook, Conn. Peter H. Comstock became chairman and chief executive officer of Vocaline Corporation, while remaining president of Pratt, Read. Vocaline was then organized into two major divisions the Vocaline Division and the Pratt, Read Division. The Pratt, Read Division concentrated on the production of piano keys and actions. It operated three subdivisions: the Ivoryton Division (keyboards, wooden and plastic moldings, and unfinished furniture); the Action Division (piano actions); and the Lund Division, formerly Keyboards, Inc., (electronic organ components). Both of the latter divisions operated out of the Central, S.C., plant. The Lund Division was known as the Electronics Division by 1970.

The Vocaline Division produced and sold electric motors, timing devices, and other small electromechanical mechanisms through its Electronics Section and its Bristol Motor and Timer Section. Another subsidiary of the Vocaline Division Altron, Inc., based in Westerly, R.I. produced wire coils. Through its Research and Development Center in Waldboro, Maine, Vocaline conducted antisubmarine warfare research for the U.S. Navy. By 1970, the Vocaline Division had been streamlined into four divisions: the Allen Rogers Corporation (small shaped wood products); Altron, Inc. (wire coils); the Bristol Division, later known as the Bristol Saybrook Company (electric motors and timers); and the Cornwall & Patterson Company (piano hardware and small tools). In addition, research for the Navy had been expanded and combined with other oceanographic research under the control of a subsidiary company, VAST, Inc., with operations in both Maine and the Caribbean.

PRATT READ CORPORATION. In October 1970, the Vocaline Corporation changed its name to the Pratt Read Corporation. This was done partly to increase identity with its oldest traditions and partly to reflect a shift away from the early emphasis on the Vocaline side of the corporation. The new corporation continued to refine its interests under the direction of Peter H. Comstock, who became company president in February 1970. The Tech Arts Plastic Company was sold off in May 1972, although it remained a source of supply for custom molded parts. In 1974 Pratt Read purchased the Atlas Plywood Company of Morrisville, Vt., in order to use its mill and kilns in the preparation of lumber for the Ivoryton factory, whose own facilities were overburdened. This company was operated as a subsidiary of Pratt Read.

By 1976, the Pratt Read Corporation was organized into five operating divisions. The Allen Rogers Corporation produced toys, golf tees, spools, knobs, and other turned and shaped wood products. Altron, Inc., produced bobbins and coils of copper wire. The Bristol Saybrook Company produced small electric motors and timers. The Cornwall & Patterson Company produced piano hardware parts, screwdriver blades, and other small hand tools. Pratt, Read & Company produced wooden components for pianos and other musical instruments. The company's ownership of VAST, Inc., was sold off in March 1976. Later that year, the company acquired Sight Line Corporation, a Freehold, N.J., manufacturer of golf clubs. This subsidiary, operated as the Sounder Sports Division, was sold in May 1979.

In October of 1979, James H. Tucker replaced Peter H. Comstock as president of Pratt Read; Comstock remained chairman of the board and chief executive officer. His nephew, Harwood B. Comstock, became the next president in October 1982. In June 1982, the Ivoryton factory was severely damaged by flooding after two dams burst upstream during a torrential rainstorm. Although the administrative offices were destroyed and the plant filled with several feet of mud and debris, the facility was back in production within two weeks. In August 1982, Pratt Read acquired the Sohmer Piano Company, a 111 year old Long Island based manufacturer of pianos, and in December 1982 Sohmer's production facilities were moved into the Ivoryton factory. By July 1983 Sohmer was producing about six upright pianos a day in its new location.

By the early 1980s, the American piano industry had entered a period of decline and even Peter Comstock's diversification efforts could not keep it out of trouble. A major blow came in 1984 with the loss of a large contract to manufacture keyboards for Mattel Electronics's Intellivision home video system. This was exacerbated by a slump in the piano industry in mid year. The increased import of Japanese and Korean pianos further undercut the American industry, resulting in slowdowns and profit losses for Pratt Read. Attempting to compete on the same basis with this foreign competition, Pratt Read joined with the Baldwin Piano and Organ Company in May 1985 to establish the Pratt Win Corporation. This joint venture resulted in the closing of Pratt Read's Central, S.C., piano action manufacturing plant and the transfer of its operations to a new Baldwin plant in Juarez, Mexico. Pratt Read sold its interest in Pratt Win to Baldwin in October 1986.

Piano sales continued to decline, however, and Pratt Read continued to suffer losses. In March 1986, the company was acquired by Crescent & Company, a corporation controlled by Harwood B. Comstock, president of Pratt, Read & Company. It became a wholly owned subsidiary of Crescent & Company, but retained the name Pratt Read Corporation. In April 1986, the company sold its Sohmer piano subsidiary together with the Ivoryton factory where it was housed; Sohmer & Company continued to produce upright pianos under independent ownership in Ivoryton until December 1988. In December 1986 the Bristol Saybrook Company was sold off. By 1990, the company had sold off all remaining assets except for a sawmill in Vermont and the Cornwall & Patterson Company in Bridgeport, Conn., where the remaining corporate staff relocated.

Sources

Deep River Historical Society, Inc. A History of Pratt Read & Co. 1973.

1899 Souvenir of Essex, Connecticut. Rpt., The Ivoryton Public Library, 1979.

Johnson, Curtiss S. "From Ivory Combs to Carnegie Hall and Today:The History of the Pratt Read Corporation." [Unpublished history in the collection.]

Moore, Ernst D. "History of Pratt, Read & Company." [Unpublished history in the Ernst D. Moore Collection, Archives Center Collection #321.]

Newspaper Clippings in the collection.

Pratt Read Corporation. Annual Reports.

Vocaline Corporation. Annual Report, 1970.
Materials in the Archives Center, National Museum of American History:
Records relating to Pratt, Read and to Comstock, Cheney can be found in a number of other collections, both within the Archives Center and in other repositories. The Wood & Brooks Company Records (Archives Center coll. #457) contain significant information on Pratt, Read's operations and an important record of production statistics gathered by George Wood while he was factory superintendent and taken with him when he set up a rival firm in Buffalo. While the Ernst Moore Collection (Archives Center coll. #321) primarily documents the purchase of ivory in Africa (much of which was ultimately used by Pratt, Read), it also includes a history of Pratt, Read written by Moore while he was employed by them. The Sohmer & Company Records (Archives Center coll. #349) document the piano manufacturing firm that Pratt Read acquired in 1982.
Separated Materials:
"The Pratt Read Corporation also donated a number of objects to the National Museum of American History, Division of Cultural and Community Life and Division of Work and Industry at the same time as their 1988 donation of archival records. Included were combs and letter openers and other examples of products made from ivory; piano components, such as gauge boards, key actions, and keys; and such diverse items as tools used in the factory, World War II employee I.D. badges, and a uniform from the company sponsored basketball team.

"
Provenance:
Donated by Pratt, Read Corporation in 1989. In addition to the papers donated by the company, several individuals donated Pratt, Read materials in their possession.
Restrictions:
Collection open for research 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:
Piano  Search this
Ivory industry  Search this
Piano makers  Search this
Ivory  Search this
Gliders (Aeronautics)  Search this
Genre/Form:
Motion pictures (visual works)
Financial records
Employee records
Advertisements -- 20th century
Minute books
Sales records
Design drawings
Manufacturing Records
Legal documents
Annual reports
Publications
Photographs -- 19th century
Correspondence -- 19th century
Correspondence -- 20th century
Labels
Stock records
Citation:
Pratt, Read Corporation Records, 1839-1990, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0320
See more items in:
Pratt, Read Corporation Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8bf5733a2-e028-45da-afc6-bbc9c4def241
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0320
Online Media:

David Herbert papers

Creator:
Herbert, David, 1920-1995  Search this
Names:
Betty Parsons Gallery  Search this
David Herbert Gallery  Search this
Graham Gallery  Search this
Robert Fraser Gallery  Search this
Sidney Janis Gallery  Search this
Stewart Neill Gallery  Search this
Andrade, Jaime, 1931-  Search this
Berman, Aaron  Search this
Blaszko, Martin, 1920-  Search this
Blum, Irving, 1930-  Search this
Carrington, Leona  Search this
Carsman, Jon, 1944-  Search this
Cotsen, Lloyd E.  Search this
Draper, William F., 1912-  Search this
Feigen, Richard L., 1930-  Search this
Fraser, Robert  Search this
Hoffman, Martin  Search this
Hopps, Walter  Search this
Johnson, Ray, 1927-  Search this
Kelly, Ellsworth, 1923-  Search this
Kline, Franz, 1910-1962  Search this
Lukin, Sven  Search this
McKelvy, Douglas  Search this
Merck, Josephine  Search this
Namuth, Hans  Search this
Negret, Edgar, 1920-2012  Search this
Nevelson, Louise, 1899-1988  Search this
Ossorio, Alfonso, 1916-1990  Search this
Padovano, Anthony  Search this
Ramirez, Eduardo  Search this
Reynal, Jeanne, 1903-  Search this
Smith, Leon Polk, 1906-1996  Search this
Sorel, Paul  Search this
Still, Clyfford, 1904-1980  Search this
Extent:
5.8 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Place:
Greece -- description and travel
Ecuador -- Description and Travel
Puerto Rico -- description and travel
Japan -- Description and Travel
Iwo Jima (Japan)
Date:
circa 1909-1996
bulk 1945-1995
Summary:
The papers of New York gallery owner and art dealer David Herbert measure 5.8 linear feet and date from circa 1909-1996, with the bulk of the material dating from 1945-1995. Herbert's papers document his years working for Betty Parsons Gallery, Sidney Janis Gallery, Graham Gallery, and others; the operation of the David Herbert Gallery from 1959-1962; Herbert's partnerships and agreements with Richard Feigen and others; and his activities as an independent dealer. Records include biographical material, correspondence, notebooks, subject files, artist files, exhibition files, business records, printed material, and photographs.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of New York gallery owner and art dealer David Herbert measure 5.8 linear feet and date from circa 1909-1996, with the bulk of the material dating from 1945-1995. Herbert's papers document his years working for Betty Parsons Gallery, Sidney Janis Gallery, Graham Gallery, and others; the operation of the David Herbert Gallery from 1959-1962; Herbert's partnerships and agreements with Richard Feigen and others; and his activities as an independent dealer. Records include biographical material, correspondence, notebooks, subject files, artist files, exhibition files, business records, printed material, and photographs.

Biographical material includes address books and calendars, educational records, records of Herbert's military service in the United States Naval Construction Battalion in Japan, and resume's charting his career.

Correspondence is with Herbert's parents, friends, business colleagues, and artists. It includes documentation of Herbert's partnership with Richard Feigen, and his cooperative work with Irving Blum and Walter Hopps of Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles, and Robert Fraser in London. Also documented are Herbert's relationship with Jaime Andrade and Andrade's family, and a lawsuit Herbert brought against Aaron Berman relating to the ownership of an Ellsworth Kelly drawing. There are scattered letters and postcards from artists and collectors, including Martin Blaszko, Lloyd Cotsen, Martin Hoffman, Ray Johnson, Josephine Merck, Alfonso Ossorio, Paul Sorel, and Clyfford Still.

Notebooks provide brief notes on Herbert's day-to-day business dealings. Subject files, consisting primarily of printed material, document Herbert's interests in several art world figures, subjects such as ancient art, and travel to locations such as Ecuador, Puerto Rico, and Greece.

Exhibition files include installation shots and catalogs for many of the exhibitions held at the David Herbert Gallery between 1959 and 1962.

Artist files document Herbert's interest in individual artists, such as William Draper, Ellsworth Kelly, Franz Kline, Sven Lukin, Edgar Negret, Louise Nevelson, Anthony Padovano, Eduardo Ramirez, and Jeanne Reynal, through printed material, photographs of artwork, scattered artist letters, and sales documentation.

Business records document the financial details and overall goals of Herbert's various business ventures. There is a sales book for Betty Parsons Gallery and Sidney Janis Gallery; Herbert's appraisal, consignment, commission, sales, and loan records; Herbert's business plans and projections; financial statements from the David Herbert Gallery; sales records for Graham Gallery; and records of Herbert's partnership with Douglas McKelvy.

Printed material includes announcements and catalogs from galleries Herbert worked for or collaborated with, including Graham Gallery, Betty Parsons Gallery, Feigen/Herbert Gallery, Stewart Neill Gallery, and Robert Fraser Gallery. Also found are obituaries and other new clippings of interest to Herbert.

Photographs are of Herbert, family members, and friends and colleagues, including his companion, Jaime Andrade, Leona Carrington, William Draper, Jon Carsman, Hans Namuth, and Leon Polk Smith. Many are color snapshots collected in two photographs albums. Also found are photographs taken in Japan and Iwo Jima in 1945-1946 of street scenes, Naval Construction Battalion facilities, and Herbert's army colleagues and friends.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged as nine series.

Missing Title

Series 1: Biographical Material, 1920-circa 1995 (0.7 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1942-1996 (1 linear foot; Boxes 1-2)

Series 3: Notebooks, circa 1950s-circa 1995 (0.3 linear feet; Box 2)

Series 4: Subject Files, 1950s-1992 (0.4 linear feet; Boxes 2-3)

Series 5: Exhibition Files, 1959-1963 (0.25 linear feet; Box 3)

Series 6: Artist Files, 1950s-1993 (0.75 linear feet; Boxes 3-4)

Series 7: Business Records, 1950s-1992 (0.6 linear feet; Box 4)

Series 8: Printed Material, 1949-circa 1995 (1.4 linear feet; Boxes 5-7)

Series 9: Photographs, circa 1909-circa 1990 (0.4 linear feet; Box 7)
Biographical / Historical:
New York gallery owner and art dealer David Herbert (1920-1995, born David Herbert Schmerer), worked for a number of important galleries in New York, had his own eponymous gallery from 1959-1962, operated as a private dealer, and was in partnership with dealer Richard Feigen from 1962-1964.

Herbert served in the United States Naval Construction Battalion from 1943-1946 and was posted to Japan in 1945-1946. After receiving a BA in art history from Syracuse University in 1951, he worked for Betty Parsons Gallery (1951-1953) and Sidney Janis Gallery (1953-1959), selling the work of contemporary American painters and sculptors, handling publicity, and installing exhibitions.

Herbert forged strong connections with artists and collectors alike, and was instrumental in launching the careers of a number of important artists. One such artist was Ellsworth Kelly, whom he recommended to Parsons, triggering Kelly's New York career. He opened the David Herbert Gallery in 1959, with investment from Douglas McKelvy, promoting the works of artists including Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock, and Louise Nevelson, to leading collectors and museums.

Herbert often worked in cooperation with colleagues Irving Blum and Walter Hobbs in Los Angeles, and Robert Fraser in London. After closing his gallery in 1962, Herbert entered a partnership with dealer Richand Feigen, operating the Feigen/Herbert Gallery from 1962-1964. From 1964-1969 he worked as a private dealer specializing in twentieth century works of art and serving as a consultant to collectors, museums, artists, and corporate interests. From 1969-1975 he was Director and Art Salesman of contemporary and 19th Century American Art at Graham Gallery. Herbert subsequently continued as a private dealer from 1975 until his death.

Herbert traveled extensively, visiting museums, collectors, and galleries in England, France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Hawaii, and Japan. Through Edgar Negret, whom Herbert represented, he met Jaime Andrade, who became his assistant at the Feigen/Herbert Gallery in 1963. In turn Andrade shared with Herbert an interest in pre-Columbian art and contemporary Spanish and Latin America art, hosting multiple visits to his native Ecuador by Herbert and others, including artist William Draper.

Andrade served as executor of Herbert's estate, following Herbert's death in 1995.
Provenance:
The David Herbert papers were given to the Archives of American Art by Jaime Andrade, Herbert's companion, in 1999.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D. C. Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Gallery owners -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Art dealers -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Topic:
Art, Modern -- 20th century -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs
Citation:
David Herbert papers, circa 1909-1996. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.herbdavi
See more items in:
David Herbert papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9be75a48b-8da9-4d68-9952-9de8b2091c80
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-herbdavi
Online Media:

Fellows Gear Shaper Company Records

Creator:
Fellows Gear Shaper Co., Springfield, Vermont  Search this
Regency Savings Bank (Houston, Texas)  Search this
Names:
Bourn & Koch, Inc.  Search this
Colt Manufacturing Company.  Search this
Emhart Corporation.  Search this
Goldman Industrial Group.  Search this
Star-SU, Inc.  Search this
Extent:
31 Cubic feet (62 boxes, 3 map-folders)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Financial records
Minute books
Photographs
Sales records
Topographic maps
Account books
Administrative records
Business records
Date:
1896-1999
bulk 1915-1970
Summary:
The records document primarily the financial aspects of the Fellows Gear Shaper Company and consist of meticulously maintained journals and ledger books. Fellows Gear Shaper Company was a leader and dominant figure in the manufacturing of precision gear production, gear cutting tools, and optical inspection machines in the first half of the 20th century. The company's contribution to the industry enabled the manufacture of gears for textile, automobiles, factory machinery, and other industries.
Scope and Contents:
The bulk of materials deals with the financial aspects of the Fellows Gear Shaper Company and consists of meticulously kept journals and ledger books (Series 2). Of interest are the photographs and architectural plans regarding the construction of the 1969 North Springfield plant (Series 4), as well as the details of the activities of the Fellows Gear Shaper Foundation which awarded scholarship loans to high school students (Series 5).

Series 1, Executive Records, 1896-1993 This series is composed of a variety of materials including: articles of association, articles of incorporation, by-laws, licenses, contracts, agreements, and annual reports. Of particular interest is a 1953 defense study by the company as part of the Industry Defense Study for Measures to Minimize Loss of and Resume Production after a nuclear war, materials from 1963-1971 related to a contract with Colt Manufacturing Company, and two volumes regarding the Emhart Corporation acquisition of Fellows in 1974.

Series 2, Financial Records, 1896-1973

This series of records form the bulk of the collection and are divided into eleven subseries, Subseries 1, Corporate Summary Ledgers, 1896-1960; Subseries 2, Journals, 1903-1962; Subseries 3, General Financial Ledgers, 1918-1963; Subseries 4, Cash Received/Cash Paid Ledgers, 1896-1919; Subseries 5, Cash Received Ledgers, 1920-1954; Subseries 6, Bills Receivable Ledgers, 1910-1962; Subseries 7, Petty Cash Ledgers, 1910-1951; Subseries 8, Monthly Reports, 1922-1941; Subseries 9, Treasurer's Annual Reports, 1898-1960; Subseries 10, Financial Statements, 1963-1968; and Subseries 11, Machine Sales and Finances, 1920-1961.

The materials in this series provide a thorough financial picture of the company from its founding in 1896 to approximately 1960. The journals and ledgers cover such areas as: profits, sales, payroll, marketing, overhead, depreciation, taxes, liabilities, assets, insurance, cash received and paid, petty cash, and machines purchased. Also included are monthly reports, most likely of the general manager, and the treasurer's annual reports.

Series 3, Stock Records, 1896-1974

These records contain notes indicating the company's initial stockholders, the amount of stockholder investments, minutes of stockholder meetings from 1954-1974, notes and correspondence from 1961-1965 that include lists of company employees who did and did not own stock, a list of the dates of regular and special stockholders meetings, and stock certificates.

Series 4, Property Records, 1898-1999

This set of materials covers the real estate and property owned by the company. Such records include: deeds, oversize topographic maps and architectural plans, and insurance appraisals. Of note are the photographs documenting the construction of the 1969 North Springfield, Vermont, plant and its corresponding building plans.

Series 5, Employee Records, 1915-1999

These records are divided into six subseries: General Employee Records, 1915-1987; Fellows Gear Shaper Foundation, 1954-1977; Events, 1948-1970; Employee Newsletters, 1943-1999; Employee reminiscences (Alice Marchand Tier Emerson), 1944 and undated; and Photographs, 1976-1977.

The General Employee Records include materials on wage rates, bonuses, sales incentives, and union contracts. Of interest are the employee cards of those who were killed in action during World War II. These include a chronology of the positions held by the employee, a brief evaluation statement of performance, wage information, and a short obituary. The materials in the Fellows Gear Shaper Foundation subseries contain information about the Foundation's scholarship loan activities. They include such items as the Secretary's report from 1954-1977, documentation of the application process, and a sample student file. The Events subseries covers the Company Veteran's Dinners that celebrated those employees who had been working for the company for over 25 years, both current and retired. There are programs for the dinners from 1948-1970 as well as photographs from the 1967 and 1970 dinners. NOTE: Social Security Numbers and phone numbers were redacted from materials in this series to protect the privacy of individuals. The employee newsletters are fragmented and include Fellows Cutting Stroke, Fellows Pitchline and NewShaper. The employee reminiscence includes a typescript reminiscence by Alice Marchand Tier Emerson a stenographer in the Stenographic Department, and two original letters. The photographs depict employees at work with various pieces of Fellows equipment.

Series 6, Pension Plan and Trust Records, 1923-1985

This series contains materials regarding a pension plan and trust fund created by Fellows Gear Shaper Company for its employees. It consists of examples of trust agreements and declarations, correspondence, payment ledgers, Internal Revenue Service information returns, audited financial statements, and lists of those employees receiving a pension. NOTE: Social Security Numbers were redacted from materials in this series to protect the privacy of individuals.

Series 7, Publications, 1964-1998, undated

The series contains technical publications copyrighted and published by Fellows Gear Shaper Company.

Series 8, Miscellaneous materials, 1942-1987

The series contains a variety of materials, company history, E.R. Fellows Memoriam, citations and awards given to the company, an engineering department organizational chart, lists of patents awarded to E.R. Fellows and other employees of Fellows Gear, press releases, and product literature.
Arrangement:
The collection is divided into eight series.

Series 1, Executive Records, 1896-1993

Series 2, Financial Records, 1896-1973

Subseries 1, Corporate Summary Ledgers, 1896-1960

Subseries 2, Journals, 1903-1962

Subseries 3, General Financial Ledgers, 1918-1963

Subseries 4, Cash Received/Cash Paid Ledgers, 1896-1919

Subseries 5, Cash Received Ledgers, 1920-1954

Subseries 6, Bills Receivable Ledgers, 1910-1962

Subseries 7, Petty Cash Ledgers, 1910-1951

Subseries 8, Monthly Reports, 1922-1941

Subseries 9, Treasurer's Annual Reports, 1898-1960

Subseries 10, Financial Statements, 1963-1968

Subseries 11, Machine Sales and Finances, 1920-1961

Series 3, Stock Records, 1896-1974

Series 4, Property Records, 1898-1999

Series 5, Employee Records, 1915-1999

Subseries 1, General Employee Records, 1915-1987

Subseries 2, Fellows Gear Shaper Foundation, 1954-1977

Subseries 3, Events, 1948-1970

Subseries 4, Newsletters, 1943-1999

Subseries 5, Employee reminiscences (Alice Marchand Tier Emerson), 1944 and undated

Subseries 6, Photographs, 1976-1977

Series 6, Pension Plan And Trust Records, 1923-1985

Series 7, Publications, 1964-1998, undated

Series 8, Miscellaneous materials, 1942-1987
Biographical / Historical:
The Fellows Gear Shaper Company was founded in 1896 by Edwin R. Fellows (1865-1945) in Springfield, Vermont. With only one year of high school education, Fellows was employed as a department store clerk and window dresser before entering the machine tool industry. He got his start in the business after becoming acquainted with James Hartness of the Jones and Lamson Machine Company in 1885. Hartness offered Fellows a job at his company which Fellows eventually accepted, going to work for Hartness in 1889.

While his first few weeks at Jones and Lamson were spent working on a screw machine, Fellows was soon working with Hartness in machine design and Fellows's efforts led to the development of the flat-turret lathe. Immersed in the machine tool industry, Fellows developed an interest in gear-cutting problems. After some time spent at his drafting board, Fellows developed a new principle in gear manufacturing.

His new process was a great improvement upon previous methods of gear cutting. At the time, gears were cut by milling cutters formed to the shape of the desired teeth. A tooth was cut, then a gear blank was indexed and the next tooth was cut at the appropriate distance from the first. To facilitate this, an intermittent indexing mechanism was used, which was prone to slight errors in tooth spacing.

In order to alleviate such problems Fellows invented the Gear Shaper and the Gear Shaper Cutter which was shaped like a gear and was provided with relieved cutting edges. The Gear Shaper utilized the molding-generating principle, the cutter being reciprocated as it rotated in harmony with the gear that was being cut. Since no intermediary devices were used, chances for error were eliminated.

With the encouragement and financial backing of Hartness, Fellows took his idea and started his own company. The first model was the 36-inch Gear Shaper, which when finished was sent to Prentice Brothers at Worcester, Massachusetts; Prentice Brothers became Fellows's first customer. The revolutionary nature of Fellows's concept caused many to shy away from his products, and early troubles in product development added to the difficulty of achieving acceptance. However, slight operating losses in 1898 and 1899 were replaced by profits in subsequent years. In 1899, Fellows was awarded the John Scott Legacy Medal by the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.

Fellows went on to develop a machine to grind the involute profiles of the cutter teeth. With these machines, cutters could be ground to a high degree of accuracy after hardening. The introduction of the cutter with ground involute profiles and the increasing requirements for accuracy necessitated the development of a dependable method of inspection. Since such instruments for the accurate inspection of involute teeth shapes were unknown, Fellows designed and built the Involute Measuring Machine to fill this void.

The coming of the automobile was fortuitous for the machine tool industry. In 1900, Fellows developed a rack shaper, and in 1902 he developed the 24-inch gear shaper, which was principally created to cut automobile gears. The fortunes of the company came to be interwoven with the automobile industry. As early as 1898, one of Fellows' machines went to the Electric Vehicle Company. Automobile companies such as Packard Motor Car Company, Olds Motor Works, Cadillac Motor Car Company, and Buick Motor Company were among the automobile manufacturers counted as Fellows's customers.

The company was divided into two divisions, the Machine Division and the Cutter Division. The Machine Division was responsible for the manufacture of gear shaping machines, gear shaving machines, gear lapping machines, gear measuring equipment and attachments, masters, and other tools required in conjunction with this equipment. The Cutter Division was responsible for the manufacture of gear shaping cutters, shaving tools, master gears, burnishing gears, form ground cutters, rack cutters, cutters for steering sector worms, and other cutting tools.

For the Fellows Gear Shaper Company, the 1920s was a time of growth and product development, and the 1940s heralded the design and production of nine new kinds of machines, including in 1947 a mammoth rotary gear shaper, the 80,000 pound ten-spindle gear shaper. In 1977 Fellows introduced its new series of Hydrostroke machines and in the early 1980s introduced computer numerical control (CNC) machines.

In 1970, the company changed its name to Fellows Corporation. Four years later, Fellows was acquired by the Emhart Corporation and in 1987 Fellows was acquired by Goldman Industrial Group. Goldman filed for bankruptcy in February 2002. In July 2002, Bourn & Koch, Inc., of Rockford, Illinois, and Star-SU, Inc. of Hoffman Estates, Illinois, acquired the gear shaper machine tool manufacturing assets and the gear shaper cutting tool manufacturing assets respectively.

Reference

Broehl, Wayne G. Precision Valley: The Machine Tool Companies of Springfield, Vermont: Jones and Lamson Machine Company, Fellows Gear Shaper Company, Bryant Chucking Grinder Company. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1959.
Provenance:
Regency Savings Bank of Houston, Texas, donated the records to the Archives Center on March 2, 2004.
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 intellectual property rights. Copyright held by the Smithsonian Institution. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Gear industry  Search this
Gear-shaping machines  Search this
Machine-tool industry  Search this
Genre/Form:
Financial records
Minute books
Photographs -- 20th century
Sales records
Topographic maps
Account books
Administrative records
Business records -- 19th century
Business records -- 20th century
Citation:
Fellows Gear Shaper Records, 1896-1970s, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0856
See more items in:
Fellows Gear Shaper Company Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep881f25e93-6e04-4a64-95b5-946169205c70
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0856
Online Media:

Joseph F. McCrindle papers

Creator:
McCrindle, Joseph F.  Search this
Names:
Henfield Foundation  Search this
Joseph F. McCrindle Foundation  Search this
Benedict, Pinckney, 1964-  Search this
DuBourg, Antoine  Search this
Feder, Edith Mosler  Search this
Feder, Joseph Fuller  Search this
Levey, Michael  Search this
Lowe, John  Search this
Moffett, Odette Feder  Search this
Sewell, Brian  Search this
Extent:
5.3 Linear feet
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Blueprints
Photographs
Date:
1877-2013
Summary:
The papers of New York art collector and philanthropist, Joseph F. McCrindle, measure 5.3 linear feet and date from 1877-2013. The collection documents McCrindle's art collecting, art donations, philanthropy, family affairs, and personal estate. Found are extensive art inventories, sales receipts, gift and loan documentation, and photographs of artwork. The papers also include Joseph McCrindle's estate records and wills, family papers, records from the Joseph F. McCrindle Foundation, correspondence with museums and galleries, and photographs of McCrindle and family members.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of New York art collector and philanthropist, Joseph F. McCrindle, measure 5.3 linear feet and date from 1877-2013. The collection documents McCrindle's art collecting, art donations, philanthropy, family affairs, and personal estate. Found are extensive art inventories, sales receipts, gift and loan documentation, and photographs of artwork. The papers also include Joseph McCrindle's estate records and wills, family papers, records from the Joseph F. McCrindle Foundation, correspondence with museums and galleries, and photographs of McCrindle and family members.

Biographical and family materials include McCrindle's obituary, copies of printed programs from his memorial service, and legal documents dealing with his will. There are papers dealing with his grandparents, Joseph Fuller Feder and Edith Mosler Feder, his mother, Odette Feder Moffett, and blueprints and paperwork for his grandfather's yacht, the M.Y. Kihna.

Materials from the Joseph F. McCrindle Foundation include the certificate of incorporation for the Henfield Foundation, change of name documentation to rename it the Joseph F. McCrindle Foundation, by-laws for the organization, waiver notices for special called meetings, minutes for annual and special meetings, financial statements, and gift lists. McCrindle corresponded heavily with various museums and galleries. Also found are letters from family, friends, and colleagues, such as Michael Levey, Brian Sewell, and Pinckney Benedict. Legal correspondence concerns McCrindle's estate. Sympathy and condolences are addressed to John Rowe on the occasion of Joseph McCrindle's death.

Personal business records concern McCrindle's art collection, sales, bequests, and his estate. The art collection is documented in extensive art inventories and lists, most of which is found in two large dismantled notebooks. Sales receipts are also found for McCrindles purchases as early as 1942. There are artwork appraisals, and documentation of McCrindle's gifts and loans of artwork to museums and galleries. There are early receipts and invoices for rare books, decorative items, antiques, and artwork purchases by Joseph and Edith Feder, McCrindle's grandparents.

Printed material includes a copy of the text, Old Master Drawings from the Collection of Joseph F. McCrindle, donor reports, exhibition catalogs, clippings, assorted bulletins and newsletters, and programs from live performances.

Loose photographs are of Joseph McCrindle, from early childhood through adulthood. There are also photographs of his family, including his grandparents, Joseph and Edith Feder, his mother, Odette Feder Moffett, and his half brother, Antoine DuBourg. There are photo albums containing images of McCrindle as a child; of his mother as a child; family and travel photographs; and photographs taken during cruises on the family yacht, M.Y. Kihna. Three of the albums are dedicated to Kihna travels.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into six series:

Missing Title

Series 1: Biographical and Family Material, 1913-2008 (0.5 linear feet; Box 1, OV 9)

Series 2: Correspondence, 1946-2012 (0.3 linear feet; Box 1)

Series 3: Personal Business Records, circa 1919-2010 (2.0 linear feet; Box 1-3)

Series 4: Joseph F. McCrindle Foundation Records, 1958-2012 (0.3 linear feet; Box 3)

Series 5: Printed Material, 1899-2013 (0.4 linear feet; Box 4)

Series 6: Photographic Material, 1877-2006 (1.8 linear feet; Box 4-6)
Biographical / Historical:
Lifelong resident of New York City, Joseph Feder McCrindle (1923-2008) was a collector, art patron, publisher, and philanthropist. He founded the Transatlantic Review and The Henfield Foundation.

Born to John Ronald McCrindle and Odette Feder McCrindle on March 27, 1923, Joseph McCrindle was exposed to art appreciation at an early age. After his parents were divorced in 1924 and his mother remarried in 1928, he was raised primarily by his grandparents, Joseph F. Feder and Edith Mosler Feder. Summers were spent abroad in Europe, courtesy of the family yacht, where he developed his knowledge of art history and studied foreign languages.

McCrindle attended the St. Paul's School in Manhattan, followed by Harvard University, graduating in 1944. During World War II, McCrindle served with the Office of Strategic Services in London, where he attained the rank of first lieutenant. He went on to receive a law degree from Yale University in 1948.

After working briefly in the publishing world, McCrindle became a literary agent. In 1959, he started the Transatlantic Review, a London-based literary journal. He remained in place as editor and publisher until the company closed in 1977.

The Henfield Foundation, now known as the Joseph F. McCrindle Foundation, was established by McCrindle in 1958 to provide grants to organizations focused on the development of art, music, and social justice.

Joseph McCrindle was a notable art collector and donated and loaned many works of art to museums and galleries. McCrindle amassed 2,500 old master drawings in his lifetime, in addition to Italian baroque paintings, 19th-century drawings, British artwork, and more . Some examples of gifts and loans documented in the McCrindle papers include an extended a loan of John Singer Sargent's Landscape With Two Women in Foreground to the Yale Center for British Art in 1982, Salvator Rosa's The Torment of Tityus to the Museum and Art Gallery of Stanford University in 1992, and Luca Giordano's Saint Barnabas to the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco in 2002.

Joseph McCrindle died on July 11, 2008. His collection was bequeathed to a number of institutions across the nation, such as the Brooklyn Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Related Materials:
The bulk of Joseph F. McCrindle's papers are housed at Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
Provenance:
The Joseph F. McCrindle papers were donated in 2012-2013 by Joseph F. McCrindle via John Rowe, president and CEO of the Joseph F. McCrindle Foundation.
Restrictions:
Use of original papers requires an appointment.
Rights:
The Archives of American Art makes its archival collections available for non-commercial, educational and personal use unless restricted by copyright and/or donor restrictions, including but not limited to access and publication restrictions. AAA makes no representations concerning such rights and restrictions and it is the user's responsibility to determine whether rights or restrictions exist and to obtain any necessary permission to access, use, reproduce and publish the collections. Please refer to the Smithsonian's Terms of Use for additional information.
Occupation:
Philanthropists -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Topic:
Art -- Collectors and collecting -- New York (State) -- New York  Search this
Genre/Form:
Blueprints
Photographs
Citation:
Joseph F. McCrindle Papers, 1877-2013. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
AAA.mccrjose
See more items in:
Joseph F. McCrindle papers
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9ee09b503-49f9-4400-bff7-f07017006772
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-mccrjose
Online Media:

Swatara Railroad Papers

Author:
Swatara Railroad Company  Search this
Donaldson, William  Search this
Swatara and Good Spring Railroad  Search this
Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Agriculture  Search this
Names:
Good Spring Railroad  Search this
Extent:
1 Cubic foot (3 vertical boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Financial statements
Receipts
Correspondence
Place:
Pennsylvania -- 19th century
Date:
1805-1894.
Scope and Contents:
Documents relating to the business of the Swatara Railroad Company of Danville, Pennsylvania and particularly of its president, "Judge" William Donaldson. Includes receipts, bills, contracts, operating statistics, financial statements and correspondence, filed chronologically by year.
Biographical / Historical:
The Swatara and Good Spring Railroad was incorporated in 1831 with Judge William Donaldson as president. Renamed the Swatara Railroad in 1841, it was one of several lines connecting the First Pennsylvania anthracite coal field via waterways to the East Coast. Until 1848 it was powered by horses and was extended and rebuilt periodically. In 1863, Donaldson sold his interest in the Swatara to the Philadelphia & Reading Co., which renamed it the Good Spring Railroad.
Provenance:
Immediate source of acquisition unknown.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research use.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Coal mines and mining -- 19th century -- Pennsylvania  Search this
Railroads -- 19th century -- Pennsylvania  Search this
Anthracite coal industry -- 19th century -- Pennsylvania  Search this
Genre/Form:
Financial statements -- 19th century
Receipts -- 19th century
Correspondence -- 19th century
Citation:
Swatara Railroad Papers, dates, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0272
See more items in:
Swatara Railroad Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep86c1015d7-f9b0-41f2-b431-b8a64b8dcc14
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0272
Online Media:

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