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D. Ward King Road Grader Collection

Creator:
King, D. Ward  Search this
Extent:
0.75 Cubic feet ( 2 boxes, 1 map-folder)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Articles
Writings
Blueprints
Photographs
Photograph albums
Reprints
Poems
Scrapbooks
Letters (correspondence)
Date:
1902-2005
Summary:
Photographs, publications and correspondence related to D. Ward King's invention the King Road Drag, or the Split-Oak drag, which improved rural travel in the early 20th century by introducing a simple design and low-effort system for grading poor-quality roads. The King Road Drag was promoted heavily across the United States and Canada via the "Good Roads Campaign" originally sponsored by the railroad companies in the early decades of the twentieth century.
Scope and Contents:
This collection contains photographs, correspondence and articles documenting the road drag that D. Ward King invented to grade, drain water from, and improve the condition of rural roads in the early 20th century. Included are photographs of King, his family, the road drag, and the conditions of roads before and after treatment; a scrapbook containing letters and photographs; a blueprint of the road drag; as well as articles and reprints from various publications praising King's invention.

This collection would be of interest to researchers of the Good Roads movement, rural life and development in the early 20th century, and agricultural invention.
Arrangement:
This collection is arranged into three (3) series.

Series 1: Correspondence, 1907; 1909

Series 2: Publications, 1903; 1907-1917; 1999

Series 3: Photographs, circa 1905-1915; 1908-1910; 1919-1920
Biographical / Historical:
Born and educated in Springfield Ohio, David Ward King (1857-1920), who was known as D. Ward King, moved to rural Maitland, Missouri after his marriage in 1881 and began life as a farmer. In 1896, he demonstrated the use of his simple invention, dubbed the "King Road Drag" or the split-oak drag, which consisted of two split logs attached by crossbeams and hitched with a loop of chain to horses, to be dragged along a stretch of rutted muddy road until it was smooth. His rudimentary road grader had the effect not only of flattening and compacting muddy soil, but creating a crest in the center of the road, sloping down at each side, so that the next rain would run off the packed surface into the ditch. This basic scheme had a revolutionary effect on rural life--farmers were often mired in mud on the roads to their fields or into town, their most powerful draft horses unable to contend with wagon wheels sunken into deep ruts after heavy rains. Use of King's drag soon made their roads not only passable, but faster and safer to travel, which saved time and money for all in the community.

In 1903, King was employed by the Chicago and North Western Transportation Co. to promote his product across the country as part of their "Good Roads Campaign," giving lectures and demonstrations. King patented the King Road Drag (US Patent 884,497 and US Patent 1,102,671) in 1908 and later improved it in 1914. The United States Patent Office called his invention a "Road Grader," but King referred to it as a "split log drag," the "King Road Drag,"

Although King patented his invention, the simple design made it difficult to enforce patent rights, so farmers were encouraged to build and make use of their own versions of the road drag. Even after the railroads withdrew their support (the road drag's success had the effect of sending more potential passengers on the roads with their bicycles and cars, rather than riding the train), King made a decent living for years on the lecture circuit, presenting in 46 of the 48 then- existing states and Canada. His midwestern education made him an eloquent, dynamic speaker, and his talks were often sold out. The invention of the road drag and its almost evangelical use across the country has been credited for increased automobile use in the early part of the century, as well as the advent of parcel post delivery and mail-order catalogue supply to rural areas.
Provenance:
Collection donated by Helene W. King and Amy Burbank King in 2014.
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:
Roads -- Design and construction  Search this
Road machinery  Search this
Road scrapers  Search this
Roads  Search this
Roads -- Accessories  Search this
Graders (Earthmoving machinery)  Search this
Inventors -- 20th century -- United States  Search this
Inventions  Search this
Road drainage  Search this
Genre/Form:
Articles -- 20th century
Writings
Blueprints -- 20th century
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- 1900-1950
Photograph albums -- 20th century
Reprints
Poems
Scrapbooks -- 20th century
Letters (correspondence) -- 20th century.
Citation:
D. Ward King Road Grader Collection, 1903-2000, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.1332
See more items in:
D. Ward King Road Grader Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8c96af71f-d47b-4e1b-a06b-5bb3f2568859
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-1332
Online Media:

[Trade catalogs on excavating machinery : excavators (drainage ditch, sewer, trench), graders, wagon loaders, mixers (concrete, asphalt), pavers (special, street, cube, drum), pumps (steam, vacuum), terracers, ditching machines, rock crushers, rock-drills, dumping and mining cars, plows, scrapers (buck, drag, wheel), carts, rollers, pile drivers ... ]

Author:
F.C. Austin Company  Search this
Smithsonian Libraries American History Trade Literature Collection DSI  Search this
Physical description:
<9> v. : ill
Type:
Catalogs
Trade catalogs
Date:
1890
[1890]-
Topic:
Excavating machinery  Search this
Graders (Earthmoving machinery)  Search this
Trenching machinery  Search this
Mixing machinery  Search this
Rock-drills  Search this
Call number:
053546
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_705484

[Trade catalogs on road construction machinery : graders (elevating, leaning wheel, motor), scarifiers, moldboard extensions, road maintainers, pavers, grader blades, plows (road, rooter, snow), scrapers (drag, hauling, rotary, wheeled), dumping wagons, dump trailers, terracers ... ]

Author:
J.D. Adams Company (Indiana)  Search this
Smithsonian Libraries American History Trade Literature Collection DSI  Search this
Physical description:
<79> v. : ill. (some col.)
Type:
Catalogs
Trade catalogs
Date:
1917
[1917?]-
Topic:
Road construction equipment industry  Search this
Graders (Earthmoving machinery)  Search this
Plows  Search this
Scrapers (Earthmoving machinery)  Search this
Call number:
053901
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_718839

[Trade catalogs on Mayfield garden machinery and equipment (lawnmowers, riding mowers, motorized scythes and hoes), graders, trenching machines, motorized hoes ... ]

Author:
John Allen & Sons  Search this
Smithsonian Libraries American History Trade Literature Collection DSI  Search this
Physical description:
<15> v. : ill. (some col.)
Type:
Catalogs
Trade catalogs
Date:
1966
1966-
Topic:
Agricultural implements  Search this
Lawn mowers  Search this
Scythes  Search this
Graders (Earthmoving machinery)  Search this
Trenching machinery  Search this
Call number:
052061
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_677113

[Trade catalogs on finish graders, concrete road finishers, and wagon graders for road building]

Author:
A.W. French & Company  Search this
Smithsonian Libraries American History Trade Literature Collection DSI  Search this
Physical description:
<1> v. : ill
Type:
Catalogs
Trade catalogs
Date:
1930
[1930?]-
Topic:
Graders (Earthmoving machinery)  Search this
Road machinery  Search this
Ord (Brand name)  Search this
Nu-method (Brand name)  Search this
Ball (Brand name)  Search this
Call number:
48266
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_475012

[Trade catalogs on one man power graders with adjustable worm gear assembly, circle and A-frame assembly, and high carbon ground and polished mouldboard]

Author:
Wehr Company  Search this
Smithsonian Libraries American History Trade Literature Collection DSI  Search this
Physical description:
<1> v. : ill
Type:
Catalogs
Trade catalogs
Date:
1927
[1927?]-
Topic:
Graders (Earthmoving machinery)  Search this
Graders (Earthmoving machinery)--Equipment and supplies--Catalogs  Search this
Wehr (Brand name)  Search this
Call number:
48454
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_481507

Allis-Chalmers BD-2 motor grader

Author:
Allis-Chalmers Mfg. Co Tractor Division  Search this
Type:
Books
Trade catalogs
Date:
1950
Ca1950
Topic:
Graders (Earthmoving machinery)  Search this
Call number:
40694
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_305511

Allis-Chalmers AD-3 motor grader

Author:
Allis-Chalmers Mfg. Co Tractor Division  Search this
Type:
Books
Trade catalogs
Date:
1950
Ca1950
Topic:
Graders (Earthmoving machinery)  Search this
Call number:
40705
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_305753

Allis-Chalmers BD-3 motor grader

Author:
Allis-Chalmers Mfg. Co Tractor Division  Search this
Type:
Books
Trade catalogs
Date:
1950
Ca1950
Topic:
Graders (Earthmoving machinery)  Search this
Call number:
40706
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_305754

Allis-Chalmers AD-4 motor grader

Author:
Allis-Chalmers Mfg. Co Tractor Division  Search this
Type:
Books
Trade catalogs
Date:
1950
Ca1950
Topic:
Graders (Earthmoving machinery)  Search this
Call number:
40707
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_305755

Allis-Chalmers D motor grader

Author:
Allis-Chalmers Mfg. Co Tractor Division  Search this
Type:
Books
Trade catalogs
Date:
1950
Ca1950
Topic:
Graders (Earthmoving machinery)  Search this
Call number:
40708
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_305756

Allis-Chalmers M70 motor grader

Author:
Allis-Chalmers Mfg. Co Construction Machinery Div  Search this
Type:
Books
Trade catalogs
Date:
Nd
Topic:
Graders (Earthmoving machinery)  Search this
Call number:
43578
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_327459

Attachments for your Caterpillar motor grader Form no. 117

Author:
Caterpillar Tractor Company  Search this
Type:
Books
Trade catalogs
Date:
1953
Topic:
Graders (Earthmoving machinery)  Search this
Call number:
23998
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_227322

Bidding the road job with Caterpillar equipment Form 12878

Author:
Caterpillar Tractor Company  Search this
Type:
Books
Trade catalogs
Date:
1940
Ca1940
Topic:
Graders (Earthmoving machinery)  Search this
Call number:
23999
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_227323

Huber superior motor graders

Author:
Huber Mfg. Co  Search this
Type:
Books
Trade catalogs
Date:
1940
Ca1940
Topic:
Graders (Earthmoving machinery)  Search this
Call number:
24287
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_227889

There's a difference in motor graders

Author:
Caterpillar Tractor Company  Search this
Type:
Books
Trade catalogs
Date:
1935
Topic:
Graders (Earthmoving machinery)  Search this
Call number:
29417
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_261883

Cleveland DRM Co. D-640 motor grader

Author:
Detroit Engineering & Machine Co Cleveland Equipment Division  Search this
Type:
Books
Trade catalogs
Date:
Nd
Topic:
Graders (Earthmoving machinery)  Search this
Call number:
29218
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_262728

Cleveland DRM Co. motor graders

Author:
Cleveland Equipment Corp  Search this
Type:
Books
Trade catalogs
Date:
1965
Topic:
Graders (Earthmoving machinery)  Search this
Call number:
29216
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_264805

Caterpillar motor graders Form 717-30822-D406

Author:
Caterpillar Tractor Company  Search this
Type:
Books
Trade catalogs
Date:
Nd
Topic:
Graders (Earthmoving machinery)  Search this
Call number:
30599
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_269420

Austin contractor's special elevating graders Bulletin 1335

Author:
Austin-Western Road Machinery Co  Search this
Type:
Books
Trade catalogs
Date:
1934
Topic:
Graders (Earthmoving machinery)  Search this
Call number:
31602
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_270974

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