Collection documents the professional career and business interests of inventor Serge A. Scherbatskoy, who specialized in petroleum geophysics. Papers include laboratory notebooks, license agreements, correspondence, blue line prints, patent litigation files, newspaper clippings, reference files, patents, promotional literature, and audio-visual materials.
Scope and Contents:
The Scherbatskoy papers provide insight into the relationship between inventors and the United States oil industry between the 1930s and 1990s, the evolution of the history of applied geophysics, and the development of technological innovation in oil prospecting, specifically applied and geophysics. One of the strengths of the collection is the patents Scherbatskoy pursued, renewed, or impeded. As sole proprietor of his own company, Geophysical Measurements Corp., Scherbatskoy meticulously constructed an international patenting program which made him a successful player among the giants of the oil industry. Another highlight of the collection is Scherbatskoy's fifteen laboratory notebooks that include his well logging work notes and drawings. Legal files illustrating litigation over the infringement of Scherbatskoy's patents are also found in the collection. The papers demonstrate how the oil prospecting industry worked from scientific, commercial and legal perspectives. The bulk of the papers are arranged chronologically to reflect the timeline of Scherbatskoy's career. Due to the limited number of personal materials, Scherbatskoy's personal papers are placed at the end of the series list.
Series 1, World War II Work, 1935-2002, is divided into three subseries and includes information on Scherbatskoy's relationship with physicists Bruno Pontecorvo (1913-1993) and Jacob Neufeld (1906-2000). Neufeld and Scherbatskoy worked on the application of nuclear physics to geophysical prospecting. Neufeld would later join the staff of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Materials include a file about Pontecorvo, Neufeld's laboratory notebook, and some correspondence between Neufeld and Scherbatskoy. This series also includes materials on Scherbatskoy's well logging projects during and after World War II.
Series 2, Invention Laboratory Journals and Drawings, 1958-1992, is further divided into two subseries and includes fifteen laboratory journals and a folder of drawings related to Scherbatskoy's well logging work. The journals are arranged numerically by journal number. In some instances, journal numbers repeat. Journals are paginated and include drawings, tipped-in graphs and charts, and notes relating to Scherbatskoy's well logging work. Some of the notebooks include pages signed by a witness, which Scherbatskoy could use as evidence to prove his ownership of a particular well logging invention idea.
Series 3, Radio Corporation of America (RCA), 1946, 1948, is comprised of one folder with a license agreement between Scherbatskoy and Radio Corporation of America for magnetic recording systems.
Series 4, Canadian Geophysical Measurements Corporation (GMC), 1957-2002, is divided into three subseries and provides information on Scherbatskoy's company Canadian Geophysical Measurements Corporation. Materials include license agreements, correspondence, and Canadian Geophysical Measurements vs. Computalog Gearhart, Ltd litigation files.
Series 5, ARPS Corporation (Jan J. Arps), 1960-1995, includes information on Arps Corporation, organized by Scherbatskoy, Jacob Neufeld, and Jan J. Arps in Dallas, TX to develop and practice measurement while drilling. The Arps Corporation materials are comprised of administrative and financial records, business correspondence, contracts of consultation, patents, license agreements, and Scherbatskoy's stock information.
Series 6, Gearhart-Owen Industries (GOI) (Gearhart Industries, Inc., (GII)), 1961-1996, is divided into seven subseries and consists of records generated during Scherbatskoy's measurement while drilling (MWD™) work with Gearhart-Owen Industries, Inc. One of the largest series in the collection, the Gearhart-Owen materials include license agreements, correspondence, litigation files, measurement while drilling reports and blue line prints of measurement while drilling equipment, signal extraction measurement while drilling study reports, reference materials, and United States, United Kingdom, and Canadian patent assignments between Scherbatskoy, Gearhart-Owen, and the Scherbatskoy Family Trust. Included in the litigation subseries is the Scherbatskoy Family Trust vs. Gearhart Industries, Inc., case. The Scherbatskoy Family Trust in 1975 sued for royalty payments due Scherbatskoy under the Scherbatskoy Gearhart-Owen Agreement on nuclear well logging technology and measurement while drilling. The case was settled in the late 1980s, and Gearhart Industries, Inc., paid royalties to the Scherbatskoy Family Trust. Gearhart materials are also present in Series 7, 8 and 9.
Series 7, Halliburton Company, 1978-1999, is divided into four subseries and includes license agreements, lawsuits and patent infringements, patents, and company acquisitions. This series documents Scherbatskoy's relationship with the Halliburton Company pre-and post-Halliburton's acquisition of Gearhart Industries in the 1980s. Halliburton materials are also in Series 8 and 10.
Series 8, Other Professional Work, 1964-1999, is divided into twelve subseries: McCullough Tool Company, Exploration Logging, Inc., Eastman Whipstock, Schlumberger, Ltd., Sperry-Sun Well Surveying Company, Christensen, Inc., Gunn and Kuffner (attorneys), NL Industries, Inc., Baker Oil Tools, Inc., AMF Scientific Drilling International, Inc., Geolink (UK) Ltd., Technolink (Cyprus), Ltd., and Computalog Gearhart, Ltd. In addition to providing information on oil prospecting companies that Scherbatskoy consulted with during his career, materials also include correspondence between Scherbatskoy and attorneys Gunn and Kuffner relating to Scherbatskoy's well logging patent rights.
Series 9, Well Logging Research Materials, 1937-2002, includes correspondence, papers, reports, promotional literature, and general research files relating to Scherbatskoy's well logging research.
Series 10, Licensing Agreements, 1961-1989, contains four folders documenting the nuclear well logging agreement between oil prospecting companies such as Gearhart Owen, Halliburton, Geophysical Measurements, Inc., and Welex Jet Services. Both Marvin Gearhart and Harold Owen of Gearhart-Owen had been employees of Welex before founding Gearhart-Owen Industries.
Series 11, Patents, 1937-1998, includes copies of patents issued to, among others, Scherbatskoy, Robert E. Fearon (inventor), James Upchurch (inventor), John Westlake (inventor), Mobil Oil Corp and Exxon. Materials also include patent applications, patent protests, patent annuities, and correspondence with the United States Patent Trademark Organization and the German Trademark Office.
Series 12, Personal Materials, 1925-1983, includes materials on Scherbatskoy's immigration to the United States, school diplomas, and memorial book. Visual materials include original photographs, and color copies of original photographs of Scherbatskoy as an adult, his family, and his inventions. Also included is a 1944 submarine training 16mm reel-to-reel film and an audio cassette tape of Scherbatskoy discussing his World War II work with his daughter Mary Scherbatskoy.
Collection arranged into twelve series.
Series 1, World War II Work, 1935-2002
Subseries 1, Relationship with Bruno Pontecorvo, 1940-2002
Subseries 2, Relationship with Jacob Neufeld, 1935-1954
Subseries 3, Scherbatskoy Well Logging Project, 1940-1951
Series 2, Invention Journals and Drawings, 1958-1992
Subseries 2, John E. Westlake (Inventor) Patents, 1972-1996
Subseries 3, James M. Upchurch (Inventor) Patents, 1990-1998
Subseries 4, Other, 1943-1997
Series 12, Personal Materials, 1925-1983
Subseries 1, Personal Papers, 1925-1966
Subseries 2, Photographs, circa 1950s, undated
Subseries 3, Audio Visual Materials, 1944, 1983
Biographical / Historical:
Serge Alexander Scherbatskoy (1908-2002), a petroleum geophysical engineer, held more than 200 patents worldwide in petroleum exploration. Scherbatskoy was born July 18, 1908, in Buyuk Dere, Turkey, a suburb of Constantinople where his father, Alexander Ippolitovich Scherbatskoy, was Third Secretary to the Russian Embassy. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Alexander Ippolitovich planned to accept a post in the Kerensky government. When that fell, he joined the League of Nations offices in Berlin. Later, he moved the family to Paris where he was employed by Yokohama Specie Bank. Young Serge completed his education at the Sorbonne, earning a degree in physics in 1926.
In 1929, only months before the stock market crash, Scherbatskoy immigrated to the United States. He worked for Bell Labs in New York City from 1929 to 1932. While there, Scherbatskoy worked on the Type C Carrier telephone system, assisted in the Reproduction of Music in Auditory Perspective (the first Hi Fi) and invented an automatic volume control using copper oxide semiconductors, for which the patent was denied. About this time, he met Mary Ellen Dunham; they married in 1938 and had four children: Mary, Serge, Timothy, and Jonathan.
After being laid off from Bell Labs in 1932, Scherbatskoy held a number of odd jobs. He organized the "Bureau of Radio Engineering" to repair radios house-to-house. In 1933, he went to the University of Pennsylvania under a grant from the Works Progress Administration (later Work Projects Administration; WPA) and assisted with developing a "sound prism" (i.e., spectrometer). He worked for PHILCO Radio and Television Corporation from 1933 to 1934 where he developed a "sweeping frequency" oscillator for testing radios. About 1936, Scherbatskoy headed west to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and joined Seismograph Services Corporation. While at Seismograph, he developed the "Expander" and the "Automatic Signal Control" for use in seismographic exploration.
Scherbatskoy left Seismograph Corp. and, with Bill Green and Jerry Westby, started Well Surveys Incorporated in 1937 to develop his idea of nuclear logging of cased wells. In nuclear logging, logs are obtained by using radiation sources in the logging tool. Well Surveys was one of the first American companies that applied nuclear physics to oil prospecting. Standard Oil of New York financed the project, but various parties could not agree and they dissolved the Well Surveys Incorporated.
According to an audiotaped interview conducted by Scherbatskoy's daughter Mary, during World War II Serge Scherbatskoy worked for the U.S. Navy as an independent prime contractor to develop the lethal probability integrator (aircraft gunner training simulator) and other projects. Scherbatskoy also was involved tangentially with the Manhattan Project. As part of the Project, Scherbatskoy was recruited by Gilbert LaBine (1890-1977), a Canadian prospector who discovered radium and uranium deposits at Port Radium, Northwest Territories in 1930. Known as the father of Canada's uranium industry, LaBine was president of Eldorado Mining and Refining Limited from its start in the late 1920s to 1947. Scherbatskoy developed a portable radiation detector and headed a team pioneering this form of uranium exploration near Great Bear Lake, Canada, during 1944, locating deposits used in atomic weapons production.
In 1948, Scherbatskoy formed Geophysical Measurements Corporation (GMC) in Tulsa, Oklahoma. During this time, Scherbatskoy worked on the development of well logging technology. "Well logging is the process of exploring systematically the entire length of a drill hole by means of an instrument capable of measuring physical factors associated with the rocks traversed and producing a graph."1 In December 1960, Scherbatskoy, Jan J. Arps (physicist), and Jacob Neufeld (physicist) joined together with Reinholdt & Gardner (a brokerage firm) to form a limited partnership named Arps Corp. to assign, sell and license patents. The purpose was to lease to the oil industry, equipment utilizing the patented Arps process for continuous telemetering to the earth's surface of measurements made at the bottom of a borehole while drilling.
In 1964, GMC conducted a stock swap with McCullough Tool which then went bankrupt in 1968. During the 1970s, Scherbatskoy's activities included consulting with Jacob Neufeld of Oak Ridge National Laboratories. In 1973 he began a relationship with Marvin Gearhart of Gearhart-Owen Industries of Dallas, Texas. Gearhart-Owen was an instrument and oil services firm originally founded by Marvin Gearhart and Harold Owen in 1955. In 1980, Marvin Gearhart changed the name from Gearhart -Owen to Gearhart Industries, Inc., "The GO Company." Scherbatskoy was named Director of Special Projects and continued his own patent program which developed "Measurement While Drilling" and directional drilling patents.
"Measurement While Drilling" (MWD) refers to measurements acquired down hole while drilling that specifically describe directional surveying and drilling-related measurements. "Logging While Drilling" (LWD) refers to petrophysical measurements, similar to open hole wireline logs, acquired while drilling. Wireline logs are a cabling technology used by operators of oil and gas wells to lower equipment into the well. Directional drilling is the science of drilling non-vertical wells. These systems—MWD and LWD—are based on mud telemetry which is the transmission of encoded data through a drilling rig's drilling mud system using rapid fluctuations in the pressure of a closed loop circulating system.
When Gearhart-Owen went bankrupt in 1986, it was acquired by Halliburton. Scherbatskoy worked at Gearhart-Owen until 1988, when he opened his own office in Fort Worth developing Measurement While Drilling patents. Scherbatskoy died on November 25, 2002 in Fort Worth, Texas.
Oil and Gas Journal, February 22, 1940, p. 62.
The Scherbatskoy Papers complement the Philip Bishop Collection documenting petroleum prospecting and extraction in the Museum's Modern Physics Collection and the American Petroleum Institute (API) Photograph and Film Collection (AC0711) in the Archives Center. The API Collection documents all aspects of the production of oil, including exploration, drilling, cracking, refineries, pipelines, tankers, storage tanks, service stations, and the numerous products other than gasoline produced by the petroleum industry.
The Division of Science, Medicine and Society (now Division of Medicine and Science) holds three prototypes related to this collection. See accession 2007.0212.
The collection was donated by Serge A. Scherbatskoy's daughter, Mary Scherbatskoy, and three sons, Serge Scherbatskoy, Jr., Timothy Scherbatskoy, and Jonathan Scherbatskoy, on 2007
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-633-3270.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning intellectual property rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
The collection consists primarily of notebooks, manuals, and other data and operational logbooks documenting the creation, building, and maintenance of Tantalus, and the experiments performed on the machine. Tantalus was the first dedicated synchrotron radiation laboratory and source. Series 5 and Series 6 include oral and video histories with Ednor Rowe, Fred Brown, Cliff Olson, Charles Pruett, and Roger Otte.
The collection is divided into six series.
Series 1, Notebooks and Logbooks, 1940-1986
Series 2, Data and Operational Logbooks, 1965-1995
Series 3, User Beam Schedule Sheets, 1968-1986
Series 4, Storage Ring Blueprints, 1966-1972
Series 5, Video Histories, 1995
Series 6, Oral History Cassettes, 1995
Biographical / Historical:
At the University of Wisconsin during 1965-1967, a team led by particle physicist Ednor Rowe built a machine designed to analyze what goes on inside high-energy particle accelerators. This was the big, exciting technology in physics at the time. But just as the apparatus neared completion, funding was cut off. Its creators, feeling teased by fate and their government backers, dubbed the machine "Tantalus."
Rowe knew, though, that a by-product of Tantalus's operation was intense "synchrotron radiation," a form of ultra violet light that is used to study the structure of matter. He quickly adapted the machine to make this radiation available for use and soon the facility was crowded with experimenters from all over the world. Tantalus not only pioneered the use of synchrotron radiation, but created a research facility where both scientists and graduate students could perform hands-on work.
Researchers shared information and the results of their experiments in a collegial environment. There was no "King of the Ring" among these goal-oriented scientists. Those working at the Synchrotron Radiation Center always sought ways to improve upon Tantalus, with the result that Tantalus remained an important research tool until 1987, when it was retired and replaced by a newer machine, "Aladdin."
The Division of Information, Technology, and Society (now the Division of Medicine and Science) collected part of the Tantalus synchrotron radiation ring. See accession 1997.0078.
The collection was donated by Ednor M. Rowe, Associate Director for Accelerator Development, Synchrotron Radiation Center, University of Wisconsin on November 20, 1995.
The collection is open for research.
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.
Videotaped interview with Charles Townes, inventor of the MASER (Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation). The interview was part of the "Innovative Lives" public program series. Videotapes include VHS and Beta Cam SP formats.
Divided into four series.
Series 1: Original videos
Series 2: Master videos
Series 3: Reference videos
Series 4; Digital images
Biographical / Historical:
Charles Townes was born in Greenville, S.C., July 28, 1915. Graduated from Furman University (1935), Duke University (1936), and the California Institute of Technology (Ph.D., 1939). Appointed to faculty of Columbia University, 1948, where he conceived the idea for the maser. Received Nobel Prize for physics for advances in quantum electronics, 1964.
Created by the Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, National Museum of American History, 1998.
Collection is open for research but the original videos are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at email@example.com or 202-633-3270.
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. Signed oral history releases on file.