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Richard Steele Papers

Creator:
Steele, Richard, 1916-1980  Search this
Collector:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Ceramics and Glass  Search this
Extent:
1 Cubic foot (3 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Papers
Journals (accounts)
Sketches
Audiotapes
Drawings
Business records
Date:
1948-1963.
Scope and Contents:
The collection, which consists of notebooks, journals, photographs, correspondence, memos, brochures, and technical drawings, is divided into three series: Sketches, Drawing Journals and Tests; Ram Company Materials; and Photographs. The papers were selected from among Mr. Steele's files by his son, Christopher. As a result, the papers included are somewhat sporadic and have many gaps. However, Mr. Steele was a conscientious record keeper, so the papers in the collection provide a good illustration of his development of the Ram process. Within the papers there are test results for water release problems, stress tests, plaster permeability tests, designs for different applications of the process, designs for dies, and other documentation. The journals he kept document his daily activities within the Ram Company in a very complete manner. Also included is a list of photographs with captions supplied by Mr. Steele's son Christopher.
Arrangement:
The collection is divided into three series.

Series 1: Sketches, Drawing Journals and Tests

Series 2: Ram Company Records

Series 3: Photographs
Biographical / Historical:
Richard Steele (1916-1980), a ceramics engineer, was the primary inventor of the Ram press which revolutionized the ceramics industry. Mr. Steele attended classes at Ohio State University after working during World War Two as an aircraft engineer. While working at the Research Foundation at Ohio State, he and another engineer, A. R. Blackburn (commonly referred to by Mr. Steele in the collection as "Blackie"), developed the Ram process in 1948. Up until this time, the jigger method and slip casting were used to produce ceramics. The jigger method was a manual process which required great strength on the part of the operator. A large amount of time was then required for shrinkage to occur and release the casting. As a result, the process also required a large amount of space to let the pieces dry.

The Ram process, on the other hand, was an automated machine process whereby dies made of special reinforced gypsum cement (as opposed to the plastic ones used in the jigger method), are pressurized on a hydraulic press and come together to mold the piece. Air is then fed into the die to act as a releasing mechanism. The machine is capable of pressing with 60 tons of force, up to 6,000 cycles per eight hour day. This process enables one person to operate the press with ease and to produce approximately five times the number of ceramic pieces as someone using the jigger method.
Provenance:
This collection was donated to the National Museum of American History in December 1983 by Christopher Steele, son of Mr. Richard Steele.
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:
Ceramics -- 20th century  Search this
Ceramic engineers  Search this
Ram process  Search this
Genre/Form:
Papers
Journals (accounts)
Sketches
Audiotapes
Drawings -- 20th century
Business records -- 20th century
Citation:
Richard Steele Papers, 1948-1963, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0080
See more items in:
Richard Steele Papers
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8a2cab420-f48d-43ea-80a9-ffacea54f181
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0080

1. Multi cavity dies – shows 4 slugs/charge (of clay)

Collection Creator:
Steele, Richard, 1916-1980  Search this
Container:
Box 3
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection 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.
Collection Citation:
Richard Steele Papers, 1948-1963, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Richard Steele Papers
Richard Steele Papers / Series 3: Photographs / Press at work Making Nose Cone Using Ram Process
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8346ce4fa-7270-4539-a668-e315e2e3f71a
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0080-ref149

2. Operator wiping sponge over the die – (quite common). Water driven off by pressing, would remain in cavity of the die. Acted as lubricant.

Collection Creator:
Steele, Richard, 1916-1980  Search this
Container:
Box 3
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection 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.
Collection Citation:
Richard Steele Papers, 1948-1963, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Richard Steele Papers
Richard Steele Papers / Series 3: Photographs / Press at work Making Nose Cone Using Ram Process
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8caca5b92-3120-4569-811c-8b2267b3857e
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0080-ref150

3. Same as above

Collection Creator:
Steele, Richard, 1916-1980  Search this
Container:
Box 3
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection 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.
Collection Citation:
Richard Steele Papers, 1948-1963, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Richard Steele Papers
Richard Steele Papers / Series 3: Photographs / Press at work Making Nose Cone Using Ram Process
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8e16cdcfd-9640-49c1-80b0-0efd09b06e5c
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0080-ref151

4. Same as above

Collection Creator:
Steele, Richard, 1916-1980  Search this
Container:
Box 3
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection 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.
Collection Citation:
Richard Steele Papers, 1948-1963, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Richard Steele Papers
Richard Steele Papers / Series 3: Photographs / Press at work Making Nose Cone Using Ram Process
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8787c140e-5a61-4274-8175-97b655d068c1
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0080-ref152

5. Taking ceramic pieces off top die, blowing out the lower portion.

Collection Creator:
Steele, Richard, 1916-1980  Search this
Container:
Box 3
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection 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.
Collection Citation:
Richard Steele Papers, 1948-1963, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Richard Steele Papers
Richard Steele Papers / Series 3: Photographs / Press at work Making Nose Cone Using Ram Process
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep81bc329ae-a951-4826-bc3c-7e8f90abd32c
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0080-ref153

6. Lids and bottoms of casserole or bowls

Collection Creator:
Steele, Richard, 1916-1980  Search this
Container:
Box 3
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection 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.
Collection Citation:
Richard Steele Papers, 1948-1963, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Richard Steele Papers
Richard Steele Papers / Series 3: Photographs / Press at work Making Nose Cone Using Ram Process
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8c4053a70-9c22-4959-b8ed-c9a5c6504657
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0080-ref154

7. Ram press with foot pedals. Could be air or oil pressure

Collection Creator:
Steele, Richard, 1916-1980  Search this
Container:
Box 3
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection 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.
Collection Citation:
Richard Steele Papers, 1948-1963, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Richard Steele Papers
Richard Steele Papers / Series 3: Photographs / Press at work Making Nose Cone Using Ram Process
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8621a6073-248e-4b0e-907b-ed224a40a380
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0080-ref155

8. Die maker – holding die – good example showing gutters

Collection Creator:
Steele, Richard, 1916-1980  Search this
Container:
Box 3
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection 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.
Collection Citation:
Richard Steele Papers, 1948-1963, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Richard Steele Papers
Richard Steele Papers / Series 3: Photographs / Press at work Making Nose Cone Using Ram Process
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8dfe710a5-20bd-4de2-a1c2-66903a146ff4
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0080-ref156

9. Side of ram press?

Collection Creator:
Steele, Richard, 1916-1980  Search this
Container:
Box 3
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection 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.
Collection Citation:
Richard Steele Papers, 1948-1963, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Richard Steele Papers
Richard Steele Papers / Series 3: Photographs / Press at work Making Nose Cone Using Ram Process
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep898f4d27a-037a-4a60-9384-7bcd93381fde
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0080-ref157

10. Press with pumping unit behind press

Collection Creator:
Steele, Richard, 1916-1980  Search this
Container:
Box 3
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection 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.
Collection Citation:
Richard Steele Papers, 1948-1963, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Richard Steele Papers
Richard Steele Papers / Series 3: Photographs / Press at work Making Nose Cone Using Ram Process
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep83a117354-55f7-4bdc-9f76-a567ca4b0896
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0080-ref158

11. Platter made on Universal Press adapted to Ram process

Collection Creator:
Steele, Richard, 1916-1980  Search this
Container:
Box 3
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection 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.
Collection Citation:
Richard Steele Papers, 1948-1963, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Richard Steele Papers
Richard Steele Papers / Series 3: Photographs / Press at work Making Nose Cone Using Ram Process
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8ce36c95e-cf67-4472-8060-4b8d857987de
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0080-ref159

12. Hydraulic lines – possibly also air lines

Collection Creator:
Steele, Richard, 1916-1980  Search this
Container:
Box 3
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection 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.
Collection Citation:
Richard Steele Papers, 1948-1963, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Richard Steele Papers
Richard Steele Papers / Series 3: Photographs / Press at work Making Nose Cone Using Ram Process
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8a898d24e-d9b9-44b9-86e0-00a5dafbe27d
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0080-ref160

13. Silent mixer possibly glaze oil

Collection Creator:
Steele, Richard, 1916-1980  Search this
Container:
Box 3
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection 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.
Collection Citation:
Richard Steele Papers, 1948-1963, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Richard Steele Papers
Richard Steele Papers / Series 3: Photographs / Press at work Making Nose Cone Using Ram Process
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8392c444c-5acb-4c8b-8361-436615dbdb1b
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0080-ref161

14. Ball mills to hold glaze

Collection Creator:
Steele, Richard, 1916-1980  Search this
Container:
Box 3
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection 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.
Collection Citation:
Richard Steele Papers, 1948-1963, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Richard Steele Papers
Richard Steele Papers / Series 3: Photographs / Press at work Making Nose Cone Using Ram Process
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep896cbd6a2-6fb7-436c-89ac-5b87f5fa1afb
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0080-ref162

15. Rollers

Collection Creator:
Steele, Richard, 1916-1980  Search this
Container:
Box 3
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection 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.
Collection Citation:
Richard Steele Papers, 1948-1963, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Richard Steele Papers
Richard Steele Papers / Series 3: Photographs / Press at work Making Nose Cone Using Ram Process
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep82623abab-4891-44c7-9594-af15b93926d4
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0080-ref163

16. Ball mill

Collection Creator:
Steele, Richard, 1916-1980  Search this
Container:
Box 3
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection 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.
Collection Citation:
Richard Steele Papers, 1948-1963, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Richard Steele Papers
Richard Steele Papers / Series 3: Photographs / Press at work Making Nose Cone Using Ram Process
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8cb8a60cc-0257-4f00-a20e-54c15c5fb59b
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0080-ref164

17. Ball mill

Collection Creator:
Steele, Richard, 1916-1980  Search this
Container:
Box 3
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection 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.
Collection Citation:
Richard Steele Papers, 1948-1963, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Richard Steele Papers
Richard Steele Papers / Series 3: Photographs / Press at work Making Nose Cone Using Ram Process
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep890b609eb-0314-48ee-91ea-a927c87235c9
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0080-ref165

18. Ball mill

Collection Creator:
Steele, Richard, 1916-1980  Search this
Container:
Box 3
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection 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.
Collection Citation:
Richard Steele Papers, 1948-1963, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Richard Steele Papers
Richard Steele Papers / Series 3: Photographs / Press at work Making Nose Cone Using Ram Process
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8171165f7-fe5f-48c7-a629-e742d8e0ab58
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0080-ref166

19. Ball mill

Collection Creator:
Steele, Richard, 1916-1980  Search this
Container:
Box 3
Type:
Archival materials
Collection Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Collection 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.
Collection Citation:
Richard Steele Papers, 1948-1963, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
See more items in:
Richard Steele Papers
Richard Steele Papers / Series 3: Photographs / Press at work Making Nose Cone Using Ram Process
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8e9b340f2-8396-493a-a9f9-a4eb6ea2bb17
EDAN-URL:
ead_component:sova-nmah-ac-0080-ref167

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