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Crosby Steam Engine Indicator

National Museum of American History
Crosby Steam Gauge & Valve Co. of Boston, Massachusetts, manufactured this steam engine indicator, serial number 10021. It consists of a steel piston with four grooves, a vented brass cylinder, an internal spring (which is missing), a small drum with a spiral spring and a single record, and a brass stylus. Accompanying the indicator is a box with twelve springs, double wound.

An engine indicator is an instrument for graphically recording the pressure versus piston displacement through an engine stroke cycle. Engineers use the resulting diagram to check the design and performance of the engine.

A mechanical indicator consists of a piston, spring, stylus, and recording system. The gas pressure of the cylinder deflects the piston and pushes against the spring, creating a linear relationship between the gas pressure and the deflection of the piston against the spring. The deflection is recorded by the stylus on a rotating drum that is connected to the piston. Most indicators incorporate a mechanical linkage to amplify the movement of the piston to increase the scale of the record.

When the ratio of the frequency of the pressure variation to the natural frequency of the system is small, then the dynamic deflection is equal to the static deflection. To design a system with a high natural frequency, the mass of the piston, spring, stylus, and mechanical linkage must be small, but the stiffness of the spring must be high. The indicator is subjected to high temperatures and pressures and rapid oscillations, imposing a limitation on the reduction in mass. Too stiff a spring will result in a small displacement of the indicator piston and a record too small to measure with accuracy. Multiplication of the displacement will introduce mechanical ad dynamic errors.

The parameters of the problem for designing an accurate and trouble free recorder are such that there is no easy or simple solution. Studying the variety of indicators in the collection shows how different inventors made different compromises in their designs.

Crosby Steam Engine Indicator

National Museum of American History
Crosby Steam Gauge & Valve Co. of Boston, Massachusetts, manufactured this steam engine indicator, serial number 6163D. It consists of a steel piston with one groove; a vented brass cylinder; an external, double wound spring; a large drum with a spiral spring and a single record; and a pencil lead stylus. Accompanying the indicator is a box with a wrench, a number of pulleys for reduction gear, and a bracket with pivot on end.

An engine indicator is an instrument for graphically recording the pressure versus piston displacement through an engine stroke cycle. Engineers use the resulting diagram to check the design and performance of the engine.

A mechanical indicator consists of a piston, spring, stylus, and recording system. The gas pressure of the cylinder deflects the piston and pushes against the spring, creating a linear relationship between the gas pressure and the deflection of the piston against the spring. The deflection is recorded by the stylus on a rotating drum that is connected to the piston. Most indicators incorporate a mechanical linkage to amplify the movement of the piston to increase the scale of the record.

When the ratio of the frequency of the pressure variation to the natural frequency of the system is small, then the dynamic deflection is equal to the static deflection. To design a system with a high natural frequency, the mass of the piston, spring, stylus, and mechanical linkage must be small, but the stiffness of the spring must be high. The indicator is subjected to high temperatures and pressures and rapid oscillations, imposing a limitation on the reduction in mass. Too stiff a spring will result in a small displacement of the indicator piston and a record too small to measure with accuracy. Multiplication of the displacement will introduce mechanical ad dynamic errors.

The parameters of the problem for designing an accurate and trouble free recorder are such that there is no easy or simple solution. Studying the variety of indicators in the collection shows how different inventors made different compromises in their designs.

Crosby Steam Engine Indicator

National Museum of American History
Crosby Steam Gauge & Valve Co. of Boston, Massachusetts, manufactured this steam engine indicator, serial number 3309. It consists of a piston, which is stuck inside the cylinder. A brass stylus can record onto a large small drum with a spiral spring and a single record. Accompanying the indicator is a box with twelve springs and a spring wrench.

An engine indicator is an instrument for graphically recording the pressure versus piston displacement through an engine stroke cycle. Engineers use the resulting diagram to check the design and performance of the engine.

A mechanical indicator consists of a piston, spring, stylus, and recording system. The gas pressure of the cylinder deflects the piston and pushes against the spring, creating a linear relationship between the gas pressure and the deflection of the piston against the spring. The deflection is recorded by the stylus on a rotating drum that is connected to the piston. Most indicators incorporate a mechanical linkage to amplify the movement of the piston to increase the scale of the record.

When the ratio of the frequency of the pressure variation to the natural frequency of the system is small, then the dynamic deflection is equal to the static deflection. To design a system with a high natural frequency, the mass of the piston, spring, stylus, and mechanical linkage must be small, but the stiffness of the spring must be high. The indicator is subjected to high temperatures and pressures and rapid oscillations, imposing a limitation on the reduction in mass. Too stiff a spring will result in a small displacement of the indicator piston and a record too small to measure with accuracy. Multiplication of the displacement will introduce mechanical ad dynamic errors.

The parameters of the problem for designing an accurate and trouble free recorder are such that there is no easy or simple solution. Studying the variety of indicators in the collection shows how different inventors made different compromises in their designs.

Crosby Steam Engine Indicator

National Museum of American History
Crosby Steam Gauge & Valve Co. of Boston, Massachusetts, manufactured this steam engine indicator, serial number 330. It consists of a brass piston with one groove, a vented brass cylinder, an internal, double wound spring which can be changed, and a small drum with a spiral spring and single record. The stylus is missing. Accompanying the indicator is a box with two springs, two turn cocks, a scale, and small tools.

This indicator was made for W. J. Hammer, Chief Inspector of Edison Light Co. There is a nickel-plated name plate on the front marked: “Property of W. J. Hammer, 65 Fifth Ave, New York.”

An engine indicator is an instrument for graphically recording the pressure versus piston displacement through an engine stroke cycle. Engineers use the resulting diagram to check the design and performance of the engine.

A mechanical indicator consists of a piston, spring, stylus, and recording system. The gas pressure of the cylinder deflects the piston and pushes against the spring, creating a linear relationship between the gas pressure and the deflection of the piston against the spring. The deflection is recorded by the stylus on a rotating drum that is connected to the piston. Most indicators incorporate a mechanical linkage to amplify the movement of the piston to increase the scale of the record.

When the ratio of the frequency of the pressure variation to the natural frequency of the system is small, then the dynamic deflection is equal to the static deflection. To design a system with a high natural frequency, the mass of the piston, spring, stylus, and mechanical linkage must be small, but the stiffness of the spring must be high. The indicator is subjected to high temperatures and pressures and rapid oscillations, imposing a limitation on the reduction in mass. Too stiff a spring will result in a small displacement of the indicator piston and a record too small to measure with accuracy. Multiplication of the displacement will introduce mechanical ad dynamic errors.

The parameters of the problem for designing an accurate and trouble free recorder are such that there is no easy or simple solution. Studying the variety of indicators in the collection shows how different inventors made different compromises in their designs.

Crosby Steam Engine Indicator

National Museum of American History
Crosby Steam Gauge & Valve Co. of Boston, Massachusetts, manufactured this steam engine indicator, serial number 1074D. It consists of a steel piston; a vented brass cylinder; an external, double wound spring, which can be changed; a large drum with a spiral spring and a single record; and a brass stylus. Accompanying the indicator is a box with twelve springs and some small tools.

An engine indicator is an instrument for graphically recording the pressure versus piston displacement through an engine stroke cycle. Engineers use the resulting diagram to check the design and performance of the engine.

A mechanical indicator consists of a piston, spring, stylus, and recording system. The gas pressure of the cylinder deflects the piston and pushes against the spring, creating a linear relationship between the gas pressure and the deflection of the piston against the spring. The deflection is recorded by the stylus on a rotating drum that is connected to the piston. Most indicators incorporate a mechanical linkage to amplify the movement of the piston to increase the scale of the record.

When the ratio of the frequency of the pressure variation to the natural frequency of the system is small, then the dynamic deflection is equal to the static deflection. To design a system with a high natural frequency, the mass of the piston, spring, stylus, and mechanical linkage must be small, but the stiffness of the spring must be high. The indicator is subjected to high temperatures and pressures and rapid oscillations, imposing a limitation on the reduction in mass. Too stiff a spring will result in a small displacement of the indicator piston and a record too small to measure with accuracy. Multiplication of the displacement will introduce mechanical ad dynamic errors.

The parameters of the problem for designing an accurate and trouble free recorder are such that there is no easy or simple solution. Studying the variety of indicators in the collection shows how different inventors made different compromises in their designs.

Crosby Steam Engine Indicator, ca 1930

National Museum of American History
An engine indicator is an instrument for graphically recording the pressure versus piston displacement through an engine stroke cycle. Engineers use the resulting diagram to check the design and performance of the engine. Manufactured by Crosby Steam Gage & Valve Co. of Boston, Massachusetts, this steam engine indicator is enclosed in a wooden case. It consists of a steel piston; an interchangeable external, helical wound spring; a large single recording drum with a spiral spring; and a brass stylus. The piston causes the stylus to rise and fall with pressure changes in the engine under measurement thereby directly recording the indicator’s output on the paper. Around the drum’s base is wound a cord that is attached to the connecting rod of the piston on the steam engine being measured. This causes the drum to rotate as the engine’s piston moves. An internal coil spring causes the cord to retract and the drum to counter rotate back to its original position as the connecting rod returns. The result is a steam pressure-volume diagram which is used to measure the efficiency and other attributes of the steam engine. This indicator differs from other models in that it has provisions for making more than a single pressure-volume diagram. It can use an alternate recording drum that holds a roll of recording paper which is unwound as measurements proceed. The resulting series of pressure-volume diagrams allow comparison of engine performance over time and as load and other conditions change. The continuous recording mechanism was patented in 1907 and assigned to the Crosby Company.

The introduction of the steam indicator in the late 1790s and early 1800s by James Watt and others had a great impact on the understanding of how the steam behaved inside the engine's cylinder and thereby enabled much more exacting and sophisticated designs. The devices also changed how the economics and efficiency of steam engines were portrayed and marketed. They helped the prospective owner of a machine better understand how much his fuel costs would be for a given amount of work performed. Measurement of fuel consumed and work delivered by the engine was begun by Watt, who in part justified the selling price of his engines on the amount of fuel cost the purchaser might save compared to an alternate engine. In the early days of steam power, the method to compare engine performance was based on a concept termed the engine’s “duty”. It originally was calculated as the number of pounds of water raised one foot high per one bushel of coal consumed. The duty method was open to criticism due to its inability to take into consideration finer points of efficiency in real world applications of engines . Accurate determination of fuel used in relation to work performed has been fundamental to the design and improvement of all steam-driven prime movers ever since Watt’s time. And, the steam indicators’ key contribution was the accurate measurements of performance while the engine was actually doing the work it was designed to do. This Crosby steam indicator represented over one hundred years of evolution and improvement of the devices. Its ability to make continuous recordings was a significant improvement for many applications.

David White Geologist's or Forester's Compass

National Museum of American History
This is an aluminum compass with brass sights. The raised rim and beveled outer ring are graduated every degree and numbered every 10 degrees in quadrants from north and south. The southeast quadrant of the face has a variation scale that extends 25 degrees one way and 45 degrees the other, that is graduated to degrees, and that reads by folded vernier to 5 minutes. The western half of the face is graduated to degrees, and equipped with a pendulum clinometer pivoted at the center. There are level vials on the SE and SW corners of the plate. The four beveled edges of the plate are graduated, one to inches and tenths, one to inches and eighths, and two as protractors. The back of the plate has a diagram showing the arrangement of township numbering. David White Co. termed it an improved geologist's or forester's compass as designed for the U. S. Forest Service. This example belonged to the University of Missouri at Columbia. New, it cost $45. The "David White Co. Milwaukee, Wis." signature refers to a firm that was established in 1895, and renamed the David White Instrument Co. in 1956. Ref: David White Co., Catalog and Price List, 7th edition (Denver, about 1935), p. 37.

De Juhasz Gas Engine Indicator

National Museum of American History
This gas engine indicator, manufactured by Kalman J. De Juhasz, is very similar to another one in the collection (catalog number 311.621). It is a modification of the steam engine indicator to adapt it for use on diesel engines. The improvements consist of cooling fins, reduced masses of piston and pencil movement, light Bakelite drum, ball bearings for drum and roller, and a built-in indicator.

An engine indicator is an instrument for graphically recording the pressure versus piston displacement through an engine stroke cycle. Engineers use the resulting diagram to check the design and performance of the engine.

A mechanical indicator consists of a piston, spring, stylus, and recording system. The gas pressure of the cylinder deflects the piston and pushes against the spring, creating a linear relationship between the gas pressure and the deflection of the piston against the spring. The deflection is recorded by the stylus on a rotating drum that is connected to the piston. Most indicators incorporate a mechanical linkage to amplify the movement of the piston to increase the scale of the record.

When the ratio of the frequency of the pressure variation to the natural frequency of the system is small, then the dynamic deflection is equal to the static deflection. To design a system with a high natural frequency, the mass of the piston, spring, stylus, and mechanical linkage must be small, but the stiffness of the spring must be high. The indicator is subjected to high temperatures and pressures and rapid oscillations, imposing a limitation on the reduction in mass. Too stiff a spring will result in a small displacement of the indicator piston and a record too small to measure with accuracy. Multiplication of the displacement will introduce mechanical ad dynamic errors.

The parameters of the problem for designing an accurate and trouble free recorder are such that there is no easy or simple solution. Studying the variety of indicators in the collection shows how different inventors made different compromises in their designs.

Design Talk: Designing a Better America with Deanna Van Buren

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Talk by Deanna Van Buren, architect and coordinator of the Designing Justice + Designing Spaces project. This talk is a part of Autodesk’s Design Night. Designing Justice+Designing Spaces facilitates the design of more restorative and healing criminal-justice environments through community engagement in jails and prisons. An alternative to the current punitive-justice system—the United States has the world’s highest prison population—restorative justice seeks to rehabilitate by holding offenders accountable for their actions while helping them understand their victims’ experience. Designing from the Inside Out workshops invite incarcerated people, students, and professionals to envision new types of justice environments using a toolkit of interviews, diagrams, visual diaries, models, collages, and drawings.

Design for End Table

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Design for rosewood-veneered end table. At upper left, perspective view of object in intended location next to armless sofa or divan. Rectangular frame open to front into which three longer shelves extend forward; the top shelf creates a split-level top surface. At lower right, plan and side views. Inscribed with Deskey No. 8603, crossed out with reference to new scale diagram.

Design for Modular Wall System

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Design for modular wall system. Exploded diagram shows various prefabricated structural elements: front entry portal with windows; wall, floor, and ceiling panels with truss braces and angled windows; rear window panels. Signed :2/21/62 E. HOYT” at lower right.

Design for Modular Wall System Components: Exploded Diagram

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Design for modular wall system components. Exploded perspective diagram provides specs and numbered component part information for modular wall system for trapezoidal, single-story prefabricated house. From lower left to upper right, components are as follows: sun shade; door and window end cap; truss braces to be bolted in place; basic building block (a paired module); side window; “full window” end cap. Signed in graphite at lower right: “2/21/62 E. HOYT”.

Design for Prefabricated House

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Design for prefabricated house: mechanical drawing. Exploded diagram shows modular prefab unit’s base surrounded by flattened front and rear walls, erect side walls with windows, corner support beams and roofing comprised of long, 5-sided caps for each standard bay plus planar overhangs on either side. Two figures present, one at door and the other opposite him. Salmon, olive, and turquoise Cello-Tak used.

Design for Prefabricated House: Detail

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Design detail for prefabricated house in style of US patent drawings. Three main components in wood with some sort of fill material. Possibly for structural brace or bracket. At lower left, diagram with piece of wood indicates how material meant to be cut and grained.

Design for Snap-Together Chair

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Design for blow-molded plastic, snap-together chair for Union Carbide. At center, perspective shows planar chair with three identical panels comprised sides and back; these have groove at half-height into which the seat slides. At right, perspective diagram shows assembly process; above, detail of snap-together components. Below right, incomplete sketch of similar detail.

Design for Snap-Together Lounge Chair

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Design for plastic, snap-together lounge chair for Union Carbide. At center left, rear perspective shows armless, lounge-style chair supported by frame consisting of slender rods and fortified by stretchers with buttresses. Parabolic seat comprised of horizontal elements. At lower right, diagram possibly for another design (1988-101-1534) describing how “poly” element inserts into frame; upper right detail of seat surface possibly for the same. Stapled to additional designs.

Design for Sofabed

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Design for sofabed. At upper right, partial plan gives dimensions of armrest and seat, while below at left, partial front elevation shows upholstery in red and describes mechanism by which either the back cushion folds down, or an upholstered armrest folds down (diagram inconclusive). At lower right, side elevation shows red upholstery again, provides dimensions, and indicates slatted armrest. Margins ruled in graphite. Inscribed with Deskey No. 8343.

Design for a Bed in the Polish Style

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Canopy bed seen from the end with upholstered footboard with an oval panel at center. Canopy dome is decorated with three clusters of feathers. Hangings are caught at either side with rosettes. At left and at right diagram of construction of bed. Scale below: 4 pied.

Design for a Candelabrum

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
A woman standing on a column supports both handles of a stand with seven sockets (meant to be eleven) holding burning candles. Four sockets are decorated with lion heads and other three with stylized foliage. Lower right, perspective diagram shows all eleven sockets with arms; left is scale.

Designing Media: Chris Anderson

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
One of 31 video segments featured in 'Designing Media', the new book, DVD and website by Bill Moggridge. More info on 'Designing Medi'a available at http://www.designing-media.com Chris Anderson is confident that the magazine format is here to stay, as long as it makes the most of the unique attributes of magazine design, energetically pursuing luscious images, diagrams, and illustrations, with dramatic layout and rich production values. He feels the ambivalence of working to create a magazine that is owned by Condé Nast and writing books that are distributed by Disney, while in his heart he wants to celebrate the possibilities offered by the Internet to serve individual needs and desires in niches of focused interest. He believes that the print side of Wired should strive to add value to the Web, while the Web serves the endless expanse of amateur interests, even as it relies on the printed magazine to pay the bills. More info on Designing Media available at http://www.designing-media.com

Designing Media: David Fanning

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
One of 31 video segments featured in 'Designing Media', the new book, DVD and website by Bill Moggridge. More info on 'Designing Media' available at http://www.designing-media.com A self-taught filmmaker from South Africa, David came to the United States in 1973 and began producing and directing local and national documentaries for KOCE, a public television station in California. In 1977 he joined WGBH Boston, America's most prolific public broadcasting organization, to start the international documentary series World. He has been executive producer of Frontline since its first season in 1983. In 2007, after 24 seasons and more than 485 films, Frontline remains America's only regularly scheduled investigative documentary series on television. The series has won all of the major awards for broadcast journalism, including the Gold Baton (the highest duPont-Columbia Award) in 1990, 1996, and 2002, for its "total contribution to the world of exceptional television." David is happiest thinking through how best to edit complex narratives, sketching diagrams of how information fits together. He revels in deeply involved reporting of difficult subjects, in trying to explain topics by taking his audiences on journeys and adventures, and in going out into the world with all his senses alert.

Designs for Flatware: España Soup/Dessert Spoon

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Photostat of silhouette of spoon; top and side view; diagrams of measurements; notations lower right and throughout.

Diagram Software for the NeXT Microcomputer

National Museum of American History
A paper box includes one 4 1/2" hard disc with a Diagram drawing program, as well as one spiral-bound notebook of instructions and four loose sheets.

Diagram of a painting by Gonzales Coques and others, "Interior with Figures in a Picture Gallery," 1672 (Mauritshuis)

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Interior of a large gallery, the walls of which are lined with frames containing written inscriptions referring to the pictures to be contained therein. A view through a central arched opening reveals a corridor, and another gallery beyond it. In the foreground, the collector and his family are beside a table on which sculptured objects are displayed.
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