Skip to Content

Found 58 Resources

Alfred O. Blaisdell Notebook, [notebook]

Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Technical notes and drawings.

Woodruff & Beach Ironworks Notebook, cover page, [notebook]

Archives Center, National Museum of American History
List of gears and other patterns.

Hendrick Manufacturing Company [notebook]

Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Frank P. Sheldon data book [notebook]

Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Ames Iron Works [notebook]

Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Diagrams and figures for locomotive boiler parts.

J. Parker Snow, Sketch Book Number 2, [notebook]

Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Drawings of two mortar mills and two kilns.

Engineering Notebook Collection, 1835-1930

Archives Center, National Museum of American History
The notebook of J. Parker Snow has been transferred to the J.Parker Snow Wooden Bridge Collection, No. 225.

Container List.

Transferred from the Division of Engineering and Industry, 8/7/86.

Mainly personal notebooks of engineers, although one is a listing of products of a manufacturer of gears and another is a compilation of shop orders for various products of a manufacturer. They generally contain technical descriptions, drawings, specifications, and financial data.

Joseph Henry Notebook, Oil and Oil Lamps, 1865

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
Joseph Henry was the first Secretary of the Smithsonian, and he served in this position from 1846 to 1878.

For more notebooks with similar material, see SIA2013-06853 to SIA2013-06897; SIA2013-06738 to SIA2013-06817; SIA2013-06685 to SIA2013-06693; SIA2013-06818 to SIA2013-06852; SIA2013-06898 to SIA2013-07093.

This notebook is primarily related to Joseph Henry's interests in oil and oil lamps. It begins with a record of Henry's travels in New England in September 1865, and then proceeds to document Henry's notes, conversations with other scientists, research, and experiments in relation to lard oil. He dates his entries and includes drawings and diagrams of his experiments. There are also notes about an engine that Henry worked on, and notes about weather phenomena such as water spouts, tornados, and thunderstorms.

Joseph Henry Notebook, Sound, Weather, 1865-1866

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
Joseph Henry was the first Secretary of the Smithsonian, and he served in this position from 1846 to 1878.

For more notebooks with similar material, see SIA2013-06853 to SIA2013-06897; SIA2013-06738 to SIA2013-06817; SIA2013-06685 to SIA2013-06693; SIA2013-06694 to SIA2013-06739; SIA2013-06898 to SIA2013-07093.

This pocket notebook of Joseph Henry's proceeds from front to middle for about half of the pages, and then proceeds from back to middle, upside-down, for about half of the pages. The notebook contains his notes about sound, ear trumpets, weather (particularly fog), lighthouses, and engines. At the beginning of the upside-down, back-to-middle section is recorded experimental materials (lists of instruments), measurements, and data, all regarding his experiments with sound. Experimental diagrams follow the data and measurements.

Joseph Henry Notebook, Sound, Ear Trumpets, Light Houses, 1866

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
Joseph Henry was the first Secretary of the Smithsonian, and he served in this position from 1846 to 1878.

For more notebooks with similar material, see SIA2013-06694 to SIA2013-06739; SIA2013-06738 to SIA2013-06817; SIA2013-06685 to SIA2013-06693; SIA2013-06818 to SIA2013-06852; SIA2013-06898 to SIA2013-07093.

This pocket notebook contains Joseph Henry's notes on sound, ear trumpets, engines, and light houses. It also contains diagrams and measurements pertinent to these fields of study. Many of Henry's notes relate to Partridge Island, Canada, and the light house, buoys, and fog signals there. On the last page and back cover, upside-down, are measurements for classifying wind gusts, in relation to velocity.

Production Notebook

National Museum of American History
Yue Jin Wu used this production notebook to record output and compute pay in New York City in 1995.

In the garment industry, workers are paid for the actual number of pieces they complete, regardless of how long it takes. Under federal and state law, however, employers are still required to pay the equivalent of the minimum wage. Manufacturers and some workers point out that piecework rewards those who work quickly and stay focused. However, the system can easily be abused. Despite toiling at breakneck speeds, sweatshop workers often earn substantially less than minimum wage.

On August 2, 1995, police arrested eight operators of the clandestine El Monte garment shop and freed seventy-two Thai nationals who had been working in a form of modern slavery. Workers, recruited in Thailand, were promised good pay and good working conditions. After signing an indenture agreement for $5,000 they were smuggled into the United States with fraudulent documents. The workers were paid about $1.60 an hour with sixteen-hour workdays in horrifying conditions. They were held against their will in a razor wire enclosed complex with an armed guard and were jammed into close living quarters. By 1999, eleven companies Mervyn's, Montgomery Ward, Tomato, Bum International, L.F. Sportswear, Millers Outpost, Balmara, Beniko, F-40 California, Ms. Tops, and Topson Downs, agreed to pay more than $3.7 million dollars to the 150 workers who labored in the El Monte sweatshop. As in most cases of sweatshop production, these companies contend that they did not knowingly contract with operators who were violating the law.

Researcher Discovers First Written Evidence of Laws of Friction in Leonardo Da Vinci's Notebooks

Smithsonian Magazine

From hidden figures to musings on how birds fly, Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks have long been known as treasure troves of art and science. And it turns out that, 500 years after the master doodled in them, the notebooks still have some secrets. Now, a study of da Vinci’s notes and sketches has revealed something unexpected indeed: the first written evidence of the laws of friction.

In a new study in the journal Wear, an engineer from the University of Cambridge describes how he found the artist’s first writing on the laws of friction in a tiny notebook that dates from 1493 housed in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. The text and accompanying sketches are apparently evidence of da Vinci’s earliest experiments in friction.

In a statement, researcher Ian Hutchings says that the writing demonstrates that as early as 1493, da Vinci understood the laws of friction. The artist and polymath is now known as the father of tribology, which explores the science of surfaces in motion and how they interact with one another. Friction, lubrication and wear are all part of tribology, and all three topics were explored in depth by da Vinci. He used pieces of dry wood to understand how resistance and friction worked—experiments that have been recreated by other scientists nearly 500 years later.

This doodle represents the first time anyone wrote about the laws of friction. (V&A Museum, London )

Hutchings created an extensive timeline of da Vinci’s statements on friction and describes the newly-discovered notes and sketches, which portray blocks being pulled over surfaces with a string. “Friction is of double the effort for double the weight,” wrote the master. This is a different version of Amontons' first law of friction, which states: friction is proportional to the force with which an object is loaded. Guillaume Amontons, after whom the law is named, conducted friction experiments in the 17th century, but the law has long been nicknamed “da Vinci’s law of friction” due to other experiments discovered in his notebooks. Now, it appears that he did indeed state the law 200 years before Amontons, who apparently was unaware of da Vinci’s work in the field.

Ironically, the doodle and text had previously been dismissed by art historians, who preferred to focus instead on a sketch of an old woman adjacent to the scribbles. The artists scribbled the quote “cosa bella mortal passa e non dura” (a line from Petrarch that means “mortal beauty passes and does not endure”) beneath the sketch of the woman. But as long as da Vinci’s notebooks keep revealing the depth of the master’s brilliance, interest in their contents—both artistic and scientific—will never die.

(h/t Gizmodo)

Joseph Henry's Pocket Diary, 1865

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
Joseph Henry was the first Secretary of the Smithsonian, and he served in this position from 1846 to 1878.

For more notebooks with similar material, see SIA2013-06853 to SIA2013-06897; SIA2013-06694 to SIA2013-06739; SIA2013-06685 to SIA2013-06693; SIA2013-06818 to SIA2013-06852; SIA2013-06898 to SIA2013-07093.

This pocket diary was originally a "Churchman's Diary and Ecclesiastical Calendar" for the year of 1854, but Joseph Henry used it as a pocket diary for the year of 1865. On some pages he has not made notes, so some original content in the diary (calendars, tables of bishops and dioceses, etc.) remains unmarked. However, he has used many memoranda and weekly calendar pages to make his own notes. About half the diary is written proceeding from front to middle, and half of it is written upside-down, proceeding from back to middle. Henry's notes regard such topics as oil lamps, fog signals, engines, reports and papers to exchange among colleagues, and weather in different parts of North America.

With Notebook In Hand ca. 1959

Human Studies Film Archives
title from credits (published work)--archival collection

supplementary materials: production notebooks; research materials; technical writings; screening logs; amateur cinema newsletters, awards and programs; and still photographs.

Donated by Sonia Kreznar in 1997.

Edited film is the story of the Kreznar family vacation to Florida created by Frank Kreznar, an award winning amateur filmmaker and engineer. The youngest daughter is instructed by a teacher to keep a notebook of her experiences in Florida which include visiting a Florida visitor center, setting up camp in a park, watching a water skiing performance, visiting a marine animal park where they watch a dolphin show, touring the Everglades on an air powered boat, riding on a glass bottom boat, viewing bird and animal wildlife and swimming at a beach. Sound is the daughter's narration of their experiences.

Handmade Reference Book

National Museum of American History
New United Motor Manufacturing Incorporated (NUMMI) was an auto manufacturing plant in Fremont, California, that was jointly operated by Toyota and General Motors from 1984 until 2010. GM had operated the plant at Fremont from 1960, where the clashes between management and union workers resulted in the plant’s closure in 1982. When it reopened as a joint venture between Toyota and GM, Japanese management techniques had been studied and implemented to emphasize collaboration and teamwork between workers and management. The objects collected from NUMMI came from Judy Weaver (engineering) and Rick Madrid (quality control), who submitted winning essays on the concept of teamwork.

Rich Madrid’s notebook is a handmade encyclopedia of machine-stamped parts produced at the NUMMI plant. Each page contains a small picture of the part as well as its part number, part name, model name, and other pertinent details relating to its production. This book is a prime example of Toyota’s concept of kaizen, or worker-led improvements. The book made it easy for Rick to make sure parts were machined to specifications.

Schoenner Set of Drawing Instruments Sold by E. L. Washburn & Co.

National Museum of American History
This wooden case is covered with black leather and lined with blue satin and velvet. The case has a steel locking pin. The bottom of the case has a red and white sticker marked: PRE-1960 (/) PROPERTY OF (/) Edward A. Chapin. (/) SMITHSONIAN (/) ENTOMOLOGY. The inside of the lid is marked: E. L. Washburn & Co (/) New Haven, Conn. The set includes: 1) 6" German silver compass with bendable legs and removable pencil point, pen point, and lengthening bar. On one side, the joint is marked: D.R.P. On the other side, the joint has the Schoenner logo: an S, a G, and two intersecting arrows with two heads superimposed on each other. Inside one leg is marked: SCHOENNER GERMANY. 2) 5-3/4" German silver fixed-leg dividers. On one side, the joint is marked: D.R.P. On the other side, the joint has the Schoenner logo: an S, G, and two intersecting arrows with two heads superimposed on each other. Inside one leg is marked: SCHOENNER GERMANY. 3) 3-3/8" German silver bow dividers, bow pen, and bow pencil. 4) 4" and 5-1/8" ebony, German silver, and steel drawing pens. 5) 1-1/4" cylindrical metal case with four pencil leads. Two additional leads and a 1/2" round brass weight are loose in the case. 6) 1" metal joint tightener. Besides the extra leads and weight, the set appears to be intact. For other sets manufactured in part or whole by Schoenner, a German firm that operated between 1851 and World War II, see 1977.0279.01, 1977.1101.0097, 1979.0868.01, 1989.0305.05, 1990.0350.01, and 317925.04. E. L. Washburn, a medical doctor, began to make and sell surgical instruments and supplies in New Haven, Conn., in 1866. He had partners until 1876, when he became sole proprietor and named the business after himself. By 1899, he also sold mathematical instruments. The firm was still operating in 1938. Edward Albert Chapin (1894–1969), curator of entomology at the National Museum of Natural History, owned these instruments. He completed undergraduate work at Yale in 1916 and then moved away from Connecticut, so it is likely he purchased the instruments during his studies. He worked for the Smithsonian from 1934 to 1954 and left the set behind when he retired. U.S. Department of Agriculture scientist Richard White may then have used the instruments. References: Leading Business Men of New Haven County (Boston: Mercantile Publishing Company, 1887), 134; New Haven Directory (New Haven: Price & Lee Co., 1899), 734; Smithsonian Institution Archives Acc. 11-085, "Chapin, Edward Albert 1894–, Edward Albert Chapin Field Notebooks, 1937–1947,"; accession file.

Pickett N15-T Hydraulic Duplex Slide Rule for Georgia Iron Works

National Museum of American History
From the 1650s people have devised special-purpose slide rules for tasks such as carpentry and tax collection. In 1961 Danforth (Danny) W. Hagler of the Georgia Iron Works Company in Augusta, Ga., designed this slide rule to replace the 100-page notebook of graphs carried by each GIW engineer. GIW also distributed the rule to customers to assist with ordering and operating pumps and pipelines. Pickett & Eckel, the California slide rule manufacturer, assisted with the design and produced the slide rules. For Pickett company history, see 1998.0119.02 and 2000.0203.01. This ten-inch, two-sided white aluminum instrument has metal endpieces and a nylon cursor with white plastic edges. The front has logarithmic scales for calculating the kinetic energy and flow rate of a liquid or slurry moving through a pipeline. The top of the base is marked: HYDRAULIC SLIDE RULE (/) GEORGIA IRON WORKS CO. (/) EST. 1891 (/) AUGUSTA GEORGIA. The left end of the slide has a GIW logo. The right end of the slide has the triangular Pickett logo used between 1958 and 1962 and is marked: 338. The bottom of the base is marked: DESIGNED BY D. W. HAGLER. The back has logarithmic scales for determining the head produced by a pump, impeller peripheral speed, brake horsepower, and specific speed. Standard C and D scales were added around 1969. The right end of the slide is marked: PICKETT (/) MODEL N 15-T (/) 337. The rule fits in an orange leather case with a belt loop. The front of the case is marked: HYDRAULIC SLIDE RULE (/) GIW (/) D. W. HAGLER (/) Pickett. The case fits inside a redwood box. This particular rule was Hagler's personal example of the instrument in production. GIW was his family's business, and his brother, Tom, wrote an instruction manual for the rule (2009.0100.02). Hagler went on to work on computer software for production control. He sold his interest in GIW in 1986. References: Helen Callahan, Georgia Iron Works: The First 100 Years (Columbia, S.C.: The R. L. Bryan Company, [1991]), 46–49; Michael V. Konshak, "Developing the Georgia Iron Works Hydraulic Slide Rule: Negotiating with Pickett & Eckel to Make a Special Slide Rule," Journal of the Oughtred Society 19, no. 2 (2010): 33–37; accession file.

William R. Hutton Papers, 1830-1965

Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Materials in French, English, Spanish, Dutch and Italian.

The William Rich Hutton Papers, 1840-1961, are located at the Huntington Library in California (see / The Hutton family papers are located at the Montgomery County Historical Society, Sween Library (see

William R. Hutton (1826-1901) was a prominent civil engineer who worked on projects in the United States and abroad.

Finding aid linked online to this record.

Transferred from Division of Work and Industry, 2006.

The papers document the life and work of William R. Hutton, a civil engineer during the late 1800s to the early 1900s. Materials include diaries, notebooks, correspondence, letterpress copy book, printed materials, publications, specifications, photographs, drawings, and maps that document the construction of several architectural and engineering projects during this period. Most notable are the records containing information related to the construction of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, Hudson River Tunnel, the Washington Aqueduct, the Kanawha River Canal, and the Washington/Harlem River Bridge. There are also several records about railroads in the state of Maryland, the District of Columbia and elsewhere, including the Western Maryland Railroad, Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, Colorado Midlands Railway, Baltimore and Drum Point Railroad, the Northern Adirondack Railroad, and the Pittsfield and Williamstown Railroad. The records can be used to track the progression of these projects, and engineering innovation during the late 1800s to the early 1900s.

Magellan Systems Corporation GPS Records, 1986-2007

Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Founded in 1986, Magellan GPS is a company which, though not the first to develop GPS devices, has been an innovator in the field. It introduced the first handheld commercial GPS receiver and was also the first to make GPS devices affordable to consumers.

Finding aid available.

Donated to the Archives Center in 2010, by Gary Barta, Janice Itnyre, MiTAC Digital Corporation, Jean Tuck McGregor, Donald Rea, Edward F. Tuck, Lawrence R. Weill, and James P. White.

Archival materials documenting various aspects of the development of the Magellan GPS device, including the engineering, research, design, manufacturing, and marketing of the device. The collection includes correspondence and internal company reports and memoranda; design drawings; research notes; schematics; photographs, slides and negatives; video and audiocassettes; advertisements; articles and clippings; press releases; operational manuals; and miscellaneous papers.

Henry Peter Bosse

National Portrait Gallery
This self-portrait of Frank Jay Haynes shows the photographer at Norris Geyser Basin during the first American expedition into Yellowstone National Park during the winter. With ice on his beard, Haynes holds a notebook in front of him and looks into the cold wilderness. Haynes was the official photographer for both the Northern Pacific Railroad and Yellowstone National Park. Over the course of forty years, Haynes documented the development of the park and also offered photographic services to visitors. While Haynes captured the drama of the park's natural features by emphasizing its unique geological formations and grand vistas, his photographs also transformed the landscape into a tourist destination. Later, from a specially outfitted railroad car, he sold views of Yellowstone and created portraits of individuals in communities along the Northern Pacific's lines.

Designing Media: Rich Archuleta

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 Rich Archuleta, commonly known as Arch, thinks that electronic books and readers will gain widespread acceptance when three attributes come together-namely, consensus about the standards for electronic reading material, wireless communication technology, and new display technologies that are competitive with paper. Believing that this convergence is mature made him decide to leave his post as a senior vice president and general manager at Hewlett-Packard in order to become CEO of Plastic Logic in 2007. Arch joined HP in 1980, straight from the master's program in electrical engineering at Stanford University. He soon gained a reputation for excellent work in defining new products and business innovation and was quickly promoted to project management and then business leadership. In three years he transformed HP's Notebook PC business from twenty-seventh ranking into the top five. He became responsible for the standard Intel Architecture Server business and the Worldwide Volume Direct business, led planning for the merger integration of the HP and Compaq PC businesses, and was Mobile Computing Magazine's "Mobile Industry Person of the Year."

Gatewood Dunston Research Notes

National Museum of American History
Research notebooks of motion picture history scholar Gatewood Dunston, including letters, documents, photographs related to equipment and personalities associated with the history of the moving image.

Gatewood W. Dunston (1908-October 18, 1956) was a motion picture projectionist and later, a collector and scholar of the history of motion picture technology who bequeathed his important collection to the National Museum of American History.

Dunston worked the projection booth at the Granby and Lowe’s Theaters in Norfolk, Virginia, where he lived until his death. He was a friend of the early Western star William S. Hart, and obtained a number of Hart films, posters and even a pistol used by the actor in his films. It appears that Dunston began seriously researching and collecting movie cameras, projectors and memorabilia in the early 1940s, through correspondence with film historians Merritt Crawford and Terry Ramsaye, early projectionist Francis Doublier and a number of movie personalities and machine manufacturers. He was disheartened by the deaths of many motion picture pioneers in the 1930s and 40s, and by his perception that the history of motion picture technology was fading into obscurity. Dunston collected 35mm and 16mm copies of notable silent films, old projectors and cameras, glass theater slides, a small number of mutoscope items and editing equipment as well as stereo views and optical toys. As his health deteriorated in the early 1950s, he was forced to sell off many of his films, which were on nitrate and posed a fire hazard, and he wrote a will that stipulated his collection be left to the Smithsonian National Museum’s Section of Photography, now NMAH’s Photographic History Collection.

The Dunston accession, number 212314, included 864 items, comprised primarily of 294 theater slides, 162 stereo views, 150 lantern slides, 157 films, 59 early projectors, 6 editing machines, 6 posters, over 100 photographs and a mutoscope reel. Additionally, Dunston left his correspondence relating to the collection, which offers a look at this formative period in the historiography of motion pictures. The films, many of which were on nitrate, were transferred to the Library of Congress in the 1960s, but the remainder of the material was cataloged and is found at numbers 4994-5099 in the Photographic History Collection. The Dunston collection at the National Museum of American History remains one of the most complete and important showing the evolution and history of the motion picture projector, as well as the motion picture industry and art.

This finding aid is one in a series documenting the PHC’s Early Cinema Collection [COLL.PHOTOS.000018]. The cinema-related objects cover the range of technological innovation and popular appeal that defined the motion picture industry during a period in which it became the premier form of mass communication in American life, roughly 1885-1930. See also finding aids for Early Sound Cinema [COLL.PHOTOS.000040], Early Color Cinema [COLL.PHOTOS.000039], Early Cinema Film and Ephemera [COLL.PHOTOS.000038] and Early Cinema Equipment [COLL.PHOTOS.000037].

Nam June Paik Archive

Smithsonian American Art Museum
1-24 of 58 Resources