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Doodles, Drafts, and Designs: Industrial Drawings from the Smithsonian  
Explore the ExhibitionView the ObjectsInnovators Gallery



Introduction
Working It Out
Convincing
Controlling
Recording
Credits

Detail Images: (above) Singer sewing machine handle presentation board (detail), 1977 ; (upper right) Super-Elto trade literature cover (detail), 1927

CONVINCING

Industrial drawings convince. By allowing viewers to imagine a building or machine before it is built, drawings make the idea seem real and viable. Gone are the tentative lines of conceptual drawings. With their straight lines, careful shading, and right angles, these images make the technology appear almost inevitable.
Most of these drawings in this section of the exhibition were produced for presentation, either as submissions in competitions or to show potential or existing clients. The posters and product materials also visually confirm a product's appropriateness and desirability.

Alpha Portland Cement Co.
Alpha “The Guaranteed Portland” Cement Company, How to Use It
Easton, Pennsylvania: 1917.

Images courtesy Smithsonian Institution Libraries

Alpha “The Guaranteed Portland” Cement Company, How to Use It

Alpha “The Guaranteed Portland” Cement Company, How to Use It
Easton, Pennsylvania, 1917
This 96-page manual provides complete instructions for building with Alpha Cement. Detailed sketches, charts, photos, plans, and elevations guide readers through all types of projects, from bird baths and sidewalks to houses and garages.


Everett Huckel Bickley (1888-1972)
Various Devices from 1930s - 1940s
Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania: 1930s - 1940s.

Images courtesy National Museum of American History, Behring Center

Various Devices from 1930s - 1940s

Red eye signal device, late 1930s-early 1940s
pencil on paper
In addition to inventing, Everett Huckel Bickley (1888-1972) was active during World War II as a $1.00 A Year Man (a corporate executive who donated his time and expertise to the government’s war-planning efforts). He was also a member of the National Inventors Council, which reviewed war-related invention ideas. These drawings document some of his World War II-era innovations, perhaps drawn for presentation to the National Inventors Council.


C. Potter Jr. & Co.
C. Potter Jr. & Co. Manufacturers of Power Printing Presses and Steam Engines
New York, New York: 1877.

Images courtesy Smithsonian Institution Libraries

C. Potter Jr. & Co. Manufacturers of Power Printing Presses and Steam Engines

C. Potter Jr. & Co. Manufacturers of Power Printing Presses and Steam Engines
New York, New York, 1877
Customers in the market for a two-roller cylinder printing press are invited to read about the recent improvements “which have made it so justly celebrated and popular.” The catalog’s back cover features an image of Potter’s Rhode Island press works, located along a waterway and served by rail.


Matt Capozzi ; and Nathan Connolly
Accessible Snowboard Collection
Hampshire, Massachusetts: 1996.

Images courtesy National Museum of American History, Behring Center

Accessible Snowboard Collection

Accessible Snowboard, first concept drawing, 1996
ink, pencil, crayon on paper
In 1996, college students Matt Capozzi and Nathan Connolly began designing an accessible snowboard to share their love of the sport with disabled athletes. The seating assembly, an elevated platform above the board itself, allows a person with a lower body disability to snowboard with minimal assistance. Later designs incorporated a suspension system for shock absorption and a lift mechanism that raised the level of the snowboard seat so the rider could get on a chairlift without removing the board. Along with these drawings, Capozzi and Connolly created a prototype out of two-inch PVC piping, a camp chair, and glue. In 2001, “Capozzi et al.” received U.S. Patent #6,179,305 for their invention.


Elto Outboard Motor Company
Super-Elto
Milwaukee, Wisconsin: 1927.

Images courtesy Smithsonian Institution Libraries

Super-Elto

The Super-Elto
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1927
The cover of this outboard motor catalog suggests speed, adventure, and the cool blue waters of Wisconsin, home of Elto Outboard Motor Company. Inside, a young woman in a bathing suit carries the 55-pound motor, demonstrating its light weight and “easy one-hand carry.”


Enterprise Oil Burners
Enterprise Oil Burners for Perfect Combustion
San Francisco: 1931.

Images courtesy Smithsonian Institution Libraries

Enterprise Oil Burners for Perfect Combustion

Enterprise Oil Burners for Perfect Combustion
San Francisco, 1931
Suitable for homes, factories, yachts, and steamers, Enterprise oil burners are “hotter than Hades.” The inside copy attributes the growing popularity of oil-burning equipment to “permanently reduced prices of fuel oil and the apparently inexhaustible fields of petroleum.”


Evans Dual-purpose Streamlined Auto-Railers
Evans Dual-purpose Streamlined Auto-Railers
Detroit, Michigan: 1930s.

Images courtesy Smithsonian Institution Libraries

Evans Dual-purpose Streamlined Auto-Railers

Evans Dual-purpose Streamlined Auto-Railers
Detroit, Michigan, 1930s
Intended to help railroads compete for passenger and freight traffic, the futuristic “auto-railer” was designed to go on rail or road. Although the dual-purpose passenger buses, freight vehicles, and maintenance units never made it off the drawing board, their Art Deco curves and styling convey a sense of modernism and progress.


Faesch & Piccard
125,000-HP hydraulic scheme for Niagara Falls
1890.

Images courtesy National Museum of American History, Behring Center

125,000-HP hydraulic scheme for Niagara Falls

125,000-HP hydraulic scheme for Niagara Falls, 1890
Faesch & Piccard, Geneva, Switzerland
ink and watercolor on paper
This proposal for a hydroelectric plant at Niagara Falls was one of several submitted by U.S. and European firms to the International Niagara Commission, a U.S.-Canada joint venture responsible for developing the power generating plant there. The Swiss firm’s plan called for constructing the generating station near the top of the falls. A diversionary canal would feed river water into hydraulic turbines that would spin electricity-producing generators.

Faesch & Piccard were no newcomers to the hydroelectric industry, having already built a number of facilities in Europe. Although their overall plan was not adopted, they did receive the contract to construct the massive 5,000-horsepower waterwheels that powered the project.


Farrell-Cheek Steel Co.
Finest Steel Circular Products for Industry
Sandusky, Ohio: 1940s.

Images courtesy Smithsonian Institution Libraries

Finest Steel Circular Products for Industry

Farrell-Cheek Steel Co., Finest Steel Circular Products for Industry
Sandusky, Ohio, 1940s
This guide to wheels, rollers, sprockets, flanges, gears, and pinions is dedicated to the “master mechanic, maintenance man, plant engineer, and the man on the drawing board.” In addition to product data, it’s full of valuable tips, such as how to calculate areas, volumes, and material shrinkage.


Hendey Machine Tools
Hendey Machine Tools, catalog cover
Torrington, Connecticut: about 1936.

Images courtesy National Museum of American History, Behring Center

Hendey Machine Tools, catalog cover

Hendey Machine Tools, catalog cover
Torrington, Connecticut, about 1936
The Hendey Machine Company produced lathes, planers, and other machine tools. As apparent by the cover, the catalog clearly saw heavy use at a firm that bought and used Hendey machinery.


Henry Dreyfuss Associates
Presentation boards for Singer sewing machine handle
New York, New York: 1977.

Images courtesy National Museum of American History, Behring Center

Presentation boards for Singer sewing machine handle

Presentation boards for Singer sewing machine handle, 1977
Henry Dreyfuss Associates, New York, New York
ink and colored pencil paper
By the 1930s, a new profession - industrial design - began to influence the look of consumer and industrial products. Henry Dreyfuss Associates, whose pioneering firm is still active today, was the first to apply ergonomic principles in developing designs for products as diverse as sewing machines, telephones, and airplanes.

Henry Dreyfuss Associates was hired for a variety of Singer projects. These drawings show one of three options the firm created for a sewing machine handle.


Holly Manufacturing Company
Cross-compound pumping machine
1897.

Images courtesy National Museum of American History, Behring Center

Cross-compound pumping machine

Cross-compound pumping machine, 1897
Holly Manufacturing Company, Lockport, New York
ink on linen
Birdsill Holly (1820-1894) founded the Holly Manufacturing Company in 1859. For many years, the company specialized in waterworks pumping machinery, but eventually moved into the manufacture of entire water supply and fire protection systems.

Holly’s system provided domestic water supply and fire protection from the same pipes. Contrary to the practice of the period, Holly did not use separate mains, nor was water kept at the ready in reservoirs or standpipes. His powerful engines pumped water from its source directly into the mains. Engines and pumps adjusted automatically to meet the increased water requirements of the fire service side of the system; when the emergency was over, they resumed supplying a lower volume.

This drawing is part of a set for a proposed pumping engine in Baltimore, Maryland. Finely drawn and shaded, the rendering no doubt made a good impression, helping to convince the city that the firm knew what it was doing.


Kalamazoo Tank & Silo Co.
Kalamazoo Tank & Silo Co.
Kalamazoo, Michigan: 1909.

Images courtesy Smithsonian Institution Libraries

Kalamazoo Tank & Silo Co.

Kalamazoo Tank & Silo Co.
Kalamazoo, Michigan, about 1909
Highlighting a gold medal from the 1903 St. Louis World’s Fair added credibility to Kalamazoo’s products. So does mentioning satisfied customers—like Battle Creek, Michigan’s Postum Cereal Co., which stored Grape Nuts in a Kalamazoo silo.


Lockwood, Greene & Co.
Hydroelectric generating plant, Columbia Mills Company
Columbia, South Carolina: 1894.

Images courtesy National Museum of American History, Behring Center

Hydroelectric generating plant, Columbia Mills Company

Hydroelectric generating plant, Columbia Mills Company, Columbia, South Carolina, 1894
Lockwood, Greene & Co., Providence, Rhode Island
ink on linen
The Columbia Mills Company powerhouse at Columbia, S.C., marked a radical departure from textile mill design and construction of the past. The first textile mill designed and built to be powered by electricity, it had its own hydroelectric generating plant, shown here. This allowed individual machines to be powered by individual electric motors. No longer would a factory building have to be encumbered by belting, ropes, and the shafting that delivered power from a central steam engine or waterwheel to each machine.


George S. Morison
Proposal for an "American Tower"
1891.

Images courtesy National Museum of American History, Behring Center

Proposal for an

Proposal for an “American Tower,” 1891
George S. Morison, Chicago, Illinois
ink on linen
In 1891, the directors of the World's Columbian Exposition challenged American engineers to devise a monumental work for the Chicago fair that would rival the Eiffel Tower, the icon of the Paris Universal Exposition of 1889. The competition inspired many proposals, and plans were submitted for a variety of structures, including several towers and globes. None surpassed Eiffel’s tower in novelty or imagination, including this imitative design by George S. Morison (1842-1903), one of the nation’s leading railroad bridge engineers.

Then George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr. (1859-1896), a relatively obscure civil engineer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, submitted his winning design. His revolving Ferris wheel has thrilled millions of fair-goers for more than a century.


Pratt, Read and Company
Piano action
Deep River, Connecticut: 1906.

Images courtesy National Museum of American History, Behring Center

Piano action

Piano action, 1906
Pratt, Read and Company, Deep River, Connecticut
printed ink on paper
Pratt, Read and Company was once the world's largest producer of ivory products. After beginning with the manufacture of small items such as combs, collar buttons, and toothpicks, the company moved on to the production of piano and organ key veneers ("ivories”), and soon dominated the field. Eventually Pratt, Read and Company began the production of complete piano and organ keyboards and actions, becoming one of the major American suppliers to the piano industry.

This drawing of an upright piano action may have been used to demonstrate to potential purchasers the complexity and quality of the product.


Earl Silas Tupper (1907-1983)
Paint pot from "Invention Diary and Sketchbook"
Leominster, Massachusetts: 1939.

Images courtesy National Museum of American History, Behring Center

Paint pot from

Paint pot from “Invention Diary and Sketchbook,” 1939
Earl S. Tupper, Leominster, Massachusetts
pencil on paper
New England-born and raised, Earl Silas Tupper (1907-1983) spent years developing a wide range of inventive ideas before achieving fame as the inventor of Tupperware. His “Invention Diary and Sketchbook,” from which this page is taken, shows an endlessly inventive mind at work, each page expressing not only mechanical ingenuity but also a constant interest in product marketability.


Warren and Wetmore/Reed and Stem
Proposed elevation for Grand Central Terminal Station
New York, New York: 1904-1905.

Images courtesy National Museum of American History, Behring Center

Proposed elevation for Grand Central Terminal Station

Proposed elevation for Grand Central Terminal Station, Vanderbilt Avenue, 1905 (detail)
ink and watercolor on linen
New York's first Grand Central Station was begun in 1869 and completed in 1871. By the late 1890s, the station was too small and badly outdated. A massive reconstruction was barely completed when railroad owners decided that a totally new station, office space, and rail yards were needed to meet the growing demand for rail service.
Plans for the new Grand Central Terminal Station underwent many changes between 1903, when construction commenced, and 1913, when the building opened for business. Each design modification was drawn and studied with countless revisions as work on the monumental structure progressed. These drawings represent two of the many steps along the way to the final design.


Willis J. Perkins & Co.
Improved Shingle Machinery
Grand Rapids, Michigan: 1880s.

Images courtesy Smithsonian Institution Libraries

Improved Shingle Machinery

Willis J. Perkins & Co., Improved Shingle Machinery
Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1880s
Dedicated to "Our Patrons --The Lumbermen," Perkins’s illustrated catalog of improved shingle mill machinery combines sales pitches and price lists, testimonials, operating instructions, and helpful hints, such as how to build a mill or calculate the speed of pulleys.


Witherby, Rugg and Richardson
Broadside
Worcester, Massachusetts: probably 1860s.

Images courtesy National Museum of American History, Behring Center

Broadside

Broadside, probably 1860s
Witherby, Rugg and Richardson, Worcester, Massachusetts
printed ink on paper
Witherby, Rugg and Richardson manufactured a wide range of woodworking machines. This poster, which may have been posted at trade fairs or sent to potential purchasers, showed off their latest products.


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