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Special Collections Research Center

Fred H. Colvin Papers

Kelvin Smith Library: Special Collections Research Center

(1880-1965)

Biography | Scope and Content | Boxlist

Quantity: 6.5 linear feet

Restrictions: The Special Collections Research Center is open to any interested researcher upon presentation of a valid CASE ID or other valid official identification card.  The Center is open to other researchers by appointment only.

Acquisition: The collection was donated to the Case Archive of Contemporary Science and Technology by Fred H. Colvin in 1965.

 

Biography: Fred H. Colvin (1867-1965)

Fred H. Colvin was born in Sterling, Massachusetts, on October 5, 1867. After completing grammar school in 1883, he started learning the machinist's trade as an apprentice at the Rue Manufacturing Company in Philadelphia. Colvin worked at Rue Manufacturing for ten years during which time he began writing articles for a number of technical periodicals. His talent as a writer led to a prolific career as editor, author and co-author of many publications.  Colvin’s tenure in technical publishing corresponded to the golden age of the machine tool industry in America.   In 1894, he became the first editor of the trade journal Machinery, in New York.  In 1907 he joined the Hill Publishing Company (later McGraw-Hill) as associate editor and then editor of the American Machinist and served in that position until his retirement in 1937.  After retirement he continued his active connection with the paper as editor emeritus and continued contributing to the McGraw-Hill catalog of machine tool reference works.  His best known work is The American Machinists' Handbook published and revised from 1908-1945 which he co-authored with Frank Stanley.  Colvin played important roles in the American armament efforts in World War I and World War II. His autobiography: Sixty Years with Men and Machines, appeared in 1947.  A volume of poetry: Safety Valve, was published in 1952.  Illness and death in 1965 left his final work History of the American Machine Tool Industry unfinished.

Scope and Content

The Fred H. Colvin Collection consists primarily of correspondence, clippings, typescripts and photographs documenting the history and development of the machine tool industry and to Colvin’s career as an editor, author and co-author in the fields of technical writing, poetry and history.  The bulk of this collection consists of material collected by Colvin for his unpublished History of the American Machine Tool Industry.

The papers are arranged in three series:

Series 1

Correspondence on general and specific subjects, arranged alphabetically by correspondent within a subject group

1883-1965

Series II

Written works of Fred H. Colvin, both literary and technical, including his notes and source material for his works

1888-1962

Series III

Photographs and glass plate negatives consisting of images of machines used as illustrations and images of Fred H. Colvin, his home, family and colleagues.

1880-1964

 

Boxlist

Box

Folder

Folder Title

 

Series I: Correspondence. 1883-1965

 

1

1

General Correspondence. A-E. 1911-1962

1

2

General Correspondence.  F-Z. 1911-1962.

1

3

Correspondence Warner Medal. 1942

1

4

Correspondence Warner Medal. 1942

1

5

Correspondence Honorary Degree of Mechanical Engineer from Stevens Institute of Technology, 1944-1948

1

6

Correspondence and printed matter. 1929 World Engineering Congress, Tokyo. 1927-1929; 1953

1

7

Scrapbook. 1929 World Engineering Congress, Tokyo, 1929.

1

8

Printed matter.  1912-1952

2

1

Correspondence. Duties in World War One and Two. 1917-20; 1940-1945

2

2

Correspondence. Safety Valve. By Fred H. Colvin (poetry). 1952-1955

2

3

Correspondence.  Sixty Years with Men and Machines. By Fred H. Colvin. 1947-1953

2

4

Correspondence. Transfer of The Fred H. Colvin Collection to the Case Archive of Contemporary Science and Technology. 1962-1965

2

5

Correspondence. Unda Hamren (close friend and literary supporter). 1955-1960

2

6

Income tax returns. 1929-1956

2

7

Miscellaneous household finances. 1952-1959

2

8

Articles, clippings removed from correspondence. 1883-1960

 

Series II: Written Works. 1882-1962

 

3

1

Articles written by Colvin. 1908-1946

3

2

Articles on the role of the foreman. circa 1919

3

3

Articles. A-Labor Relations. 1918-1956

3

4

Articles. Railroads and machinery. 1937-1959

3

5

Memoirs. Miscellaneous Typescript. drafts. 1893-1960

3

6

Poetry. 1918-1955

4

1

Research material collected by Colvin for History of the American Machine Tool Industry. A-Br. 1924-1960

4

2

Research material collected by Colvin for History of the American Machine Tool Industry.  Bu-Ci. 1942-1960

4

3

Research material collected by Colvin for History of the American Machine Tool Industry. Cl-De. circa 1929-1960

4

4

Research material collected by Colvin for History of the American Machine Tool Industry. Do-E. 1955-1959

5

1

Research material collected by Colvin for History of the American Machine Tool Industry. F. 1960

5

2

Research material collected by Colvin for History of the American Machine Tool Industry. G-Gl. 1947

5

3

Research material collected by Colvin for History of the American Machine Tool Industry. Gi-J. 1956-1957

5

4

Research material collected by Colvin for History of the American Machine Tool Industry. K. 1956-1960

6

1

Research material collected by Colvin for History of the American Machine Tool Industry. L-M. 1956-1960

6

2

Research material collected by Colvin for History of the American Machine Tool Industry. N-R. 1947-1961

6

3

Research material collected by Colvin for History of the American Machine Tool Industry. S. 1928-1961

6

4

Research material collected by Colvin for History of the American Machine Tool Industry. T-Y. 1957-1959

6

5

Research material collected by Colvin for History of the American Machine Tool Industry. Aviation. 1926-1956

6

6

Research material collected by Colvin for History of the American Machine Tool Industry. Automotive Industry. 1934-1962

6

7

Research material collected by Colvin for History of the American Machine Tool Industry. Industrial Management and Labor Relations. 1919-1952

7

1

Research material collected by Colvin for History of the American Machine Tool Industry. Machine Tools I. 1896-1962

7

2

Research material collected by Colvin for History of the American Machine Tool Industry. Machine Tools II. 1931-1960

7

3

Research material collected by Colvin for History of the American Machine Tool Industry. Machine Tools III. 1888-1896

7

4

Research material collected by Colvin for History of the American Machine Tool Industry. Machine Tools IV. 1923-1961

7

5

Research material collected by Colvin for History of the American Machine Tool Industry. Measurement. 1904-1960

7

6

Research material collected by Colvin for History of the American Machine Tool Industry. Numerical Control and Automation. 1955-1960

7

7

Research material collected by Colvin for History of the American Machine Tool Industry. Railroads. 1930-1959

7

8

Research material collected by Colvin for History of the American Machine Tool Industry. Miscellaneous. 1911-1960

8

1

Typescript. draft. History of the American Machine Tool Industry. Foreword. circa 1957-1960

8

2

Typescript. draft. History of the American Machine Tool Industry. Chapter 1: From the Beginning. circa 1957-1960

8

3

Typescript. draft. History of the American Machine Tool Industry. Lathes. circa 1957-1960

 8

4

Typescript. draft. History of the American Machine Tool Industry. The Master Tools of Industry. circa 1957-1960

8

5

Typescript. draft. History of the American Machine Tool Industry. Gearing. circa 1957-1960

8

6

Typescript. draft. History of the American Machine Tool Industry. Planners, Shapers, Slotters. circa 1957-1960

8

7

Typescript. draft. History of the American Machine Tool Industry. Screws and Screw Threads. circa 1957-1960

8

8

Typescript. draft. History of the American Machine Tool Industry. Machine Tool Beginnings. circa 1957-1960

8

9

Typescript. draft. History of the American Machine Tool Industry. Development of Steam Power. circa 1957-1960

8

10

Typescript. draft. History of the American Machine Tool Industry. Automatic Screw Machinery. circa 1957-1960

8

11

Typescript. draft. History of the American Machine Tool Industry. Drilling, Boring and Reaming. circa 1957-1960

8

12

Typescript. draft. History of the American Machine Tool Industry. Milling. circa 1957-1960

8

13

Typescript. draft. History of the American Machine Tool Industry. Grinding. circa 1957-1960

8

14

Typescript. draft. History of the American Machine Tool Industry. Early American Machine Industry. circa 1957-1960

8

15

Typescript. draft. History of the American Machine Tool Industry. Automobiles. circa 1957-1960

8

16

Typescript. draft. History of the American Machine Tool Industry. Management. circa 1957-1960

8

17

Typescript. draft. History of the American Machine Tool Industry. Measurement. circa 1957-1960

8

18

Typescript. History of the American Machine Tool Industry. circa 1960 (photocopy)

9

1

Notes on new book. History of the American Machine Tool Industry.  1956

9

2

Notes on draft material. History of the American Machine Tool Industry. 1956

9

3

Outline of contents. History of the American Machine Tool Industry. 1960

9

4

Chapter drafts. History of the American Machine Tool Industry. 1960

9

5

The Story of Measurement. History of the American Machine Tool Industry. 1960

9

6

Chapter notes I. History of the American Machine Tool Industry. 1956-1960

9

7

Chapter notes II. History of the American Machine Tool Industry. 1956-1960

10

1

Notes.  Chapter 1: From the Beginning. History of the American Machine Tool Industry 1960

10

2

Chapter drafts I. History of the American Machine Tool Industry. 1956-1960

10

3

Chapter drafts II. History of the American Machine Tool Industry. 1956-1960

10

4

Chapter drafts III. History of the American Machine Tool Industry. 1956-1960

10

5

Philadelphia and Machine Tool Development. History of the American Machine Tool Industry. 1960

10

6

Automobiles. History of the American Machine Tool Industry. 1960

10

7

Automation. History of the American Machine Tool Industry. 1961

10

8

Machine Tools. 1956-1960

 

Series III: Photographs and Glass Plate Negatives. 1880-1964

 

11

1

Machines. Aircraft. 1882-1929

11

2

Machines. Arbor press designed by Fred H. Colvin. July 1, 1900

11

3

Machines. Automobiles. 1898

11

4

Machines. Bicycle. no date

11

5

Machines. Engines. 1903 and no date

11

6

Machines. Gear cutters used in 1841 and 1843 machine shops. circa 1890

11

7

Machines. Henry Ford Museum images. 1959

11

8

Machines. Historic machine shops; scenes from an old shop.  no date

11

9

Machines. Home and specialty workshops. ca.1880-1950

11

10

Machines. Lathes. 1896-1937

11

11

Machines. Locomotives.  no date

11

12

Machines. “Machine Tools of Industry – How They Have Changed”  print and negative of typescript and illustrations.  no date

11

13

Machines. The Mechanics Fountain by Douglas Tilden. 1901

11

14

Machines.  Milling machines. ca. 1903-1945

11

15

Machines. Modern tool making machines. ca. 1956-1958

11

16

Machines. Planers used in 1836 and 1855.  ca. 1890

11

17

Machines. Plum bob weights. no date

11

18

Machines. Slotter. no date

11

19

Machines. WWI Winchester Army Company, men on break. 1917

11

20

Personal. Colleagues.  ca. 1916-1960

11

21

Personal. Events. Banquet in honor of Charles A. Lindbergh. New York, June 16, 1927

11

22

Personal. Events. Worchester Reed Warner medal award ceremony.  December, 1942

11

23

Personal. Events. Stevens Institute of Technology honorary degree. October 28, 1944

11

24

Personal. Events. Franklin Institute silver award dinner. February, 1956

11

25

Personal. Events. Franklin Institute golden key dinner. 1958

11

26

Personal. Family automobiles. ca. 1915-1960

11

27

Personal. Family photographs. ca. 1942 and no date

11

28

Personal. Portraits of Fred H. Colvin. 1892-1964

11

29

Personal. Publicity photographs of Fred H. Colvin. ca.1912-1958

11

30

Personal. Home of Fred H. Colvin “Squanset” ca.1930-1960

12

1

Machines. Machine gear.  no date. glass plate negative

12

2

Machines. Arbor press designed by Fred H. Colvin. July 1, 1900. glass plate negative

12

3

Machines. Drill press (Silver and Gray). no date. glass plate negative

12

4

Machines. Grinding machine. no date. glass plate negative

12

5

Machines. Horizontal drilling machine (Silver and Gray) no date. glass plate negative

12

6

Machines. Indexing head plain miller (Wm. Mason, Taunton, MA) no date. glass plate negative

12

7

Machines. Index plate, large. (Corlas Engine Co.) no date. glass plate negative

12

8

Machines. Lathes, blocked up engine lathe note vertical frame at left in day, bend at right. no date. glass plate negative

12

9

Machines. Lathes, special machines note vertical forma t left in day, bent at right. no date. glass plate negative

12

10

Machines. Machined parts. no date. glass plate negative

12

11

Machines. Milling machines. no date. glass plate negative

12

12

Machines. Milling machines in use in 1843 (Silver and Gray) no date. glass plate negative

12

13

Machines. Milling machines, boring mill (Silver and Gray) no date. glass plate negative

12

14

Machines. Milling machines (Silver and Gray) 1895. glass plate negative

12

15

Machines. Planer (Silver and Gray) 1895. glass plate negative

12

16

Machines. Planer (Silver and Gray) 1895. glass plate negative

12

17

Personal. Birthplace, Sterling, MA. no date. glass plate negative

12

18

Personal. Shop room, 214 Pembroke Place, August 3, 1889
“Where I worked 1883-1892”. glass plate negative

12

19

Personal. Snow plow in blizzard of March 12, 1888. glass plate negative

12

20

Personal. Charlie in group. no date. glass plate negative

12

21

Personal. “I’m not a monkey” two children seated in a stairwell.  no date. glass plate negative

12

22

Personal. “Checkers” man and boy playing checkers.  no date. glass plate negative

12

23

Personal. “Checkers” man and boy playing checkers.  no date. glass plate negative

12

24

Personal. “Taxed and untaxed” Cathedral and private home.  no date. glass plate negative

12

25

Personal. “Clouds on water, coming home from races” sailboat, October 3, 1901. glass plate negative

12

26

Personal. “Mother and Henry in auto” 1901. glass plate negative

12

27

Personal. “Mother and Henry in auto” 1901. glass plate negative

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