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John George Vasquez Papers,
1942-2005

Extent and Forms of Material: 1 cubic foot, includes photographs and prototypes (5 boxes)
Creator: John George Vasquez
Abstract: Papers document independent inventor John G. Vasquez. The papers include drawings, sketches, correspondence, notebooks, photographs, and prototypes for two of Vasquez’s inventions.
Repository: Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; archivescenter@si.edu; 202-633-3270; www.americanhistory.si.edu/archives
Collection Number: AC0942
Processing Note: Processed by Alison Oswald, archivist and Adrienne Cain (intern), 2007.
© 2010 by the Smithsonian Institution. All rights reserved.

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Information for users of the collection

Conditions Governing Access: The collection is open for research use.
Physical Access: Researchers must handle unprotected photographs with gloves.
Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use: Copyright held by the Smithsonian Institution. Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: fees for reproduction apply.
Preferred Citation: John G. Vasquez Papers, 1942-2005, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, box number X, folder number XX, digital file number XXXXXXXX

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In-depth information about the collection

Administrative/biographical history
Scope and content
System of arrangement
Acquisition information
Access points
Container listing

Administrative/biographical history

John George Vasquez was born in Meriden, Connecticut, on February 22, 1916 to Italian immigrants, John and Sebastiana (Larosa) Vasquez of Canicattini Bagni, Sicily. In the late 1920s, John apprenticed as a barber, which became a favorite lifelong hobby. He was later recognized as a “Master Barber.” Vasquez graduated from Hartford Public High School and attended the University of Connecticut.

In 1941, Vasquez married Lillia B. Schultz (b. 1920) of Wilmington, Vermont. They raised five children of their own: John E. Vasquez, Benedict R. Vasquez, Lewis P. Vasquez, Constance I. Sullivan, and Joseph D. Vasquez. Additionally, Vasquez and his wife were foster parents to at least fifty children in the State of Connecticut. The Vasquezes lived in Hartford until 1959 when they moved to Rocky Hill, Connecticut. Vasquez had a successful career designing and tool making at Pratt & Whitney Tool and Die Company of West Hartford. While working at Pratt & Whitney, John filed his first patent for a combined ash tray, and he began recording his thoughts, dreams, ideas and inventions in pocket-size notebooks. Vasquez holds three United States patents: Combined Ash Tray and Holder for Smokers’ Articles, 1945 (#D142,753); a Multiple Compartment Handbag, 1947 (#2,429,856); and Magnetic Retainer, 1950 (#2,521,885). Vasquez completed his career as a blueprint supervisor at Pratt & Whitney with over 30 years of service. John G. Vasquez died on January 6, 2006.


Scope and content

The papers document the work of independent inventor John G. Vasquez and include drawings, sketches, correspondence, notebooks, photographs, and a prototype of Vasquez’s invention, the Magnetic Retainer.

Series 1, Inventions and Ideas, 1942-2005, is divided into two subseries: Subseries 1, Chronological, 1942-2005 and Subseries 2, Miscellaneous, 1948-2003. The majority of the inventions and ideas consist of one file folder per invention/idea and contain sketches and/or notes. Many of the inventions/ideas are signed and dated by Vasquez. The random ideas folder contains a letterhead for “John G. Vasquez, inventor, designer of practical ideas for improved living.” Subseries 2, Miscellaneous, 1948-2003, is comprised of numbered lists of ideas. In some instances, the lists contain small sketches.

Series 2, Notebooks, 1960s-1970s, undated, consists of fourteen 3” x 5” spiral bound notebooks maintained by Vasquez to record his thoughts, dreams, ideas and inventions. The notebooks contain statistics, facts, newspaper clippings, motivational phrases, and other data such as how much energy an appliance uses or the qualities of a “good shop man.”

Series 3, Patents, 1945-1956, is divided into two subseries: Subseries 1, United States Patents, 1945, 1947, and Subseries 2, Poor Man’s Patents, 1955, 1956. The patents are arranged chronologically by patent number and there is one file folder of poor man’s patents. A "poor man's patent" is when an inventor writes a description of his/her invention and mails it to themselves or someone else by regular or certified mail to protect one’s invention. Unfortunately, this method does not protect an invention.

Series 4, News clippings, 1948, 1981, contain three newspaper articles from the Hartford Daily Courant about Vasquez.

Series 5, Photographs, 1948, undated, contains three black-and-white photographs; two document Vasquez, the other features his Multiple Compartment Handbag (United States Patent #2,429,856) of 1945.

Series 6, Artifacts, 1945 and 1947, contains two prototypes: a Magnetic Retainer (United States Patent #2,521,885) 1947, and a Combined Ash Tray and Holder for Smokers’ Articles, 1945 (United States Design Patent #D142, 753).


System of arrangement

The papers are arranged into six series.

Series 1: Inventions and Ideas, 1942-2005
Subseries 1, Chronological, 1942-2005
Subseries 2, Miscellaneous, 1948-2003
Series 2: Notebooks, 1960s-1970s, undated
Series 3:Patents, 1945-1956
Subseries 1, United States Patents, 1945, 1947
Subseries 2, Poor Man’s Patents, 1955, 1956
Series 4: News clippings, 1948, 1981
Series 5: Photographs, 1948, undated
Series 6: Prototypes, 1945 and 1947

Acquisition information

This collection was donated by Lillia Vasquez, widow of John G. Vasquez, 2007.


Access points

Subjects/Topical:
Inventors
Inventions

Form/Genre:
Notebooks
Photographs
Patents
Sketches


Container listing

Box Folder  
    SERIES 1, INVENTIONS AND IDEAS, 1942-2003
    Subseries 1, Chronological, 1942-2005
1 1 Index of inventions and ideas
  2 Close line cleaner, 1942
  3 Air brakes for aircraft carrier landings, 1943
  4 Cigars equipped with mouth piece, 1943
  5 Lawn mower sharpening rig, 1943
  6 Revolving tie rack and step thread, 1943
  7 Scissor sharpening clamp-flat, 1943
  8 Telescope indicator hand, 1943
  9 Random Idea: Not Named, 1943 January 15
  10 Penance prayer enumerator, logs last confession dates, 1943 January 2
  11 Dovetail measuring vernier, 1943 January 6
  12 Double end lathe, 1943 January 20
  13 Combination slide edge and moveable protractor, 1943 February 2
  14 Combination slide edge and moveable protractor, 1943 March 4
  15 Stay in file handle locking system, 1943 February 10
  16 Mill two flutes simultaneously, 1943 February 14
  17 Adjustable V and block gage, 1943 February 16
  18 Alphabetical playing card games, like rummy = spell word game, poker = vowels are high cards, 1943 February 19
  19 Vert shaper with rotating spin, 1943 February 19
  20 Turn buckles with handle extension wrench, 1943 March 1
  21 Thread chasers feeding radially, 1943 March 4
  22 Typewriter-continuous line or dotted line, 1943 March 4
  23 Smoker’s pipe with cooling handle, 15 March 1943
  24 Transparent shoe box, 1943 March 27
  25 Two and three grinding wheels-simultaneous, 1943 March 27
  26 Scale end shock absorber, 1943 March 27
  27 Crouton made from stale bread and cam for each width of tooth on back side and conveyor system in lapping, 1943 March 29
  28 Combination clothes pants hangers and bed back rest on back side of sheet, 1944
  29 Tent ash tray, log cabin ash tray, 1944
  30 Compass/protractor pivot pin, 1944 February 1
  31 Two-in-one band saw for log cutting, 1944 March 12
  32 Hydraulic jacks folding type, 1944 March 20
  33 Combination gear and pulley driver, 1944 March 24
  34 Bullet shell with rifling grooves through round bore, 1944 April 14
  35 Electricity, 1944 April 25
  36 Rivers multi-power electric generator dams, 1944 April 26
  37 Check net pipe tap, 1944 April 27
  38 Grinding wheel true wheel radius dresser, 1944 April 29
  39 Pipe plugs, pipe tobacco wrapped in cigar wrapper, 1944 November 17
  40 Oil, grease seals, 1944 November 28
  41 Turning tool holder, 1944 December 12
  42 Grinding taper holes in stationary parts, 1944 December 12
  43 The truly safe safety pins, 1945 July 24
  44 Amendment: US Patent Office (for cabinet magnets), 1947 February 26
  45 Random magnet idea, 1947 May 15
  46 Liquid tight and lock screws (studs), 1948 May 20
  47 Tobacco tippy stand, 1948 May 24
  48 Bolt with cemented rubber and thin metal washer (anchor) studs, 1948 November 9
  49 Mailing service-kiddie grams/kiddie mail, 1954
  50 Hypot-scale, 1954 February 4
  51 Air conditioner, 1954 March 8
  52 Sander with replaceable sanding cloth mesh, 1954 May 4
  53 Magna letter/magna word game, 1954 May 4
  54 Magna ball game, 1954 May 5
  55 Non-clog file, 1954 May 11
  56 Perforated metal file/cutter, 1954 May 11
  57 Magnetic hinge door closure, 1955 January 28
  58 Pill pulverizer, 1955 February 18
  59 In sequence blade, 1960 June 22
  60 Suggestions for shavers, 1960 June 22
  61 Solar energy calculations, 1981 February 9
  62 “Air-Gen Scoop,” 1981 March 4
  63 Organizing toolbox decals for drawers, 1992 June 3
  64 Flex-Hammer-use coil spring for handle, 1996 July 22
  65 Comments on weather, 1997
  66 “The Lifter-Upper Cone,” 1998 October 22
  67 Make your own “instant” pension, 1999 April 11
  68 Deck library stand, 2001
  69 Lightweight arthritic helper tools, 2003
  70 Multi-tool, 2004 August 3
  71 Idea: the hidden saw tool handle, 2004 September 19
  72 Potato holder when peeling a potato (attach to countertops or sinks) 2004 November
  73 6” x12” mirror to rearview; steam cookers for home; sock stretcher; Velcro replacement, 2004-2005
  74 The single golf club with moveable weight on the shaft, 2005 October 5
  75 3 and 4 sided picture frames, 2005 October 23
  76 Idea: “Angular Carpenter’s Square,” undated
  77 Idea: combination=screwdriver, file, scissors, undated
  78 Idea: combination hacksaw and file, undated
  79 Idea: combination-A ball point pen and a nail file, undated
  80 Idea “Flex-Hammer,” undated
  81 Idea: “Meteor” Spring Hammer, undated
  82 Idea: Rubber coated woodscrew, nails, undated
  83 Random ideas, undated
    Subseries 2, Miscellaneous, 1948-2003
4 2 Miscellaneous, 1948
1 84 Miscellaneous ideas,1996
  85 Miscellaneous ideas, 1997
  86 Miscellaneous ideas, 1998
  87 Miscellaneous ideas, 1999
  88 Miscellaneous ideas, 2000
  89 Miscellaneous ideas, 2001
  90 Miscellaneous ideas, 2002
  91 Miscellaneous ideas, 2003
2 1-3 SERIES 2, NOTEBOOKS, 1960s-1970s, UNDATED
    SERIES 3, PATENTS, 1945-1956
4 1 Subseries 1, United States Patents, 1945, 1947

1
4

92
1

Multiple Compartment Handbag, United States Patent #2,429,856, 1945
1 93 Magnetic Retainer, United States Patent #2,521,885, 1947
4 3 Subseries 2, Poor Man’s Patents, 1955, 1956
  94 SERIES 4, NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS, 1948, 1981
  95 SERIES 5, PHOTOGRAPHS, 1948, UNDATED
    SERIES 6, PROTOTYPES, 1945 AND 1947
5   Combined Ash Tray and Holder for Smokers’ Articles, 1945
3   Magnetic Retainer prototype, 1947

 

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Last Update: 19 Jan 2010

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