Lemelson Fellows :: Smithsonian Lemelson Center
Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, Smithsonian Beanie Illustration
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Research Opportunities

The Lemelson Center furthers professional development in the history of invention through fellowships, travel to collections awards, and archival internships. Above: Workshop participants go behind-the-scenes in the NMAH costume and textile collections. Smithsonian photo by Rick Vargas.

Fellowships | Travel to collections awards | Archival internships

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Lemelson Center Fellows 1996 - present

Caroline Acker (2003-04), associate professor of history, Carnegie Mellon University
Caroline Acker's research interests stem from her experiences as a historian of medicine and as a public health advocate. The founder of several needle exchange programs, Acker is well informed about the transmission of HIV among street drug users. Her fellowship project will reconstruct how injection drug users have used syringes and other drug paraphernalia since 1900, with an emphasis on how knowledge about how to use this equipment was transmitted among networks of injection drug users. Her work adds the experiences of illicit drug users to an area of medical technology where prior historical attention has focused solely on medical use.

Aaron Alcorn (2005-06), Ph.D. candidate, Case Western Reserve University
Alcorn’s dissertation on model building explores the roles that model airplanes played in creating and distributing knowledge about flight in the United States during the twentieth century. Alcorn seeks to examine the potential connections between childhood model building and aeronautical engineering within the broader context of a culture of “inventive boyhood” in the early twentieth century. Alcorn will use a wide variety of museum collections, including patent models, hobbyist literature and the recently acquired Revel collection to explore the links between professional practice and popular culture.

Harry Allen (2004-05), freelance journalist
Harry Allen is interested in end-user modifications of computer games as a form of customization or tinkering. In his project, “Architecture and Design in Quake III Arena: Maps & Levels,” Allen compares modifications of computer software by gamers to other innovative endeavors, such as hot rod customization and jazz improvisation. Allen hopes to identify similarities among these seemingly unrelated activities to better understand human efforts to create unique and individualized forms.

Regina Blaszczyk (1999-2000), assistant professor of history and American studies, Boston University
Today, Americans are accustomed to a startlingly bright material world; fashion hues change with the seasons and coordinate with all other colors. Yet few stop to ponder the roots of the "color revolution" that transformed material life in the 20th century. Not surprisingly, the quest for fashion colors that were both predictable and playful originated in American industry during the heyday of scientific management and mass production during the 1910s-and, ironically, during the golden age of batch production. At the moment when Frederick W. Taylor's followers pressed for "one best way," American consumers accustomed to visual variety demanded appliances, clothing, and automobiles that expressed individuality and personal taste. By the post-World War II era, American manufacturers and retailers fully recognized how to use color for gaining competitive advantage as a mechanism for adding novelty to otherwise uniform products. Remarkably adaptive, color provided designers with the means for reconciling consumers' desires for differentiation with manufacturers' interest in standardization.

During her fellowship at the Lemelson Center, Regina Blaszczyk will be working on a book on "The Color Revolution" that explores the pull and tug between these contradictory strains in American business and culture. Questions about the relationships among design, innovation, and consumerism rest at the heart of her project. Using artifacts, company records, trade journals, personal papers, oral histories, and organizational archives as primary sources, she examines the creation and standardization of new colors as inventive processes, considers the cultural tensions embodied in color, and looks at forecasting as an innovative task.

Andrew Bozanic (2008), Ph.D. candidate, Hagley Program, University of Delaware
Bozanic’s dissertation examines the interplay between makers and users in the social construction of the acoustic guitar in the 20th century, from innovative production techniques and designs to inventive new playing styles. From 1880 to 1970, American manufacturers and musicians influenced the composition, style, and sound of acoustic instruments, resulting in a uniquely flexible and distinctly American guitar that was easy to play, hard to break, and extremely portable. In addition to the museum’s collection of musical instruments, Bozanic will also examine the business records of guitar manufacturers, periodicals, sheet music, oral histories, and sound recordings.

Richard Candee (1996-97), professor of American and New England studies and director of the Preservation Studies Program at Boston University
Candee holds doctorates from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of York, England, and has written extensively on New England industry, architecture, and historic preservation. As a Lemelson Center Fellow, Candee will produce a journal article on Invention and the Mechanization of 19th Century American Knitting using the patent model, costume, and trade catalogue resources at the National Museum of American History.

W. Bernard Carlson (2005-06), associate professor, University of Virginia
Carlson is preparing a book-length biography of American inventor Nikola Tesla which explores the role of persuasion in the inventive process. Successful inventors, Carlson argues, go beyond the act of invention by persuading others to publicize, invest in, and use a new technology. He seeks to understand precisely how these inventor-entrepreneurs use demonstrations, prototypes, photographs, and interviews to connect new devices with themes and values in popular culture. Carlson will use Tesla-related artifacts in the electricity collections, 19th-century electrical books and Tesla correspondence in the Dibner Library, and the Swezey collection in the Archives Center to explore Tesla’s work. He will also make use of the personal papers of other inventors in the collections to more broadly understand how inventors promote their work.

Hyungsub Choi (2006-07), Ph.D. candidate, Johns Hopkins University
Choi is looking at the creation and circulation of transistor manufacturing knowledge in the midst of national innovation systems that were undergoing extensive post-war transformation in the U.S. and Japan. Choi argues that the technical challenge of mass producing a new technology, in combination with perceived national security needs, facilitated a rearrangement of the U.S. and Japanese political economy. In addition to the museum’s collections of early transistors, Choi will also make use of the “chip” collection, and the Integrated Circuit Engineering Corporation records in the Archives Center.

Lisa D. Cook (2013-2014), associate professor, Economics and International Relations, Michigan State University
Cook’s research project was entitled “The Idea Gap in Pink and Black,” which sought to explain why the commercialization of patents earned by women and African Americans have traditionally lagged behind the overall commercialization rates for U.S. inventors. During her fellowship tenure, Cook consulted the collections of several women and African-American inventors, including Patricia Bath, Marion O’Brien Donovan, Nathanial Mathis, and David Gittens.

Joseph Corn (2006-07), senior lecturer, Stanford University
Corn has received both Lemelson and Smithsonian fellowships to conduct research for his book User-Unfriendly: Consumer Struggles with Personal Technology, which explores the difficulties consumers have had buying, learning to operate, and in general understanding and living with complex technologies. He will focus on three crucial devices: the sewing machine, the automobile, and the personal computer, which have each influenced American life in very different ways. It is the sewing machine, one of the first technologies to enter the home that came with tools and an owner’s manual, that Corn intends to focus on during his Lemelson fellowship. He will examine the museum’s collection of sewing machines, as well as trade literature and instruction manuals in the Archives Center.

Timothy Davis (1998-99), historian, Historic American Engineering Record, National Park Service
National parks and automobiles, two of America's most popular cultural icons, have been inextricably related throughout the history of American park development. But the relationship of the road to the park has been filled with tension. How do we protect our national parks while providing access to the people who support them? Can nature and culture co-exist? Are nature reserves really "natural" if visitors can drive to and through them?

The creative solutions of America's park road designers to these questions and challenges is the focus of Davis's research. He shows how park road development has evolved over time, and demonstrates that change and innovation are as much a part of the national park experience as the seemingly constant and immutable natural landscape.

Gregory Dreicer (1997-98), independent curator and historian
Dreicer is exploring the interrelationships that advanced a landmark development in modern history--the invention of the frame structures that characterize our world. Dreicer presents wooden and metal building systems as structural networks whose creation and development were part of larger networks of invention, transportation, and industrialization. The lattice, a type of truss bridge, is featured in the scholarly book, exhibition, and interactive materials that comprise his project.

Samuel Dodd (2011), Ph.D. candidate, Architectural History and Theory, University of Texas, Austin
Dodd’s dissertation examines how professional architects and the American construction industry used the emerging medium of television to advance their socio-political aims and promote a popular ideology of modern American building and architecture. Dodd closely examined the National Association of Manufacturers’ Industry on Parade film series, a syndicated public affairs television program produced by NAM as "a pictorial review of events in business and industry." Dodd specifically focused on 56 episodes that highlighted the manufacture of building materials, the construction and building trades, domestic and suburban life, and general architecture. By closely examining and comparing the various episodes for their visual format, narrative structure, cultural references, and televisual techniques, Dodd found that the Industry on Parade series helped empower viewers with information, while “humanizing” American industry. As such, the series served as an important antecedent for television channels such as the DIY Network and HGTV, and programs like How It's Made.

Patrick Feaster (2011), instructor, Folklore and Ethnomusicology, Indiana University
Feaster worked closely with Division of Work and Industry curator Carlene Stephens to study and catalog some of the NMAH’s early experimental sound recordings made by Alexander Graham Bell, Emile Berliner and Charles Sumner Tainter in the 1880s and 1890s. Feaster also consulted the Tainter and William J. Hammer collections in the NMAH Archives Center, as well as the Berliner and Bell papers at the Library of Congress. Feaster methodically linked his physical examination of the recording media with corresponding laboratory notes and journal entries he found in the inventors’ written archival records. Additionally, using sophisticated optical techniques, Feaster attempted to recover, playback, and interpret some of these early recordings without touching or damaging the original cylinders and discs. His work will eventually result in a published, comprehensive discography of the NMAH’s approximately 400 recordings, which will serve a resource for future researchers.

Kathleen Franz (1999-2000), Brown University
"There was this about a Model T," wrote E.B. White in 1936, "the purchaser never regarded his purchase as a complete, finished product. When you bought a Ford, you figured you had a start-a vibrant, spirited framework to which could be screwed an almost limitless assortment of decorative and functional hardware. Driving away from the agency É you were already full of creative worry." In his sentimental eulogy for the archetype of Fordist production, White demonstrated that automotive design was not completely determined at the point of production, nor did it exclude users. Between 1915 and the early years of the Depression, travelers often became amateur inventors as they tinkered with the bodies of their automobiles.

Kathleen Franz used her time as a Lemelson Fellow to expand her research on middle-class tinkerers who patented their ideas for automotive accessories between 1910 and 1936. Her project interpreted playful invention as tinkering, which was both a leisure time activity, something middle-class Americans did for pleasure as well as a form of creative play that allowed consumers to redesign the car to fit their needs as travelers. Franz's research built on her dissertation and resulted in the book Tinkering: Consumers Reinvent the Early Automobile (2005).

Daniel Freund (2005-06), Ph.D. candidate, Columbia University
Freund’s dissertation examines the commodification of natural light in American cities in the early twentieth century, at a time when concerns that air pollution and the trend towards skyscrapers were negatively affecting the health and well being of city dwellers, especially children. While at the Lemelson Center, Freund will explore technologies invented to counter the perceived problems of lack of sunlight, including special window glass, light therapy, and vitamin-D fortified foods. He will make use of a wide variety of museum collections, from lamps in the electricity collections to advertising and the Nela Park (General Electric) archival records, to name a few.

Jacob Gaboury (2013-2014), Ph.D., candidate, Media, Culture, and Communications, New York University
Gaboury’s research project was entitled “Image Objects: Computer Graphics at the University of Utah, 1965-1979.” Jacob studied a cohort of computer scientists at the University of Utah who went on to found several pioneering graphics firms, including Jim Clark (Silicon Graphics), John Warnock (Adobe) and Edwin Catmull (Pixar). At NMAH, Jacob consulted the American National Standards Institute Collection, and the trade catalogs of several computer firms, including Atari and Evans & Sutherland. Jacob’s research on the technical community at Utah has strong resonance with the Center’s Places of Invention exhibition.

Sarah Gillespie (2004-05), Ph.D. candidate, CUNY Graduate Center
While Samuel Morse is recognized as an important 19th century American painter and inventor of the telegraph, Sarah Gillespie seeks to explore his contributions to early American photography. Morse was instrumental in introducing the process of daguerreotypy in the United States soon after the invention was announced in France in 1839. Gillespie will study the Morse and Draper collections housed in the museum’s Photo History division to document Morse’s technical innovations as well as his artistic uses of photography.

Charles Gillmor (2004-05), professor of history of science, Wesleyan University
Charles Gillmor seeks to document the life of Henry Middleton, amateur inventor and student of nineteenth century physicist, James Clerk Maxwell. A devotee of Victorian science born and raised in South Carolina, Middleton applied for or received fifty patents over his lifetime, for everything from a surveying level to a flying machine. Gillmor’s study of Middleton’s career as an amateur inventor and disciple of Darwin offers perspective on the role of science in the American south after the Civil War.

Rachel Gross (2013-2014), Ph.D. candidate, History, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Gross’s project was entitled “From Buckskin to Gore-Tex: Consumption as a Path to Mastery in 20th c. American Wilderness Recreation.” She examined how Americans paradoxically invented and relied upon all kinds of high-tech inventions like sleeping bags, portable camping stoves, and waterproof jackets to escape the modern world and get “back to nature.” During her fellowship, Gross consulted the collections and trade catalogs of several outdoor equipment inventors and outfitters, including the Aladdin Industries, Inc. records, the DuPont Nylon collection, and the Leonard Karr collection.

Raiford Guins (2010), assistant professor, State University of New York, Stony Brook
Guins research explores the study of video/computer game history with special emphasis on the methods necessary for preservation of computer games. Guins used the Ralph Baer Papers and related artifacts, as a specific case study for his forthcoming book project Arcadeology: Excavations in Video Game History, Memory, and Preservation. Specifically, he examines early models of TV games and components prior to the production and marketing of Baer’s invention of the Odyssey for Magnavox. Guins also explores how institutional archives illustrate how documentation strategies and curatorial models are employed on complex artifacts like video/computer games.

Aimi Hamraie (2012-13), Ph.D. candidate, Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, Emory University
Hamraie explored the role of scientific knowledge production in the invention of assistive technologies and the emergence of the Universal Design (UD) movement. She examined several collections, including the Accessible Snowboard Collection, the Van Phillips Video Oral History and Papers, the Safko International, Inc. Records, and the Jose L. Hernandez-Rebollar Innovative Lives Presentation. She also worked with the Smithsonian Accessibility Office to understand how universal design considerations have been built into past exhibitions and the Museum itself.

Kristen Haring (2000-01), Ph.D. candidate, History of Science, Harvard University
"Amateurs matter in technology," asserts Kristen Haring. "Engineers and big business do not simply hand down innovations to the rest of us. Important technical ideas arise from weekend tinkering in basement workshops." Haring's dissertation-in-progress focuses on the work of these anonymous inventors in the field of amateur, or "ham," radio. While amateur radio enthusiasts embraced the image of great inventors struggling alone in workshops until the "eureka" moment arrived, most ham operators were, in fact, unconventional inventors. In contrast to the secrecy involved in the patent process, the culture of the hobby dictated sharing of knowledge; amateur radio inventors typically published their ideas in ham radio magazines. Making extensive use of the archival and artifact collections of the Museum, Haring hopes to uncover the legacy of achievement left by the hundreds of amateur inventors who disappeared behind this veil of modesty.

Kathryn Henderson (1998-99), assistant professor of sociology, Texas A&M University
Traditional cultures throughout the world have used straw, grasses, and reeds, sometimes combined with earth and timber, to create durable shelter. But until recently the method was considered by many to be primitive and unattractive.

Not so any more. Henderson is showing that straw-bale building--a cost-efficient and environmentally friendly method--is making a comeback with both grassroots home builders and progressive contractors and architects.

The roots of straw-bale construction are in the invention of horsepowered mechanical hay balers in the U.S. in the late 1800s. They afforded timber-poor Nebraska pioneers a material for building modest homes from resources at hand. Later, builders showed the flexibility of straw-bale building by developing different styles. Today, builders in Texas demonstrate that straw-bale construction not only provides excellent insulation, but creates new communities as people gather to raise the straw-bale wall of new structures. Henderson has done extensive ethnographic field work in central Texas with contemporary straw-bale builders as well as research in the Museum's collections on the development of hay-baling technology.

Dean Herrin (1997-98), historian, Historic American Engineering Record, National Park Service
Herrin is writing several journal articles on Montgomery Meigs, celebrated Quartermaster General of the Union Army during the Civil War. Meigs was a skilled engineer with experience in the fields of architecture, invention, art, science, and government. Herrin explores the themes of invention and innovation in Meigs's career, especially as they pertain to the diverse sources of engineering inventiveness, the role of engineering "style," and the collaborative nature of invention.

Eric Hintz (2007), Ph.D. candidate, University of Pennsylvania
Hintz’s dissertation examined the changing fortunes of independent American inventors during the rise of corporate R&D in the first half of the twentieth century. With corporate R&D on the rise, the world of independent inventors was beginning to change. Yet historical patent data shows that individual inventors continued to outpace corporate labs in numbers of patents granted well into the 1930s. Hintz explored a wide variety of independent inventors’ papers housed in the Museum’s Archives Center to find out how inventors reacted and adapted to the emergence of industrial research as a competitive threat, how they attempted to survive economically, and how they were impacted by larger economic forces propelled by two world wars and the New Deal.

Matthew Hockenberry (2012-2013), Ph.D. candidate, Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University, and Co-Founder, SourceMap.com
Hockenberry researched and mapped the global supply chains used in the manufacture of telegraph and telephone technologies from approximately 1876-1926. He examined several collections, including the Western Union Telegraph Company Records, the Anglo-American Telegraph Company, Ltd. Records, and the papers of Western Electric Manufacturing Co. co-founder, Elisha Gray.

Roger Horowitz (2000-01), associate director, Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society, Hagley Museum and Library
Roger Horowitz is interested in the interaction of technological innovation and popular consumption habits as it relates to our daily diet. Following on his earlier work in labor history and the meatpacking industry, Horowitz is completing a book on "Meat: Technology, Industry, and Taste in America" during his Lemelson Fellowship. The book, under contract to Johns Hopkins University Press, focuses on the mobilization of technology, labor, and capital that made meat an accustomed part of the American diet. The book's central issue is the special character of meat as a perishable artifact "created" by slaughtering animals of irregular sizes. Developing the apparatus for killing, preserving, and disseminating meat entailed massive capital investment by business organizations, the labors of tens of thousands of workers, and the creation of machinery to speed production and distribution. "Making meat," however, always was tightly linked to the ways Americans obtained and ate meat. Processing technologies and entrepreneurial initiatives evolved in close conjunction with food consumption practices and Americans' insistence on obtaining wholesome and nutritious meat that conformed to individual and family needs.

Andrew Hurle (2009), Ph.D. candidate, College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales
Hurle's dissertation examines the technical innovations of mechanical drawing and machine engraving devices and how they were used to create the ornamental linear designs on nineteenth century American currency which have since been used to secure paper money against counterfeit. He is also interested in how the visual appearance of financial and security documents communicate tangible value, giving people faith and confidence in everyday monetary transactions. In addition to his historical research, Hurle intends to create a body of artistic work in conjunction with the Centre for Fine Print Research in Bristol, England which complements and forms a dialog with his academic scholarship.

B. Zorina Khan (1997-98), assistant professor of economics, Bowdoin College
Khan is writing a book that assesses the nature and determinants of patenting and inventive activity in the United States between 1790 and 1865. Khan examines the role of the patent system in influencing thedemocratic nature of invention in the United States in comparison to other countries; demonstrates the system's flexibility and responsiveness to external change; and evaluates whether the rate and direction of inventive activity were measurably altered during the war years.

Shane Landrum (2008), Ph.D. candidate, Brandeis University
Landrum will use his fellowship to examine the punchcard tabulation equipment designed by inventor Herman Hollerith and his major competitor James Powers in the late 19th century. These machines enabled American government and business to summarize complicated data quickly and affordably, making the United States the first country in the world to use machines for calculating public health statistics and census data. This project is part of Landrum’s dissertation, which focuses on the development of American birth registration systems.

Stuart W. Leslie (1996-97), professor of history of science, medicine and technology, Johns Hopkins University
Leslie's publications include The Cold War and American Science (1993) and other studies of post-World War II science research. Building on his contributions as a panelist at the Lemelson Center's "The Inventor and the Innovative Society" symposium in November 1995, Leslie will write two articles during his tenure as a Fellow, studying the successes and failures of New York state's science and technology programs. His research will give insight into designing future programs that foster innovation and high-tech development.

Hallie Lieberman (2012-13), Ph.D. candidate, Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Lieberman studied the technological history and social impact of sex toys and sexual aids. She explored familiar collections in new ways--for example, she examined the trade catalogs of the B.F. Goodrich rubber company for information on condoms (rather than tires) and the catalogs of the Hamilton Beach appliance company for information on vibrators (not toasters or blenders). She also examined the museum’s HIV/AIDS collections and long runs of various periodicals to track the socio-cultural impact of sexual toys and devices.

Joris Mercelis (2010), Ph.D. candidate, History, Ghent University
Mercelis’s dissertation examines the career of Belgian-American chemist, inventor, and entrepreneur, Dr. Leo H. Baekeland, best known for inventing velox film and his namesake Bakelite plastics. Mercelis primarily consulted the NMAH’s collection of Baekeland papers, but also examined several collections that documented the diffusion of Bakelite products through several industries; these included the J. Harry DuBois Collection on the History of Plastic, the Celluloid Corporation Records, the Grace Jeffers Collection of Formica Materials, the Western Union Telegraph Company Records, and the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana. Mercelis explored Baekeland’s career from several analytical angles, including his experience as an immigrant and international businessman; his commitment to science-based industrial research; his entrepreneurial style and commercial strategy; and his approach to intellectual property.

Jeffrey Matsuura (2007), counsel, Alliance Law Group
Matsuura explores the development of trans-Atlantic cables at the Anglo-American Telegraph Company as a case study on the role of innovation in large, complex, international ventures. His examination is intended to identify the legal and commercial strategies applied by the Anglo-American Telegraph Company in order to facilitate the development, protection, and use of the intellectual property, equipment, systems, personnel, and financial resources necessary to complete the first trans-Atlantic undersea communications cable system. Matsuura seeks to compare his analysis of these historical sources to the strategies applied by modern companies engaged in major international projects that relay on innovative new technologies today.

Jakob Messerli (2001-02), director, Deutsches Uhrenmuseum
The introduction of the "American System" of mass production in the American clockmaking industry at the beginning of the 19th century is accepted as an important step, not only for the mass-production of timepieces, but for industrial development in general. German clockmaking in the Black Forest had long-dominated the global market for clocks, but was slow to adopt the "American System." Surprisingly, little is known about the relationship between the American clock industry and German clockmaking in the Black Forest during this period. In this research project, Jakob Messerli plans a comparative study of Black Forest and American wooden-movement clocks. Who were the German clock peddlers who came to America? What do Black Forest and American wooden clock movements have in common? What effect did the "American System" have on clockmaking in the Black Forest? These are the questions Messerli seeks to answer during his fellowship. His research will contribute to an upcoming exhibit on this theme at the Deutsches Uhrenmuseum.

Mara Mills (2006-07), Ph.D. candidate, Harvard University
Mills's dissertation analyzes the contributions of deaf and hard-of-hearing people to the development of technologies for amplification, sound inscription, and speech synthesis. Looking specifically at the hearing aid, sound spectrography, and speaking automata, she both explores the experiences of disabled individuals and argues for their central influence on information theory and transistorization. Mills has discovered that, once deaf people were understood to be “educable,” they began serving as models for communication technologies. In turn, she argues, new technologies influenced how scientists perceived human anatomy. For example, the invention of telephony led scientists to think of the ear as productive and amplifying, rather than as a passive recording device. Mills will examine the museum’s speech synthesis and hearing device collections.

Cyrus Mody (2002-03), Ph.D. candidate in the Science and Technology Studies Department, Cornell University
Cyrus Mody is interested in the link between measurement standards (metrology) and instrumentation. The case study for his dissertation focuses on the organizational cultures that developed around the invention and use of the scanning probe microscope. Studying the development of these instruments at corporate research labs, academic institutions, and startup companies, Mody traces how two vastly different cultures of scanned microscope experimentation and innovation emerged in the 1980s. He findsone culture that evolved from traditional surface science (primarily at IBM and Bell Labs), and another that was cobbled together from researchers on the west coast (Stanford, UC Santa Barbara) who were interested in inventing and propagating new instruments. Together these cultures set the basis for what would count as a good microscope, how to build them, and how to make the results obtained from these new instruments credible to a wider audience.

Simone Mueller (2010), Ph.D. candidate, Free University, Berlin
Mueller’s work explores the interaction of the global and the local sphere in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, using the Atlantic cable station at Heart’s Content, Newfoundland as an example. Mueller analyzes how globalization, as it is represented in the invention of the submarine telegraphs and their communication implications, affected people socially and culturally on a local level and vice versa. Her study concerns itself with the interaction of Atlantic cable station operators, local residents, and local landline operators and attempts to solve the seeming contradiction of Heart’s Content being at the periphery of civilization while also at the heart of global communication.

Fred Nadis (2007), associate editor, ABC-Clio
Nadis is studying the engineering and design innovators behind America’s early rollercoasters and theme rides beginning in the nineteenth century. His project focuses on two separate streams of innovation that shared a common source in nineteenth-century “scenic railways”--rides in which passengers traveled through artificially-enhanced landscapes. These scenic railways led to both to modern-day theme rides and high speed rollercoasters. While the technology of these rides was grounded in multiple patents, the engineers who designed them were remarkably creative, often improvising the design of the ride on site. The legacy of these inventors remains an important vernacular architectural and cultural form.

Robert O’Harrow (2012-2013), author and columnist, The Washington Post
O’Harrow performed research for his forthcoming popular biography of General Montgomery C. Meigs entitled A Soul on Fire (to be publshed by Free Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster). Besides his critical role as quartermaster general of the Union Army during the Civil War (and as a Smithsonian regent), Meigs was also the engineer responsible for several Washington, D.C., landmarks, including the Potomac River aqueduct that still provides water to the district, the Capitol dome, and the old Pension Bureau building, which now houses the National Building Museum.

Amy Ogata (2005-06), associate professor, Bard Graduate Center
Looking at the nature of childhood in the post-WWII period, Ogata is writing a book that will focus on how the concept of creativity emerged as a dominant social value in the 1950s and '60s, influencing a vast array of educational and play spaces, toys, books, and other amusements designed to stimulate intelligence. Utilizing a variety of museum collections, from childhood toys in the Home and Community Life collections to archival resources such as the Binney and Smith (Crayola) papers, Ogata will examine how the idea of creativity emerged in the mid-twentieth century and how it became inscribed upon postwar childhood, contributing to our understanding of creativity as a historical subject.

Ruth Oldenziel (1996-97), associate professor of technology, gender and representation at the University of Amsterdam
Oldenziel is the author of numerous articles, papers, and book reviews published in the U.S. and the Netherlands and is founder and president of the Society for Gender and Technology. At the Lemelson Center, Oldenziel will complete several articles for a book, Body by Fisher: The Fisher Body Company, its Craftsman's Guild and Their Models, 1920-1970, based on extensive primary source materials in the collections of the Smithsonian.

Heinrich Schwarz (2000-01), Ph.D. candidate, Program in Science, Technology, and Society, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Much attention, in both popular media and academic disciplines, is paid today to the shifting nature of work in the context of a changing economy, technological advances, and a general process of globalization. The perceived move towards a post-industrial, information-based, and networked society, populated by technologically-supported knowledge workers, gives rise to images of working nomads, constantly on the move as part of virtual offices or organizations where space and time no longer matter. In his dissertation-in-progress, Heinrich Schwarz is investigating the changes in office work as they are related to changes in the layout and design of work environments, and in particular, of offices. Through this lens, he is examining the interrelation of social, spatial, and technological reorganizations of office work: how information and communication technologies, the organization of workspaces and workplaces, and the social structure of office work mutually affect each other. The result of Schwarz's research will be a better understanding of the current trend towards more mobile, flexible, and virtual forms of work--and what that means for the workers involved.

Ben Shackleford (2001-02), Ph.D. candidate, Georgia Institute of Technology
"The technologists who created stock cars labored in virtual obscurity," explains Ben Shackleford. "My research seeks to uncover the remarkable exploits of this anonymous community of tinkerers and inventors who structured the course of innovation and diffusion that governs competition in American stock car racing." Shackleford's dissertation-in-progress focuses on the development of stock car technology through the diffusion of innovation among mechanics. In spite of the secrecy surrounding innovations in stock car technology that often provided a competitive advantage, Shackleford's research shows that this knowledge easily spread throughout the racing community. During his fellowship, Shackleford will use both enthusiast literature and the stock cars themselves to document how technological knowledge was transferred among skilled mechanics. His research will contribute to the upcoming joint Smithsonian and Atlanta History Center exhibit entitled "Speed and Spirit."

Susan Sherwood (2003-04), independent scholar and executive director, Center for Technology and Innovation, Binghamton, NY
Working with the Broome County Historical Society in Binghamton, New York, Susan Sherwood seeks to document the industrial history of New York State's "Southern Tier." She is studying the development of photographic and chemical technologies at Ansco-Afga-GAF in the 20th century. Her analysis of the GAF collections at the Smithsonian and the Broome County Historical Society is informed by her oral history interviews with retired chemists from the company. By tracking how methods of innovation developed over time through changing economic conditions, Sherwood's research promises to contribute to our knowledge of how innovation "hot spots" develop in specific geographic regions.

Bruce Sinclair (1996-97), professor emeritus of history of technology, Georgia Institute of Technology
Sinclair came to the Lemelson Center to work on a book titled Technology and the African American Experience: Needs and Opportunities for Study. Sinclair earned his Ph.D. from the Case Institute of Technology and has written many books, articles, and book reviews on American technology and technical education, including New Perspectives on Technology and American Culture (1986). In 1995 Sinclair was awarded the Da Vinci Medal by the Society for the History of Technology.

Dominique Tobbell (2006-07), Ph.D. candidate, University of Pennsylvania
Tobbell is writing a dissertation exploring the relationship between industry, academic institutions, and government in the creation of a research and political culture that promoted private drug development in the last half of the 20th century. Tobbell argues that the forging of these cultures depended on the maintenance of knowledge networks between industrial, academic, and clinical researchers, and political networks between industry, universities and the government. She will examine the records of several pharmaceutical companies in the Archives Center, including Sterling Drug, Inc., Norwich Eaton Pharmaceuticals, and Syntex.

Thorin Tritter (2001-02), adjunct lecturer, La Guardia Community College
Thorin Tritter is interested in technological changes in the newspaper industry in New York. Tritter's research challenges the common image that the newspaper industry has been slow to modernize or adapt to change. He shows that, from the penny press revolution in the 1830s to the rise of the modern newspaper 100 years later, the newspaper industry in New York continually sought ways to increase production and reduce costs through new machinery. During his fellowship, Tritter will revise his dissertation for publication to incorporate more detailed information about the role of technology in newspaper printing, specifically printing presses and type-setting machinery. He will explore how these key inventions were made and what effects the new machinery had on the industry and its workforce. "These new machines did more than just alter one industry," Tritter asserts, "they changed the way Americans learned about the world and helped create an American culture."

Lee Vinsel (2013-2014), assistant professor, Science, Technology, and Society, Stevens Institute of Technology
Vinsel’s project was entitled “Inventing Auto Safety: Technological Change and Social Innovation around Automotive Risk, 1900-1960.” During his fellowship, he explored the invention and diffusion of automotive safety systems like taillights, braking systems, and street lights. For example, Lee examined the Museum's extensive collection of early automotive journals (e.g. Horseless Age), consulted the papers of safety inventor Charles Adler, Jr., and even examined the safety features of several cars, including the Museum’s 1948 Tucker sedan.

Adelheid Voskuhl (2013-2014), associate professor, History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania
Voskuhl investigated several emerging philosophies of technology as described in the transatlantic exchanges of German-American engineers and technological elites from 1870 to 1930. Voskuhl examined the Museum’s extensive collection of both German-language and American technical trade journals, and several manuscript collections, including the S. Colum Gilfillan Papers and the Frank and Lillian Gilbreth Collection.

Gregory Wickliff (2010), associate professor, University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Wickliff’s research examines John William Draper (1811-1882) and his innovative contributions to daguerreotypy and early photography as well as reflecting upon the work of Draper’s son, Henry (1837-1882), in astrophotography and to a lesser extent photomicrography. Wickliff documents the full range of Draper’s early experiments in photography to establish more clearly the importance of Draper’s early innovations, and their significance in the evolution of thought about the science and technology of photography. His forthcoming book is titled, Enlightened Arguments: Photography and Rhetoric in Nineteenth-Century American Science and Technology.

Steven Wilf (2012), professor and associate dean, University of Connecticut Law School
Wilf, a legal historian, conducted research for his forthcoming book, tentatively titled: Intellectual Property Law in America: A Legal and Cultural History. The book traces the history of American intellectual property law from its beginnings in the 18th century through the digital age and describes how patent, copyright, and trademark laws serve to prompt, direct, or even constrain innovation. Wilf examined legal documents and court records in several of the museum’s invention-oriented collections, including the Telescoping Shopping Cart Collection; the Eisler Engineering Company Records; the Serge A. Scherbatskoy Papers; the Arthur Ehrat Papers; and the Leo H. Baekeland Papers.

Sara "Bess" Williamson (2009), Ph.D. candidate, History of American Civilization, University of Delaware
Williamson is interested in how changing ideas about disability and rights in the last half of the twentieth century played a role in making products and spaces more accessible. She posits that during this time disability rights advocates linked the accessibility of objects and environments to the entitlements of citizenship. An awareness of potential disabled users has inspired new designs and features with broader applications and appeal, pointing to the role of political change in the creative process. During her fellowship, Williamson will examine museum collections of assistive technologies, such as wheelchairs and prostheses, and materials related to the universal design movement which aims for the ideal design for the broadest spectrum of users.

Damon Yarnell (2008), Ph.D. candidate, University of Pennsylvania
Yarnell’s research looks at an often-overlooked aspect of mass production at the Ford Motor Company in the early 20th century—the role of purchasing agents in the company’s system of procurement, quality control, inventory, shipping, and materials handling. Not only did the assembly line facilitate an exceptional degree of internal control and efficiency, supplier relationships were complex and also essential for mass production. Yarnell will make use of the museum’s extensive transportation history collections, including trade catalogs, early automobile periodicals, directories, and yearbooks, as well as the records of the J&B Manufacturing Company and the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana.

Tamar Zinguer (2002-03), Ph.D. candidate in the School of Architecture, Princeton University
Tamar Zinguer's dissertation investigates the ways in which construction toys have related to architecture and to the built environment. Case studies of four building toys-"Gifts" invented by Friedrich Froebel; "Richter'Anchor stones" by Otto and Gustav Lilienthal; "Erector Set" by Andrew Gilbert; and the several toys by Charles and Ray Eames-inform her research. These case studies show that architecture became the conduit of scientific principles from fields as diverse as mineralogy, zoology, chemistry, and computer science. With different materials, the toys have reflected new means of production, and conveyed their authors' educational aims through the construction of space combined with scientific principles. Drawing on an investigation of these toy inventors and the artifacts themselves, Zinguer seeks to illuminate how architectural playthings have reflected stylistic inclinations, incorporated technological changes in their systems of construction, and how these inventors influenced and were influenced by theories of play and education.


Last Update: 16 Sept 2013

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