Guide to the Charles Adler, Jr. Collection
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.0351
Creators:
Adler, Charles, Jr., 1899-1980 (engineer, inventor)
Dates:
1899 - 1980
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
6 cubic feet
; 15 boxes
Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
The collection contains correspondence, news clippings, photographs, patents, and printed materials documenting the inventive career of Charles Adler, Jr. Adler is best known for his development of the first traffic actuated signal light in 1928.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The collection contains biographical information about Adler and his career. Materials relating to his professional activities include newspaper clippings, photographs and other memorabilia; his published writings include articles in periodicals and newspapers. In addition, there are patent applications, royalty receipts and correspondence, as well as lengthy descriptions of various safety devices Adler invented. Many photographs are not captioned, including images of devices Adler invented, as well as images of aircraft, automobiles, and trains. There are portraits of family members, Adler, and his associates.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged into six series.
Series 1, Biographical Material, 1899-1980
Series 2, Scrapbooks and Clippings, 1920-1989
Series 3, Correspondence, 1928-1975
Series 4, Patents and Inventions, 1929-1980
Series 5, Photographs and Scrapbooks, circa 1920-1930
Series 6, Publications, 1952-1980

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Charles Adler, Jr. (1899-1980), a professional engineer and inventor was a life-long resident of Baltimore, Maryland. He began his career as an inventor at age 14, receiving a patent on an electric automotive brake. After attending Johns Hopkins University, he served briefly in the Army during World War I and worked at several jobs before being associated in 1919 with the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad, where he developed a series of safety devices. In 1928 he developed and installed in Baltimore the first traffic actuated signal light. In 1937 he became a consultant to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, continuing to invent safety and signal devices for automobiles, trains and aircraft. He was granted over sixty United States patents. He was a licensed pilot and a member of numerous professional engineering societies. From 1953-1959, Adler served on the Maryland State Aviation Commission and he was a member of the Maryland Traffic Safety Commission from 1952 until his death in 1980.

Administration
Processing Information
Processed by Don Darroch, volunteer, and Robert S. Harding, archivist, 1990.
Author
Don Darroch
Immediate Source of Acquisition
This collection was donated by Charles Adler, Jr.'s daughter, Mrs. Amalie Adler Ascher on September 15, 1989.

Digital Content
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Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research.
Preferred Citation
Charles Adler, Jr. Collection, 1899-1980, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning intellectual rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
Gloves must be worn when handling unprotected photographs and negatives.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Engineers -- 1920-1980 Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Inventions -- 20th century Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Patent applications Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Clippings -- 20th century Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Correspondence -- 20th century Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs -- 20th century Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Railroads -- 20th century Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Inventors -- 20th century Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Aeronautics and state -- 20th century Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Baltimore (Md.) -- 20th century Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Traffic signs and signals -- 1920-1980 Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Traffic engineering -- 20th century Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Receipts -- 20th century Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
archivescenter@si.edu
URL: