Guide to Charles Richardson Pratt Papers
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.0958
Creators:
Mechanical and Civil Engineering, Division of [former name], NMAH, SI.
History of Technology, Division of, NMAH, SI
Pratt, Charles Richardson, 1860-1935
Work and Industry, Division of, NMAH, SI
Dates:
1860-1935
bulk 1910-1924
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
6 cubic feet
13 boxes, 8 oversize folders
Repository:
The papers document the professional career of mechanical engineer, Charles Richardson Pratt. The papers include correspondence, patents, patent application materials, agreements, photographs, publications, and blueprints for many of Pratt's inventions, especially his work on elevators.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
These papers contain personal materials of Charles R. Pratt; letterpress copybooks; engineering notebooks; diaries; material relating to the development of the heavy-duty, high-rise electric elevator; material concerning elevator cable equalizers and safety devices, Morton-Jacobsen and other lathe chucks, lathe drives and the Pratt Driver, the hydraulic transmission of power in trucks, and ship steering gear; and studies reports, drawings, photographs, catalogs, and trade literature concerning mechanical engineering.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged into eight series.
Series 1: Personal Materials, 1875-1935
Series 2: Diaries, 1894, 1928-1931
Series 3: Correspondence, 1872-1920
Series 4: Notebooks, 1880, 1889, 1900
Series 5: Inventions, 1860-1927
Series 6: Photographs, 1890-1902
Series 7: Publications, 1895-1929
Series 8: Drawings, 1878-1929

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Charles Richardson Pratt (1860-1935), was born in Massachusetts to John C. and Mary Anne Richardson. He graduated from the Hopkins School of Boston and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1879. Pratt worked at Whittier Machine Company of Boston (1882-1890) where he designed and built the first electric elevator in 1888. The elevator was installed in the Tremont House, Boston. Pratt also worked as an agent and later as a consulting engineer for the Otis Elevator Company, the inventors of the hydraulic elevator.
Pratt was best known for his development of the first electrically powered elevator. In 1892, inventor Frank Sprague (1857-1934) founded the Sprague Electric Elevator Company, and with Charles R. Pratt developed the Sprague-Pratt Electric Elevator. They demonstrated that electrically powered elevators were capable of competing with hydraulic elevators. Pratt held several engineering positions and worked for the Marine Engine Company of Newark, New Jersey (1902-1905) developing elevator systems; consulting engineer to the Universal Speed Control Company of New York City (1906-1919); consultant to the American Engineering Company of Philadelphia (1912); mechanical superintendent at the Crocker Wheel Company of Ampere, New Jersey (1919); engineer for the E. Horton and Sons Company of Connecticut (1920-1923); the General Tractors Corporation (1924-1927); and was associated with the Watson Elevator Company of New York City (1928-1930). Pratt patented many of his ideas, earning over thirty-five patents related mostly to elevators,
Pratt was a member of the Masons, the Sons of the American Revolution, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the MIT Club of New Jersey, and the Motor Club of London. He married Mary Byron Ladd and they had two children, Gertrude Ladd Pratt and Donald Richardson Pratt.

Administration
Processing Information
Processed by Alison Oswald, archivist, 2016.
Author
Alison Oswald
Immediate Source of Acquisition
This collection was purchased from Charles R. Pratt's daughter, Gertrude Pratt Vance, in 1973.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Charles Richardson Pratt Papers, 1860-1935, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.

Custodial History
Custodial History
Transferred to the Archives Center in 2007 by the Division of Work and Industry, formerly called the Division of Mechanical and Civil Engineering.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Mechanical engineering and engineers Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Inventors Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Elevators Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Machine-tools Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Patents -- 1890-1900 Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Power transmission Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Montclair (N.J.) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Diaries Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drawings Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Trade catalogs Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs -- 19th century Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Notebooks Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Letterpress books Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Patents -- 1870-1880 Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mechanical and Civil Engineering, Division of [former name], NMAH, SI. Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
History of Technology, Division of, NMAH, SI Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sprague, Frank J. Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Work and Industry, Division of, NMAH, SI Corporate Name 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
http://americanhistory.si.edu/archives