Scope and Contents
The Cummings Structural Concrete Company Records consists primarily of correspondence and business records documenting Robert A. Cummings' firm, consulting work, and participation in professional associations, especially the American Society of Civil Engineers, 1892-1893, circa 1900-1939; technical data and publications on soils testing, 1900-1939; and drawings, blueprints, and photographs and glass negatives of construction projects.
Series 1, Biographical, 1904-1936 and undated documents the professional life of Robert A. Cummings. There are three subseries within this series: Subseries 1, Cummings System of Reinforced Concrete, 1904-1930 and undated; Subseries 2, Professional Organizations, 1908-1936 and undated; and Subseries 3, Writings, 1908-1939 and undated. This series includes documents related to the Cummings System of Reinforced Concrete, including patents, photographs, and advertisements. The series also includes documents relating to professional organizations such as the Allegheny County Authority, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and the World Engineering Congress. Cummings was also a member of the Soils Committee for the American Society of Civil Engineers, and those documents are included in this series. Cummings wrote published and unpublished articles regarding concrete, soil, and construction methods. His writings are also included in this series.
Series 2, Operational Records, 1884-1952 and undated consists of six subseries: Subseries 1, Administrative, 1901-1948 and undated; Subseries 2, Correspondence, 1884-1952 and undated; Subseries 3, Contracts (for projects), 1902-1930 and undated; Subseries 4, Legal Materials, 1907-1916; Subseries 5, Financial, 1894-1921 and undated; and Subseries 6, Personnel, 1918-1921. This series contains the bulk of the information about Cummings' concrete business. Within this series are administrative materials that document the running of the business, including daily reports, bond and insurance papers, specifications, supply notes, field requisitions, and design notebooks. Also included is correspondence to and from Cummings. Recipients of the correspondence include company employees and corporations that did business with the company. A portion of the correspondence is divided topically into subjects such as soil sampling apparatus and barge claims.
The bulk of this series consists of contracts for projects on which Cummings worked. The majority of the projects consist of bridges, water tanks, commercial buildings, and retaining walls. Materials include correspondence, receipts from vendors, hand-written notes, accident reports, blueprints, sketches, and laboratory test reports on materials. The contracts are arranged by contract number as assigned by Cummings. The unnumbered contracts are listed alphabetically. The legal materials consist of documentation that relate to legal matters Cummings dealt with, including the lawsuits Robert Cummings vs. William J. Stewart, Alexander Melville vs. Robert Cummings, andLock Joint Pipe Company vs. Frederick Melber and Electric Welding Company. This series also contains financial and personnel records, including account books, bills, receipts, proposals, estimates, and business journals, as well as applications for employment, correspondence, and weekly progress reports.
Series 3, Subject Files, 1891-1949 and undated consists of correspondence, pamphlets, printed materials, and drawings. The topics within the subject files include soil testing and standards, roads, railroads, minerals, electricity, and concrete barges.
Series 4, Publications, 1887-1955, includes published material related concrete. The series is divided into two subseries: publications by title and publications by subject. Included are booklets, articles of incorporations, charters and by-laws, journals, and government publications. Some of the materials are in German or French.
Series 5, Photographs, 1902-1916 and undated includes 3" x 5", 8" x 10" and other various sizes of photographic prints. The series contains black and white and sepia toned prints. Some of the prints have been mounted onto cardboard or cloth, and some prints have tape on the corners. Some of the prints are annotated on the back. Most of the images are of construction sites in various stages of progress, the interiors of buildings being constructed, manufacturing equipment, and laborers working. Some of these images document early twentieth century methods of manufacturing, such as the use of rope pulleys.
Series 6, Photograph Negatives, undated includes about 75 photograph film negatives. The images in these negatives are primarily of construction scenes, including workers, equipment and work sites.
Series 7, Glass Plate Negatives, 1889-1918 and undated includes 8" x 10", 5" x 8", and 3" x 4" glass plate negatives containing images of bridges, slabs of concrete, construction scenes, the interiors and exteriors of hotels, and the interiors and exteriors of railroad stations.
Series 8, Lantern Slides, undated includes images of the work of the Cummings Structural Concrete Company on 4.5" x 5" glass slides. The images are of industrial machinery, construction sites, and workers.