Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Guide to the Wadsworth W. Mount Papers

Collection ID:
Mount, Wadsworth W., 1907-1985
Mount, John W.
Physical Description:
10.5 Cubic feet
32 boxes, 1 map-folder
Archival materials documenting five of Mount's numerous inventions: the solar still, a jet power burner, turnbuckles and swivel connectors for boats, the "wadnut" (a self-tightening fastener), and a method of joining industrial piping. The papers include notes on concepts, and on testing and prototypes; correspondence with patent attorneys and potential industrial users of the devices; photographs; biographical information on Mount; and a general subject file on his inventions.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
Mount had a great range of interests in his inventing career, from children's toys to military equipment and industrial devices, such as pipe-joining processes and patented sailing-boat hardware. He was issued more than 20 U.S. patents as well as patents from Britain, Canada, France, Australia and other countries. The progress of his work on these projects is recorded in the various documents and photographs that constitute this collection. The records in this collection were selected from among some 50 cubic feet of material, as being most representative of Mount's work. Retained were records providing biographical information about Mount and his career as an inventor; his general subject files, which document the wide range of his interests; and a sample of files fully documenting five of his major inventions, three of which were commercially successful and the other two were not. Of particular interest are the numerous documents detailing Mount's efforts, often over decades, in developing inventions. Notes on the concepts, testing of models and prototypes, and voluminous correspondence with patent attorneys, potential industrial users of the devices and photographs of equipment constitute the bulk of the collection. Several projects stand out as Mount's major efforts: solar stills (which store the sun's heat), a jet power burner, turnbuckles and swivel connectors for boats, the "Wadnut" (a self-tightening fastener) and, most importantly, a method of joining industrial piping.

The collection is divided into seven series.
Series 1: Biographical Information, 1934-1977
Series 2: General Inventions, 1920-1980
Series 3: Solar Stills, 1952-1981
Series 4: Jet Power Burner, 1943-1984
Series 5: Turnbuckles, Swivel Connectors, 1948-1976
Series 6: Wadnut, 1951-1983
Series 7: Pipe Joint Method, 1961-1983

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Wadsworth Walton Mount (1907-1985), son of a Baptist minister and businessman, was born in Minnesota, raised in Millington, NJ, attended public schools and was graduated from Amherst College in 1928 with a major in economics and philosophy. Employed in Wall Street as a stock salesman and statistician, he traveled as a public utilities analyst. On the death of his father (1931) he took over management of the family wood-working business, which failed in 1932. After completing the liquidation, Mount was employed by a New York printer and publisher of financial publications. During World War II he was engaged in developing an anti-aircraft gun and a rocket-propelled grapnel for the armed forces. Following the war he became a full-time inventor, working independently in the basement of his Warren, NJ home. He also worked occasionally as a consultant to industrial companies.

Don Darroch
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by the inventor's son, John W. Mount, in 1990.
Processing Information
Processed by Don Darroch, volunteer, 1991, and Grace Meyer, volunteer, 1995, supervised by Archives Center staff.

Digital Content
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Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Wadsworth W. Mount Papers, 1920-1985, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. Gift of John W. Mount.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.
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.

At the Smithsonian Institution
At the Smithsonian Institution
National Air and Space Museum Archives
Wadsworth Mount Collection, circa 1940s-1977
This collection contains photographs, negatives, blueprints, patents, test reports and correspondence dealing with Mount's rocket application inventions

At Other Organizations
At Other Organizations
The Amherst College Library, Department of Archives and Special Collections, contains a collection of Mount's papers documenting his work in developing the concept of the Value Added Tax.

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Correspondence -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Inventors -- 20th century Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Laboratory notebooks Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Archives Center, National Museum of American History
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