Guide to the Servodyne Corporation Records

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.0839
Creators:
Servodyne Corporation
Gunnarson, John
Information, Technology and Society, Div. of (NMAH, SI).
Dates:
1955-1971
Languages:
English
Collection is in English.
Physical Description:
1 Cubic foot
3 boxes
Repository:
The Servodyne Company attempted to develop a prototype of the household microwave. The business records cover the operations and meetings of the company, as well as the corporation's financial troubles and liquidation following its bankruptcy in 1968. Also included are design details and photographs of the ovens.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
Records of the company that developed an early microwave oven. The business records include documents such as Board of Directors meeting minutes, stockholder meeting minutes, correspondence, legal documents, financial papers, publications, photographs, drawings and specifications, and other business papers. Also included in the collection are newspaper and magazine clippings featuring stories about the safety and use of microwave ovens.

Arrangement
Arrangement
Collection is arranged into six series.
Series 1: Minutes, 1961-1968
Series 2: Correspondence, 1961-1968
Series 3: Legal Documents, 1965-1966
Series 4: Financial Materials, 1960-1965
Series 5: Publications, 1955-1971
Series 6: Photographs, 1955, 1971

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
John Gunnarson, a former employee of Raytheon, formed the Servodyne Company (1960), which made prototypes of the microwave oven. The company sought to bring microwave technology into the home for everyday use in a time when microwaves and their safety were under scrutiny. Developed by Gunnarson, Roger F. French, and Donald R. Lester, this prototype utilized klystrons instead of the magnetrons used by competitors. The company applied for a patent in 1966, but the oven was never successful. Servodyne Company struggled with financial issues and leadership changes, and the business folded in 1968 due to lack of funding. The liquidation process lasted until 1971.

Administration
Processing Information
Collection processed by Holly Nelson.
Separated Materials
A prototype microwave is in the Division of Work and Industry. See Accession 2003.0107.01.
Author
Holly Nelson
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Collection donated by John A. Gunnarson in 2003.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Servodyne Corporation Records, 1955-1971, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
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.

Custodial History
Custodial History
Collection transferred to the Archives Center from the Division of Information, Technology and Society (now the Division of Work and Industry) in 2003.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Articles -- 1950-2000 Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Microwave equipment industry Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Microwave ovens Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Correspondence -- 1950-2000 Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Design drawings -- 1950-2000 Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Financial records Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Minutes Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gunnarson, John Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Information, Technology and Society, Div. 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