Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Guide to the John Bucheimer Papers


Collection ID:
Bucheimer, John
1954 - 1977
Physical Description:
4 Cubic feet
11 boxes, 5 map folders
21 Film reels
Papers relate to John Bucheimer's work as manager of new product manufacturing in the Engineering Department at Head Ski Company.

Scope and Contents

Scope and Contents
These records were assembled and saved by John Bucheimer in conjunction with his work at Head Ski Company. The bulk of the records relates to engineering matters and detail how the skis were manufactured. The records also provide insight into the daily operations and activities of the Head Ski Company factory.
Series 1, Operational Records, 1967-1973, include an organizational chart, company and management profile, annual reports, inter office correspondence, memoranda, management notes, the Management News Bulletin, and plant information. The organizational chart of 1969 provides the job title and name of the employee for specific positions within Head Ski Company, Head Ski and Sportswear, American Athletic Equipment, Wayne Plastics, Wing Archery, and Head International AG.
This series contains the Management News Bulletin, 1967-1970. An internal communication from the president, the news bulletin provided a forum for announcements, resignations, work plans, reorganizations, organizational charts, employee changes, and general work flow issues. While small in size, the content is rich for getting a sense of the management style at Head Ski Company.
The management notes, 1968-1971, are handwritten by Bucheimer and contain information on training, responsibilities, manufacturing expenses, production schedules, regional sales meetings, and job postings. There are a few management pamphlets published by the Economic Press, Inc. These pamphlets provided "tips" to managers. Also, the management notes contain two union fliers addressing the issue of union dues. Both fliers urge employees to "keep your take home pay free from Union dues. Vote no union." Other materials include inventories of office surplus and plant information. There are instructions of how to conduct a tour of the plant and ADT protective service documentation. Bucheimer was the designated ADT card holder for the company.
Series 2, Employee Records, 1957-1973, consist of employee handbooks and insurance materials, a job description for manager of manufacturing projects, and vacation schedules for several employees. Some salary information is here.
Series 3, Marketing/Sales Records, 1969-1972, includes one catalog from 1972, three news releases, sales information, and ski show and shipment information. The ski show materials document specific shows—Canada, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York—and the ski models displayed and, in some instances, orders placed. The special shipments, 1969-1971, include invoices, correspondence, notes, and material move tickets for companies such as Cell Pack, Ltd., Standard Metalwerke, Dura Fiber Corp., and United Shoe Machinery Corp.
Series 4, Financial/Accounting Records, 1967-1971, contains reports, inventories, expenses, and some payroll information. The majority of these records date from September 1969 to October of 1969. The expense statements reveal how much was budgeted and spent for materials, direct labor, payroll taxes, Christmas bonuses, travel, postage, maintenance, and ski parts, to name a few categories. There is some payroll information with the payroll control sheets.
Series 5, Engineering/Manufacturing Records, 1956-1977, comprise the largest and richest series within the collection. The records are subdivided into seven subseries: inventories, instructions, repair information, reports, drawings and specifications, testing information, and miscellaneous.
The inventories provide valuable information on the types of materials used, the quantities, and in some instances the cost. The raw material inventory of 1967 details material types (e.g. glue, plywood, aluminum, poles, saw blades), account numbers, date, quantity, price and actual cost. Like the raw material inventory, the perpetual inventory of 1966 is divided according to material type (e.g. aluminum, plastic, cloth tape, wood, rubber, steel) unit measure (typically in pounds), conversion factor, dates, and a balance amount.
The instructions include detailed information on "how to" for a variety of operations such as aluminum sandblasting bottom ski skin assembly, degreasing nosepieces, and sanding, gluing, and cutting "L" steel edges. The instructions consist of a workplace layout diagram, tools needed, and step by-step instruction elements. Of note is the material flow processes for the company. There are flow charts for each operational sequence performed. There are photographs of equipment with the flow charts, but they are not keyed to specific operational tasks.
The repair information contains procedures and lists of parts for skis. The repair procedures describe the repair needed and what model ski is affected. A detailed description of the repair is documented along with the materials required, tools, and how effective the repair was. The repairs documented here include finishing, grinding, bottom waxing, replacing edges, inlays, and remolding. The company had a program titled "rework" that handled returned skis. Many of the skis documented appear to have had cavity problems and were sent back to be remolded. There is some ski rejection analysis documentation citing why skis are being sent to the rework program. Additional information on cavity problems and production is also here. The parts list, 1969-1970, details various parts used on ski models JR-90, JR-60, 720-TA, 320-W, 240-B, K-short ski, deep powder-DP, Giant Slalom, slalom, 360-AR, 320-E and the downhill models. The part number and name, quantity, and any remarks are provided.
The reports, logs, and notes subseries contain manufacturing and production notes, and a variety of reports documenting engineering department activities. The inter-shift reports, 1963-1967, were maintained in spiral bound shorthand notebooks. They detail daily activities, operational suggestions, reminders to staff, materials available, and what work needs to be completed. Other reports include accidents, 1958-1961, and quality control reports, 1970-1971, which were created daily to provide detailed information on all aspects of the skis at final inspection time. The number of skis inspected with percentage information is summarized. The non-conforming material recovery reports, 1970, give the reasons why skis were rejected and indicate if skis were returned to vendors or used "as is."
The drawings and specifications, 1964-1970, are comprised of oversize drawings ranging from 8" x 10" to 34" x 43 _". The drawings are copies and include information on the short, slalom, giant slalom, downhill, and deep powder skis. The finished ski specifications, 1964-1967, document material types, assembly and subassembly procedures, ski data, ski poles, packaging material, and miscellaneous material. For each specification there is a corresponding instruction/narrative and, in some instances, a drawing.
The testing documentation is material specific (rubber, steel, plastic, adhesives) or ski model specific. It provides some insight into what materials the company worked with and under what conditions, such as, pulling, heating, or actual pilot ski runs. The suppliers, 1971-1973, include forms, receipts, bills, invoices, correspondence, receiving tickets, and descriptive inventories from companies that Head Ski Co. purchased supplies from.
Series 6, The General Files, 1954-1977, cover a variety of miscellaneous topics, such as the National Ski Patrol and postage, and are arranged alphabetically.
Series 7, Moving Image, no date, consists of twenty-one reels of 16 mm film which are unprocessed.
Series 8, Personal Materials, circa 1960s, contain greeting cards and notes and a photograph of Bucheimer with Howard Head.


Collection organized into eight series.
Series 1: Operational Records, 1967-1973
Series 2: Employee Records, 1957-1973
Series 3: Marketing/Sales Records, 1969-1972
Series 4: Financial/Accounting Records, 1967-1971
Series 5: Engineering/Manufacturing Records, 1956-1977
Subseries 1, Inventories, 1966-1971
Subseries 2, Instructions, 1967-1970
Subseries 3, Repair Information, 1969-1971
Subseries 4, Reports, logs, and notes, 1956-1971
Subseries 5, Drawings and Specifications, 1964-1970
Subseries 6, Testing Information, 1963-1970
Subseries 7, Miscellaneous, 1967-1973
Series 6: General Files, 1954-1977
Series 7: Moving Image, no date
Series 8: Personal Materials, circa 1960s

Biographical / Historical

Biographical / Historical
John Bucheimer was born on December 7, 1919. During the 1940s, he worked with Howard Head at Glenn L. Martin Company, an aircraft company founded by aviation pioneer Glenn L. Martin (1886-1955) in Middle River, Maryland. At Martin, Bucheimer supervised work on planes and oversaw structural testing. Primarily self taught, he learned electronics and drafting skills on the job. Head left the Glenn L. Martin Company to start his own company, Head Ski Company in 1948, and Bucheimer joined him.
Head, a former aircraft engineer, developed, designed, manufactured, and marketed the first metal laminate skis in 1950 called the "Head Standard. These skis revolutionized the industry. They were made of two layers of aluminum bonded around a core of plywood at very high pressure; the outer layer was made of plastic. By 1952, Head introduced skis with edges made of tempered steel. His skis were lighter and faster than wood and earned the nickname "cheaters" by the industry. In 1969, Head introduced a fiberglass/metal ski, but this ski combined with a diversified product line of javelin and aluminum tennis rackets could not strengthen his company nor stop a takeover by AMF in 1970.
At Head Ski Company, Bucheimer held the position of manager of new products manufacturing. He trained employees on every aspect of work flow.


Alison Oswald
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection was donated by John Bucheimer on April 26, 2005.
Processing Information
Processed by Alison Oswald, archivist, 2006.

Using the Collection

Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at or 202-633-3270.
Preferred Citation
John Bucheimer Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning intellectual property rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Related Materials
Materials in the Archives Center
Howard Head Papers, 1926-1991, AC0589
Materials in the National Museum of American History
The Division of Culture and the Arts (now Division of Cultural and Community Life), formerly the Division of Music, Sports, and Entertainment, holds artifacts related to the Howard Head Papers. These artifacts include downhill skis, ski poles, ski boots, ski bindings, and cross sections of downhill skis.


Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Sporting goods industry Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drawings -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Skis and skiing Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Correspondence -- 1950-2000 Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Black-and-white photographic prints -- Silver gelatin -- 1950-2000 Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Business records -- 1950-2000 Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Audiovisual materials Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Financial records -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Blueprints -- 1950-2000 Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Head, Howard, 1914-1991 (inventor, business executive) Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Head Ski Company. Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
Business Number: Phone: 202-633-3270
Fax Number: Fax: 202-786-2453