Guide to the James W. Queen & Company Collection

Administrative Information

Repository Information

Archives Center, National Museum of American History

P.O. Box 37012
 Suite 1100, MRC 601
 Washington, D.C., 20013-7012
 Phone: 202-633-3270

Conditions Governing Access note

The collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use note

Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Reproduction fees may apply.

Custodial History note

This collection was transferred from the Division of Electricity (now the Division of Work and Industry) National Museum of American History on April 13, 1983.

Processing Information note

Processed by Robert S. Harding, archivist, November, 1981.

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Summary Information

Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Gray Instrument Company.
Leeds and Northrup Company.
Queen Gray Company.
Queen, James W., & Company.
James W. Queen & Company Collection
Date [inclusive]
3.50 Cubic feet, 7 boxes
Language of Materials note
Collection is in English.
Collection documents James W. Queen & Company and its successors Leeds and Northrup Company, Queen-Gray Company, and Gray Instrument Company, manufacturers of instruments for laboratory and industrial use. The collection contains catalogs, circulars, photographs, and miscellaneous publications and documents.

Preferred Citation note

James W. Queen & Company Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

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Biographical/Historical note

James W. Queen & Company of Philadelphia manufactured scientific instruments for laboratory and industrial use. The company was founded in 1853 by James W. Queen (1811-1890), and J.G. Gray became the president in the 1890s. The company won several awards, including the Franklin Institute's John Scott Medal for the invention of the self-regulating aspect of their x-ray tubes. In 1912 James W. Queen & Company was reorganized into the Queen-Gray Company. After J.G. Gray's death in 1825, it became the Gray Instrument Company.


Charles E. Smart, The Makers Of Surveying Instruments In America Since 1700, (Troy, New York: Regal Art Press, 1962) (accessed 6 August 2010).

Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History, “ Queen,” Physical Sciences Collection- Surveying and Geodesy(accessed 6 August 2010).

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Scope and Contents note

The collection contains catalogs, circulars, blueprints, and photographs describing equipment and supplies offered for sale by James W. Queen & Company and its successors, including the Leeds and Northrop Company, the Queen Gray Company, and the Gray Instrument Company.

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Arrangement note

The collection is arranged into three series.

Series 1, Catalogs and Circulars, 1896-1952

Series 2, Photographs, circa 1907

Series 3, Miscellaneous Materials, 1850-1951

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

Materials in the Archives Center

AC0215, Instrument Society of America Collection, 1911-1969

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Controlled Access Headings


  •  Scientific instruments manufacturing.


  • Books
  • Catalogs
  • Photographs--1850-1900
  • Photographs--1900-1950.


  • Scientific apparatus and instruments
  • Scientific apparatus and instruments industry

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Collection Inventory

 Series 1: Catalogs and Circulars, 1896‑1952

This series consists of catalogs and circulars describing the scientific instruments sold by the James W. Queen Company, the Queen-Gray Company, the Gray Instrument Company, and the Leeds and Northrup Company. The instruments were targeted towards professionals and institutions, but were also used by hobbyists. Instruments sold included galvanometers and other electrical instruments, pneumatics, x-ray equipment, meteorological equipment, and optical instruments.

Box Folder

Queen & Company, 18 circulars 4-366, 1896‑1899

1 1

Queen & Company, 7 circulars 366-454, 1898‑1904

1 2

Queen & Company, 6 circulars 474-1204, 1899‑1905

1 3

Queen & Company, 4 catalogs of electrical instruments for light and power stations 1-90, undated

1 4

Queen and Gray Company 8 Bulleting E-2 E-100, undated

1 5

Queen Self Regulating X-ray tube, 1897‑1898

1 6

Queen & Company, galvanometer, 1900

1 7

Queen & Company, Catalogue of Physical Apparatus for Students Use, 1901‑1902

1 8

Queen & Company, Standard X-ray apparatus, 1902

1 9

Queen & Company, physical laboratory supplies and accessories, 1903

1 10

Queen & Company, standard instruments for resistance measurements, 1904

1 11

Queen & Company, Queen standard photometric apparatus, 1909

1 12

Queen & Company, Queen-Gray Company, Gray Instrument Company, miscellaneous publications and advertisements, circa 1901

1 13-14

Queen & Company, catalog, undated

2 1

Queen & Company, catalogs 1105, undated

2 2-3

Queen & Company, Bulletin of Scientific Apparatus, 1907

3 1

Queen & Company, circulars, circa 1905

3 2

Queen & Company, catalogs, 1906

3 3-4

Queen & Company, catalog, undated

3 5

Queen & Company, catalog, undated

4 1

Queen & Company, catalog of chemicals, undated

4 2

Borden Electric Company catalogs, circa 1830-1839

4 3

Gray Instrument Company, catalogs, 1901‑1952

5 1-3

Leeds and Northrop Company, catalogs and product blueprints, 1912‑1927

5 4-6

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 Seres 2: Photographs, circa 1907

This series consists of photographs of the James W. Queen and Company and the Gray Instrument Company's scientific instrument products. Some of the photographs have captions.

Queen and Company, product line, circa 1907

    Box Folder
Mixed Materials   6 1‑4
    Box Folder
Photos   6 6

Box Folder

Queen and Company, unidentified, undated

6 5

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 Series 3: Miscellaneous Materials, 1850-1951

The materials consist of a chemistry textbook; a history of James W. Queen and Company; a circular published by the United States Department of Agriculture about measuring salinity with the wheat stone bridge; a description of a testing set; and some business documents, including invoices and purchase orders.

Box Folder

Fownes, George, F.R.S. Elementary Chemistry, Theoretical and Practical. Lea and Blanchard, Philadelphia, 1850

7 1

Queen & Company, Inc. company history and description "Fifty Years, 1853-1903"

7 2

Wire Gauge Standards Notebook with clippings, circa 1921

7 3

Queen & Company, miscellaneous, circa 1932

7 4

Miscellaneous papers, circa 1951

7 5

Pyrovolter type instruments, undated

7 6

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