Guide to the Emile Bachelet Collection

Administrative Information

Repository Information

Archives Center, National Museum of American History, 1990

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

Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open for research.

Custodial History note

The collection was transferred to the Archives Center in April 1988.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

The collection was donated by Albert E. Bachelet, son of the inventor, to the Division of Electricity, National Museum of American History in April 1988.

Processing Information note

Processed by Robert S. Harding, archivist and Don Darroch, volunteer, May 1990; revised Alison Oswald, archivist March 2003.

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Summary Information

Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Bachelet, Albert E.
Bachelet, Emile, (inventor), 1863-1946
Emile Bachelet Collection
circa 1880s-1973
.30 Cubic feet; 3 boxes
Language of Materials note
Collection is in [English].
The collection documents Emile Bachelet, inventor of electro-magnetic therapeutic devices for the treatment of rheumatism.

Preferred Citation note

Emile Bachelet Collection, 1880s-1973, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. Gift of Albert E. Bachelet.

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Biographical/Historical note

Emile Bachelet (1863-1946) was born in Nanterre, France, a village outside Paris and emigrated to the U.S. in the 1880s. He began his career in Boston as an electrician on the building staff of the Boston Institute (now known as Massachusetts Institute of Technology). He was naturalized a United States citizen in 1888, moved to California in 1889 and then to Tacoma, Washington where he worked as an electrician for the city government and later as an inventor of electro-magnetic therapeutic devices for the treatment of rheumatism. Bachelet discovered that arthritic pain disappeared when he was near huge generators and thus began his experimentation with electromagnets. In the 1890s he conceived the idea of magnetic levitation and worked for twenty years on its application to a train. A model was exhibited in London in 1914 and it received worldwide notice and some financial support. In the early 1900s, Bachelet moved to New York City and formed three companies, Bachelet General Magnet Co., Inc., Bachelet Magnetic Wave Company, and Bachelet Medical Apparatus Company to continue his invention work. However, his interest shifted often from one device to another and he later moved to Poughkeepsie, NY where he continued his invention efforts in a small workshop until his death in 1946.

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Scope and Contents note

The collection consists of approximately .66 cubic feet of biographical materials, correspondence, clippings, patents, photographs, newspaper clippings, and a scrapbook relating to Emile Bachelet’s invention of a device for magnetically levitating trains and other devices.

Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1890-1956, consists of Bachelet’s passports, citizenship papers, some genealogical notes, clippings, a certificate from the Masonic Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, and an undated interview with Albert Bachelet, Emile’s son. Documentation on Albert Bachelet’s work with the Lincoln stereoscopic pairs is also here.

Series 2: Correspondence, 1915-1959, includes letters from Emile Bachelet’s former secretary, Suzanne Stokvis-Simpson, to Albert Bachelet from 1948 to 1959.

Series 3: Patents, 1903-1929, contains both United States and foreign issued patents for Bachelet’s inventions. Also included in this series is information on Bachelet’s Wave Generator Machine that was used to treat individuals suffering from rheumatism and other pains by “increasing the vital energies of the blood and creating a vibratory magnetic field in which is placed the patients or patients.”

Series 4: Photographs, ca. 1880s-1945, include Bachelet’s “Magnetically Levitated Railway” device, his “Free Energy Machine”, models, equipment, and other devices being demonstrated and portraits of Emile Bachelet.

Series 5: Newspaper Clippings and Scrapbook, 1912-1973, document accounts of the public presentation of Bachelet’s model of a magnetically levitated train in London in 1914 and other projects.

Series 6: Miscellaneous, 1915-1917, contains a visitor’s book to Bachelet’s laboratory, brochures on the Bachelet Wave Generator machine and drawings.

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Arrangement note

The collection is divided into six series.

Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1890-1956

Series 2: Correspondence, 1915-1959

Series 3: Patents, 1903-1929

Series 4: Photographs, circa 1880s-1945

Series 5: Newspaper Clippings and Scrapbook, 1912-1973

Series 6: Miscellaneous, 1915-1917

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Controlled Access Headings


  • Clippings
  • Contracts
  • Photographs--Black-and-white photoprints--Silver gelatin--19th-20th century
  • Scrapbooks

Personal Name(s)

  • Churchill, Winston, Sir, 1874-1965


  • Electromagnetism
  • Electromagnetism in medicine
  • Inventions--1910-1920
  • Inventors
  • Magnetic levitation vehicles--1910-1920
  • Magnetic suspension--1910-1920
  • Medicine
  • Patents
  • Railroads--Trains--1910-1920--England

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Collection Inventory

 Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1890-1956

Box Folder

Miscellaneous biographical materials, 1914-1946

1 1

Tacoma Illustrated (page 80), 1890

1 2

Albert Bachelet, 1956

1 3

Passports and citizenship papers, 1916-1918

3 1

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 Series 2: Correspondence, 1915-1959

Box Folder

Correspondence, 1915-1932

1 4

Correspondence, 1916-1945

1 5

Suzanne Stokvis-Simpson, 1948-1949

1 6

Suzanne Stokvis-Simpson, 1950-1953

1 7

Suzanne Stokvis-Simpson, 1954-1959

1 8

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 Series 3: Patents, 1903-1929

 Subseries 1: United States Patents

Box Folder

US #743,372, Magnetic Medical Apparatus, 1903

1 9

US #743,373, Electromagnetic Therapeutic Apparatus, 1903

1 9

US #847,877, Electric Current Interrupting and Varying Apparatus, 1907

1 9

US #849,653, Electro Magnetic Apparatus, 1907

1 9

US #946,193, Electromagnet, 1910

1 9

US #986,039, Synchronizing Interrupter for Electric Currents, 1911

1 9

US #1,001,236 Electromagnetic Sound-Wave Therapeutic Machine, 1911

1 9

US #1,020,942, Levitating Transmitting Apparatus, 1912

1 9

US #1,020,943, Levitating Transmitting Apparatus, 1912

1 9

US #1,051,056, Levitating Apparatus for Conveying Ammunition, 1913

1 9

US #1,088,511, Levitating Apparatus for Starting and Stopping Aeroplanes and the Like, 1914

1 9

US #1,232,174, Electromagnetic Engine, 1917

1 9

US #1,738,981, Mechanical Movement, 1929

1 9

 Subseries 2: Foreign Patents

Box Folder

British #10726, Improvements in and relating to Electro-Magnetic Levitating Devices, 1915

1 10

Bachelet Wave Generator Machine, 1905, 1907

1 11

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 Series 4: Photographs, circa 1880s-1945

Box Folder


1 12

Mechanical Movement, 1929

3 2

Free Energy Machine, 1945

3 2

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 Series 5: Newspaper Clippings and Scrapbook, 1912-1973

Box Folder

Newspaper clippings, 1912-1973

3 4

Scrapbook, 1914

3 5

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 Series 6: Miscellaneous, 1915-1917

Box Folder

Visitors Book to Bachelet Lab, 1915-1916

2 1

Brochures about Bachelet’s Wave Generator Machine, undated

2 2

Notes of S. Stokvis on the Electro Magnetic Shuttle Driving Apparatus, 1915

2 3

Drawings for Means of Harnessing the Force of Gravitational Energy, 1917

3 3

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