Guide to the Van Philllips Video Oral History and Papers
NMAH.AC.0859

Administrative Information

Repository Information

Archives Center, National Museum of American History, 2012

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

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 intellectual property rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions

Custodial History note

Video oral history created by the Innovative Lives Program of the Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. Transferred to the Archives Center on March 9, 2004. Papers donated by Ossur North America, the company which bought Phillips' design, on November 11, 2003.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

The design drawings and product literature was donated by Ossur North America, on July 30, 2004. The videocassettes were donated by the Smithsonian Institution's Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, National Museum of American History on July 30, 2004.

Processing Information note

Processed by Mitch Toda, August 2004; supervised by Alison Oswald, archivist.

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Summary Information

Repository
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Creator - (interviewer).
Dennis, Maggie
Creator
Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.
Creator
Ossur North America.
Creator - (interviewer).
Ott, Katherine
Creator - (interviewee,
Phillips, Van
Title
Van Phillips Oral History and Papers
ID
NMAH.AC.0859
Date
1991-2004
Extent
1.35 Cubic feet; 3 boxes
Language
English
Abstract
Video oral history interview of Van Phillips, inventor of the Flex-Foot and other innovative prosthetic feet, conducted by Katherine Ott and Maggie Dennis, February 27, 2004, and design drawings and printed materials regarding prosthetic feet by Van Phillips, Hilary D. Pouchak, and Slobodon Djordjevic.

Preferred Citation note

Van Phillips Oral History and Papers, 1991-2004, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.

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Biographical/Historical note

In 1976, after a waterskiing accident, Van Phillips had his left leg amputated just above the ankle. At the time he was twenty-one years old and a student at Arizona State University studying mass communications and advertising. The accident and his frustration with the prosthetic technology at the time motivated Phillips to switch his studies to prosthetics. He graduated in 1981. Happy to design a prosthetic foot with strength, flexibility, and light weight materials, Phillips began the process of bringing his ideas into reality. During this time his idea of a C-shaped foot was born. Carbon fiber with its excellent strength and flexible properties was cut into a C-shaped foot, with a sole on the bottom and a prosthetic socket above. With this design, weight applied by landing on the heel was converted into energy thereby simulating the spring action of the normal foot and allowing users to run and jump. After trying out his new design, Phillips immediately decided to quit his job, develop his design, and start a new company. Flex-Foot Inc. was formed in 1984 and demand for Phillips innovative prosthetic foot has increased ever since. While the firm was sold in 2000 to Ossur, a company based in Iceland, in 2000, Phillips still owns the patent rights to his invention and continues to contribute his ideas and expertise to research and development projects.

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Scope and Contents note

Approximately two hours of a video oral history interview of Van Phillips, inventor of the Flex-Foot and other innovative prosthetic feet, conducted by Katherine Ott and Maggie Dennis, February 27, 2004. In Series 2 there are design drawings and printed materials regarding prosthetic feet by Van Phillips and Hilary D. Pouchak.

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Arrangement note

The collection is arranged into two series.

Series 1, Video Oral History, 2004

Series 2, Design Drawings and Printed Materials, 1991-2002

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Flex-Foot, Inc..

Genre(s)

  • Design drawings
  • Interviews--2000-2010.
  • Oral history--2000-2010.
  • Videotapes--2000-2010.

Personal Name(s)

  • Djordjevic, Slobodon
  • Pouchak, Hilary D.

Subject(s)

  • Inventions
  • Inventors
  • Prosthesis

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Collection Inventory

 Series 1: Video Oral History, 2004 February 27

Box OV

Van Phillips Video History Interview, 2004 February 27

1 859.1

Van Phillips Video History Interview, 2004 February 27

1 859.2

Van Phillips Video History Interview, 2004 February 27

1 859.3

Van Phillips Video History Interview, 2004 February 27

1
Box

Reference Copy Videos of the Van Phillips Video History Interview, 2004 February 27

2
Box Folder

Transcript of Van Phillips Video History Interview includes index, 2004 February 27

2 1

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 Series 2: Design Drawings and Printed Materials, 1991-2002

Design drawings for prosthetic foot, the Vari-Flex, by Van Phillips (4 drawings), 1990 October


  Box Folder
Moving Images   3 1
  Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 1

Design drawings for prosthetic foot, alternate style of the Sure-Flex known as the Nipple Foot, by Hilary D. Pouchak (12 drawings), 1994 February-June 1994


  Box Folder
Moving Images   3 2
  Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 2

Design drawings for prosthetic foot, the Phoenix Foot later known as the K2 Sensation, by Hilary D. Pouchak and Slobodon Djordjevic (13 drawings), 1998 April- May 1998


  Box Folder
Moving Images   3 3
  Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 3

Design drawings for horse prosthetic foot, the Barnaby, by Hilary D. Pouchak (4 drawings), 2002 April


  Box Folder
Moving Images   3 4
  Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 4

Design drawings for prosthetic foot, the Delta Foot (never made it to market), by Hilary D. Pouchak (12 drawings), 1995 July


  Box Folder
Moving Images   3 5
  Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 5

Design drawings by Slobodon Djordjevic (10 drawings), 1999 November-2000 July


  Box Folder
Moving Images   3 6
  Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 6

Design drawings for prosthetic foot, the first prototype of the Air Bladder Foot or Geri-Flex (never made it to market), by Hilary D. Pouchak (10 drawings and printed documents: letter and instructions regarding the Geri-Flex to prosthetist), 1991 July-1992 December


  Box Folder
Moving Images   3 7
  Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 7

Design drawings for prosthetic foot, the second prototype of the Geri-Flex, by Hilary D. Pouchak (27 drawings, 3 printed documents: letter, instructions, and specifications regarding the Geri-Flex to prosthetist), 1992 December-1993 March


  Box Folder
Moving Images   3 8
  Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 8

Design drawings for prosthetic foot, the Flex Sprint I, II, and III (Cheetah), the C-Sprint, and the Sprint Symes, by Hilary D. Pouchak (24 drawings), 1991 October-2002 March


  Box Folder
Moving Images   3 9
  Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 9

Design drawings for prosthetic foot, the Ski Leg I and II, by Hilary D. Pouchak, (9 drawings), 1997 March-1998 February


  Box Folder
Mixed materials   3 10
  Box Folder
Moving Images   3 10

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