Guide to the Madison Cooper Papers
NMAH.AC.1054

Administrative Information

Publication Information

Archives Center, National Museum of American History 2011

Smithsonian Institution
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C., 20013-7012
Phone: 202-633-3270
Email: 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 copyright restrictions. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: fees for commercial use.

Custodial History note

Transferred to the Archives Center from the Division of Mechanical and Civil Engineering, now known as the Division of Work and Industry, 2007.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

The collection was donated by Daniel Cooper, son of Madison Cooper, in 1963.

Processing Information note

Processed by Cara Whiting (intern), April, 2011; supervised by Alison Oswald, archivist.

Return to Table of Contents »


Summary Information

Repository
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Creator
Cooper, Madison, 1868-1946
Creator
Madison Cooper Company (Watertown, N.Y.)
Title
Madison Cooper Papers
ID
NMAH.AC.1054
Date
1900-1963
Extent
0.25 Cubic feet (1 box)
Language
English
Language of Materials note
Materials are primarily in English; some foreign patents are in German and French.
Abstract
Madison Cooper was an inventor and manufacturer of refrigerating systems in the early twentieth century. Cooper received several patents for his refrigeration inventions, including several refrigerating apparatuses, an air-circulating system, a process for preventing the formation of frost on refrigerating surfaces and a refrigeration train car. The collection spans 1900-1963 and includes his United States and foreign patents, his publications related to refrigeration, and a few documents and photographs related to Cooper and the Madison Cooper Company.

Preferred Citation note

Title and date of item, Madison Cooper papers, 1899-1963, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, box number X, folder number XX, digital file number XXXXXXX.

Return to Table of Contents »


Biographical/Historical note

Madison Cooper was an inventor and manufacturer of refrigerating systems in the early twentieth century. Born in Leray, New York, on March 19, 1868, Cooper moved as a young man to Minneapolis, Minnesota where he entered the butter and egg shipping business. He invented a cold storage system while working in the produce business. Cooper shifted careers to focus on cold storage engineering where he planned, designed and installed refrigeration systems in over 100 plants in the United States and Canada. Cooper moved the Madison Cooper Company to Watertown, New York around 1903 and in 1909, built a plant for the manufacturing of refrigerating equipment in Calcium, New York. The advent of mechanical and electric refrigeration in the 1920s superseded Cooper’s system and his company dissolved in 1936, although at least one of Cooper’s systems was still in operation in 1953. Cooper died on July 8, 1946 and was remembered not only for his contributions to refrigeration, but also as a horticulturist and editor and publisher of The Flower Grower.

Cooper received several patents in the United States and abroad for his refrigeration inventions, including several refrigerating apparatuses, an air-circulating system, a process for preventing the formation of frost on refrigerating surfaces and a refrigeration train car. He focused on simple and inexpensive construction that provided economic and efficient operation. Many of his inventions involved the use of a false floor that allowed cool air to flow underneath it and a perforated ceiling that released warm air. Other patents included cold air circulation within walls to cool buildings and apartments and focused on controlling temperature, humidity and air purity.

Return to Table of Contents »


Scope and Contents note

Series 1, Historical background, 1900-1963, consists of biographical information about Madison Cooper. The series includes obituaries, two diagrams of optimal temperature for food storage that were produced by the Madison Cooper Company, and three photographs that show Cooper and workers in the shop and office in Watertown and the plant in Calcium.

Cooper published articles related to refrigeration and specifically to his refrigeration systems titled "Chloride of Calcium in Refrigeration," 1900, "Natural Ice Cold Storage and the Cooper Systems of Refrigeration," 1901, "Ice Refrigeration," (1902), the Madison Cooper Company publication "Cold"(1914), and "The Cooper Systems of Refrigeration," undated.

Series 2, Patents, 1900-1908, contains United States and foreign patents related to Madison Cooper.

The United States patents contain drawings and specifications of Cooper's refrigerating inventions and are arranged by patent number.

Patents include:

Refrigerating apparatus (US Patent, 11,822)

Process of preventing formation of frost on refrigerating surfaces (US Patent 644,847)

Old-storage apparatus (US Patent 659,468)

Indirect air-circulating systems of cold-storage apparatus (US Patent 677,536)

Cold-storage apparatus air circulating system (US Patent 754,749)

Refrigerator cars (US Patent 881,902)

Foreign patents are arranged alphabetically by country. Patents for the process of preventing formation of frost on refrigerating surfaces include:

Austria Process of preventing formation of frost on refrigerating surfaces (4,075)

Canada Process of preventing formation of frost on refrigerating surfaces (66,959)

Canada Improvements in indirect air circulating systems for cold storage apparatus (75,602)

Canada Improvements in refrigerating apparatus (75,636)

France Process of preventing formation of frost on refrigerating surfaces (297,158)

Germany Process of preventing formation of frost on refrigerating surfaces (117,943)

Great Britain Process of preventing formation of frost on refrigerating surfaces (2,840)

Also included are an assignment of letters patent related to the refrigerating apparatus (US Patent 11,822) shared with George A. Dole and a contract related to the patents for the process of preventing frost formation on refrigerating surfaces.

Return to Table of Contents »


Arrangement note

The collection is organized into two series.

Series 1, Historical background, 1900-1963

Series 2, Patents, 1900-1908

Return to Table of Contents »


Controlled Access Headings

Genre(s)

  • Articles--20th century
  • Clippings--20th century
  • Correspondence--20th century
  • Pamphlets--20th century.
  • Patents
  • Photographs--20th century

Subject(s)

  • Horticulturists
  • Refrigeration and refrigerating machinery

Return to Table of Contents »


Collection Inventory

Series 1, Historical background, 1900-1963 

Biographical, circa 1930-1963 


  Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 1

Publications, 1900-1914 


  Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 2

Photographs, 1905-circa 1909 


  Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 3

Return to Table of Contents »


Series 2, Patents, 1900-1908 

United States patents, 1900-1908 


  Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 4

Foreign patents, 1900-1902 


  Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 5

Legal documents related to patents, 1901-1902 


  Box Folder
Mixed materials   1 6

Return to Table of Contents »