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CHARLES ADLER, JR. COLLECTION, ca. 1920-1980
#351

(6.0 cubic ft.: 14 DB, 1 F/O)

by: Don Darroch and Robert S. Harding, 1990

Biography

Charles Adler, Jr. (1899-1980), a professional engineer and inventor was a life-long resident of Baltimore, Maryland. He began his career as an inventor at 14, receiving a patent on an electric automotive brake. After attending Johns Hopkins University, he served briefly in the Army during World War I and worked at several jobs before being associated in 1919 with the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad, where he developed a series of safety devices. In 1928 he developed and installed in Baltimore the first traffic-actuated (by the sound of a car horn) signal light. In 1937 he became a consultant to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, continuing to invent safety and signal devices for automobiles, trains and aircraft. He was granted over 60 U.S. patents for devices in general use and donated 10 aircraft device patents to the U.S. Government. He was a licensed pilot and a member of numerous professional engineering societies. In 1953-1959 Adler served on the Maryland State Aviation Commission; he was a member of the Maryland Traffic Safety Commission from 1952 until his death.

Scope and Content

The collection contains much biographical information on Mr. Adler and his career. Materials relating to his professional activities include newspaper clippings, both in scrapbooks and loose in folders, photographs and other memorabilia; his published writings include articles in periodicals and newspapers. In addition, there are his patent applications, royalty receipts and correspondence, 1928-1975, as well as lengthy descriptions of the various safety devices Adler invented. Numerous photographs, many uncaptioned, including images of devices Adler invented, as well as images of aircraft, automobiles and trains. Portraits include early family groups and those of Adler and his associates.

Provenance

This collection was donated by Charles Adler, Jr.'s daughter, Mrs. Amalie Adler Ascher on September 15, 1989.

Container List

Box    Folder

Series 1: BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIAL, 1899-1980

1 1 Birth Certificate, 6/16/1899 (copies).
2 "The Brownie," Park School Yearbook, 1914; 1917.
3 Honorable Discharge from U. S. Army, 12/10/18.
4 Marriage Certificate, 6/10/25.
5 Personal recognition statements and testimonials honoring Adler, 1941-1976.
6 Pilot's Flight Log, 1945; Certificate of Recordation, Pilot Certificate # 171609, 12/9/45; Pilot Certificate and Ratings with Limitations, 6/13/46. Medical Certificate, Student and Private Pilot, 1947; 1949.
7 Memoirs and other reminiscences by Charles Adler, Jr., 1968-1980.
8 Address books, 1969; 1971.
9 Illuminating Engineering Society Directory (Maryland Section), 1971-1972.
10 State of Maryland Professional Engineer Certificate, expires 6/30/81.
11 Harry Adler, Last Will and Testament, 1/30/70.
12 "Adler's Album" (by Charles Adler, Jr.) n.d.
13 Biographical sketches and obituaries on Adler, list of inventions.
14 Metal plaques and license tags.
15 Miscellaneous ephemera.

Series 2: SCRAPBOOKS AND CLIPPINGS, 1920-1989

2 1 1920-1924: clippings from newspapers and trade journals on Adler's invention of automobile traffice warning system for RR grade crossings (also photos of the device); Correspondence with individuals in railroad industry.
2A 1 1924-1927: handwritten notes, diagrams and newsclippings on devices to control automatically the speed of cars approaching RR crossings and other dangers through magnets imbedded in highway which would act on devices in cars to control speed.
2 1925: newsclippings on above device.
2 2 1926-1928: newsclippings, correspondence and photos on above and similar devices. Also clippings on traffic signal actuated by sound of horn.
3 1 1927-1928: clippings, handwritten notes and correspondence on sonic traffic light control.
2 1928-1929: clippings, photographs on sonic traffic light.
3A 1 1928-1930: clippings on sonic and other traffic lights.
2 1930-1939: clippings on double-filament traffic signal and devices.
3B   1931-1932: clippings on traffic lights for color blind.
4 1932-1978: newsclippings of articles by Charles Adler on a variety of subjects.
1973-1974: clippings of "Adler's Album" a column which was a regular feature in the Baltimore Beacon.
1 1928-1970: unmounted clippings from newspapers and magazines on a variety of Adler's inventions and activities.
2 1971-1989: unmounted newspaper and magazine clippings on Adler and his work
3 Undated: unmounted clippings on Adler and his work.
5A 1-7 1939-1946: clippings on inventions; correspondence and advertisements.
8-11 1947-1951: clippings regarding aircraft inventions; columns by Walter Winchell, Dorothy Kilgallen, and Earl Wilson.
5B 1&2 1952-1954: clippings: Walter Winchell, Cholly Knickerbocker columns; and visit of King Carol (of Rumania).
1974-1977: clippings of "Adler's Album" column from Baltimore Beacon. Correspondence and photoprints honoring Adler.

Series 3: MISCELLANEOUS CORRESPONDENCE 1928-1975

6 1 Correspondence, 1928-1943.
2 1954-1963.
3 Maryland Traffic Safety Commission,1956-1971.
4 Institute of Traffic Engineers, 1965-1971.
5 1965-1975.
6 Royalty statements, Union Switch & Signal to Adler,1936-1952.
7 Grimes Manufacturing to Adler, 1949-1969.

Series 4: PATENTS, INVENTIONS

7 1 Clock speedometer, 1970.
2 Disabled diverter, 1971-1972.
3 Landing indicator, 1930-1942.
4 Spaceometer, 1918-1955.
5 1956-1963.
6 1964-1966.
7 1967-1977.
8 8 Aircraft tail light, 1940-1957.
9 Various aircraft lights, 1929-1955.
10 Various aircraft lights, 1956-1978.
9 11 Aircraft collision avoidance, 1941-1963.
12 Aircraft collision avoidance, 1965-1980.
13 Aircraft collision avoidance Grimes Manufacturing Co.,1950-1960.
14 Aircraft lights, Grimes Manufacturing Co., 1965-1971.
10 15 Other aircraft patents, 1940-1974.
16 Automotive traffic control, 1925-1935.
17 Automotive traffic control, 1936-1955.
18 Automotive traffic control, 1956-1975.
11 19 Automotive devices, other, 1919-1979.
20 Railroad & other, 1917-1980.
21 Assignment of patents to U.S. Government, 1945-1973.

Series 5: PHOTOGRAPHS AND SCRAPBOOKS,
 ca. 1920s-1930s

12 1 Early Adler family and school photoprints.
2 Portraits of Charles Adler and others.
3 Aircraft.
12A 1 Automotive: classic cars.
2 Automotive: other.
13 6 Railroad.
7 Unidentified devices.
8 Miscellaneous photo negatives.

Series 6: PUBLICATIONS, 1952-1980

14 Institute of Traffic Engineers; other transportation publications, 1952-1980.
15 Congressional Record; other legislative publications; and miscellaneous publications, 1957-1975.

CHARLES ADLER JR. PATENTS

(Original document, U.S. Patent Office)

Date No. Description

Box/Folder

8/17/48 2447302 Position Lights 8-9
4/7/59 2881307 Undulating Aircraft Light 8-9
4/20/43 2316751 Landing Indicators 8-9
2/23/43 2311921 Flasher Switches 8-9
7/29/52 2605384 Aircraft Position Lamp 8-9
12/19/44 2365504 Reflector Lamps 8-10
5/11/65 3183480 Anti-collision Lights (aircraft) 9/11
12/12/44 2365038 Signals 9/11
5/24/60 2938192 Beacon Lights 9/11
6/20/44 22497(Reissue) Signal Lamps 9/11
4/22/58 2832059 Airplane External Lighting 9/11
11/9/71 3619597 Aircraft Beacon 9/11
8/27/40 2212490 Airplanes 10/15
7/11/44 2353380 Flight Indicators 10/15
6/21/38 2121276 Signals 10 /16
9/22/31 85143 (Design) Traffic Signal Facing 10 /16
4/24/34 92055 (Design) Signal Coverglass 10 /16
3/26/35 1995816 Traffic Signals 10 /16
3/12/29 1705323 Highway Signal Systems 10 /16
9/24/35 2015612 Traffic Signals 10 /16
7/25/33 1919874 Traffic Signals 10 /16
3/15/38 108773 (Design) Signal Coverglass 10 /16
6/5/51 2556052 Diverter Lighting System 11 /19
4/8/19 1300094 Electrical Brake 11 /19
10/23/34 1978334 Signals 11 /20
1/28/36 2029211 Signals 11 /20
11/29/32 1889725 Signal Lamps 11 /20
10/18/21 1394264 Crossing Signals 11 /20
8/9/27 1638793 Automatic Time Controls (R.R.) 11 /20
11/20/34 1981577 Signals 11 /20

CANADIAN PATENT

10/3/22 224361 Railway Crossing Signals 11 /20

Don Darroch and Robert S. Harding, March 14, 1990

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Revised: April 17, 2007