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By Don Darroch, September 3, 1992


Whitney (1862-1963) was an engineer and inventor who developed many applications of steam power, including bicycles, cars and boats in the late 1800s. The Locomobile Company, of which Whitney was chief engineer, produced several thousand steam cars around the turn of the century. During WWI, Whitney designed the compound steam engine which powered about 300 U.S. Navy anti-submarine ships. Whitney was the recipient of about 150 patents on his inventions, a number of which he sold rights to.

Scope and Content

Correspondence includes about three dozen handwritten letters to John H. Bacon from Whitney. Bacon apparently undertook the task of collecting documentation of Whitney's career in the 1950s. Another 30 letters involve former associates of Whitney's, particularly Nathaniel Henry Cooledge (known as "Oliver") who was associated with Whitney as his trusted foreman and assistant for 50 years. Also included are agreements, contracts and patents concerning Whitney's inventions as well as news clippings, photo prints, etc. A lengthy questionnaire prepared by John H. Bacon was filled out by Whitney in 1955 giving information on his major inventions and projects as well as his personal life. Click here to view a sample from box 1, folder 7, of this collection.


Papers were "left for study" 9/30/91 by Edward Bacon, 2002 Briarwood Lane, Las Crusces, NM 88005. Transferred from the Division of Transportation August, 1992.

Container List

Box 1

    Folder 1, George E. Whitney replies to John H. Bacon Questionnaire, 10/25/1955; 2, George W. Whitney letters to John H. Bacon, 9/16/1955-11/22/1957; 3, Letters to George E. Whitney, 1913-1957; 4, Nathaniel Henry Cooledge ("Oliver") letters to J.H. Bacon, 3/6/1956-1/23/1957; 5, Letters to John H. Bacon from several correspondents, 1955-1957; 6, Correspondence & photographs, Long tricycle, 1947; 7, Press clippings and photographs, nd (click here to view a sample for this folder); 8, Letters regarding Whitney patents and other business, 1902-1907; 9, George E. Whitney patents and contracts, 1898-1932.


Revised: January 5, 2000