John T. Parsons Papers
Scope and Content
The John T. Papers include correspondence, memoranda, financial records, engineering drawings and specifications, files about civic affairs in Traverse City, Michigan, reading files and other materials.
- ca. 1935-1991
- Parsons, John T., 1913-2007 (Person)
Language of Materials
The materials in the collection are in English.
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research, except box 190 marked "Personal" in Division 10, which needs to be reviewed before access. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives for more information.
Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use
The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials.
Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: http://bit.ly/scuareproduction. Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: http://bit.ly/scuapublication. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives (firstname.lastname@example.org or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.
John T. Parsons (1913-2007) was a manufacturer and inventor of numerical control, which is the application of computer technology to manufacturing processes.
Parsons produced bombs and land mines for U.S. government during World War II. He conceived a machine tool for automatically producing aircraft structural shapes from punch card/tape input (1946); executed a contract to produce the world's first numerical control milling machine (1949) and monitored design and completion of the machine (1950-1952). Parsons also originated an aircraft operation that became the world's largest designer, producer, and overhauler of helicopter rotor blades and built the first all-composite airplane for the Office of Naval Research. He created many other processes involving computer applications to manufacturing and received approximately fifty U.S. patents in the fields of numerical control, marine propellers, foundry systems, and data acquisition manufacturing methods.
Parsons served as president and owner of the Parsons Corporation of Traverse City, Michigan, Detroit, Michigan, and Stockton, California (1954-1968). He was then president and owner of the John T. Parsons Company, Traverse City, Michigan (1968-1986).
Among his numerous awards, Parsons was the first recipient of the Numerical Control Society's Joseph Marie Jacquard Award as the Father of Numerical Control (1968), a recipient of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers Engineering Citation as the person whose brilliant conceptualization of numerical control marked the beginning of the second industrial revolution (1975), recipient of the National Medal of Technology (1985), and recipient of the National Tooling and Machining Association's Distinguished Service Award (1987).
He died in Traverse City, Michigan at the age of 93.
ca. 258 Cubic Feet (204 boxes, 3 oversize folders, one artifact.)
John T. Parsons (1913-2007) was a manufacturer and inventor of numerical control, which is the application of computer technology to manufacturing processes. The John T. Papers include correspondence, memoranda, financial records, engineering drawings and specifications, files about civic affairs in Traverse City, Michigan, reading files and other materials.
The collection is divided into the following series:
- Series I. Division 1: Corporate Office
- Series II. Division 2: Automotive Division
- Series III. Division 3: Appliance Division
- Series IV. Division 4: Ordnance Division
- Series V. Division 5: Aircraft Division
- Series VI. Division 6: Subsidiaries Division
- Series VII. Division 7: Minor Products Division
- Series VIII. Division 8: John T. Parsons Company
- Series IX. Division 9: Personal
- Series X. Division 10: Posters and Drawings
These series have been imposed by archivists but are based on Parson's original order and description. Materials have been kept in original order where possible. Arrangement is chronological, then alphabetical where applicable.
Please note: This collection is in off-site storage and requires 2-3 days notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections and Universtiy Archives for more information.
Source of Acquisition
The collection was acquired by Special Collections and University Archives in 1988 and 1999.
Rights Statement for Archival Description
The guide to the John T. Parsons Papers by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (https://creativecommons.org/share-your-work/public-domain/cc0/).
The processing, arrangement, and description of the John T. Parsons Papers was completed in September 2023.
- John T. Parsons Papers, ca. 1935-1991
- Bess Pittman, Project Processing Archivist
- 2023 (CC0 1.0)
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- 2020-08-17: Finding aid notes updated to new department standards. juliags
- 2021-02 to 2021-03: LM Rozema added missing notes for an unprocessed collection, FA title and filing titles, and FA date from EAD; marked Box 190 in Division 10 as confidential pending review; appended 1999 addition to end of "Divisions"; and incorporated some inventory info and box numbers from paper finding aids, where possible.
- 2023-10-29: Finding aid updated to reflect complete processing of the collection. BP
Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository
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