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John T. Parsons Papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: Ms-1987-016

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. Partial inventory available. Please contact Special Collections and Universtiy Archives for more information.

Dates

  • ca. 1935-1987

Creator

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 (specref@vt.edu or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.

Biographical Note

John T. Parsons (1913-2007) was manufacturer; inventor; and father of numerical control, or 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 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 aircraft operation that became the world's largest designer, producer, and overhauler of helicopter rotor blades; built first all-composite airplane (for 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); and recipient of the National Medal of Technology (1985); recipient of the National Tooling and Machining Association's Distinguished Service Award (1987).

Extent

ca. 350 Cubic Feet (255 boxes)

Abstract

John T. Parsons (1913-2007) was manufacturer; inventor; and father of numerical control, or 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. Partial inventory available.

Physical Access

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/).

Processing Information

The collection is unprocessed. Minimal description was completed prior to 2001. A partial inventory of the original donation was created prior to 1990, a box inventory of the second donation was created prior to 2021, and additional minor work was done in 2006, 2008, and 2021.

Title
John T. Parsons Papers, ca. 1935-1987
Status
Unprocessed
Author
Special Collections and University Archives
Date
2014 (CC0 1.0)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository

Contact:
Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US
540-231-6308