RCA technical reportsCreation: 1924-1992
The Radio Corporation of America (renamed RCA Corporation in 1969) was best known for its pioneering radio and television development and manufacturing. In addition to consumer electronics, RCA was a major player in the development of electronics for industrial and military applications. The RCA technical reports contain thousands of detailed scientific reports on RCA’s research and development in electronics. Most were created for internal use, but contract proposals and reports for nearly 700 different contract projects are also included.
- Creation: 1924-1992
- RCA Corporation (Organization)
153 Linear Feet
The Radio Corporation of America (renamed RCA Corporation in 1969) was best known for its pioneering radio and television development and manufacturing. In addition to consumer electronics, RCA was a major player in the development of electronics for industrial and military applications. It was also prominent in radio and television broadcasting, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, NBC. Originally created in 1919 as a government sponsored radio monopoly, RCA operated until 1986, when it was acquired by GE and broken up.
For more information, see the historical note for accession 2069, RCA Corporation records: http://findingaids.hagley.org/xtf/view?docId=ead/2069.xml
The collection is arranged in five series:
I. Contract proposals
II. Contract reports
III. Old systems
IV. New system
V. Translations of technical articles
Scope and Content
The RCA technical reports contain thousands of detailed scientific reports on RCA’s research and development in electronics. Most were created for internal use, but contract proposals and reports for nearly 700 different contract projects are also included.
Most reports are highly technical and are very difficult to follow without a background in electronics engineering. For those with such a background, they are a unique resource for understanding technological development.
Partial card indexes from the David Sarnoff Research Center's Research Library be found in Record group 3, Series XII of the David Sarnoff Research Center records (2464.09).
The collection is arranged in five series: Contract proposals; Contract reports; Old systems; New system; and Translations of technical articles.
Contract proposals series consists of RCA contract proposals containing technical and management plans, as well as brief biographies of the personnel involved. Most proposals were made to the U. S. Army, U. S. Air Force, or NASA. Nearly all of the proposals were produced by RCA Somerville, RCA Laboratories, and RCA Defense Electronic Products (DEP).
Contract reports series contains RCA technical and progress reports from nearly 700 contracts, mostly with the U.S. Government. The vast majority of the reports were issued by RCA Laboratories, but reports from other RCA units are also included.
Old systems series consists mostly of technical reports issued before the implementation of the unified designation system in 1970 (see Series IV). It also includes the report series that were not included in the new system: Restricted Distribution Reports (RDRs), Technical Notes (TNs), and reports issued by International Licensing.
New systems series:
At the beginning of 1970, RCA established a unified report designation system for technical reports. The designator contained four parts: unit identifier, year, report type, and number.
The unit identifier was four letters long, two letters for location and two letters for division. For example, the designation for RCA Laboratories was PRRL: Princeton (PR) Research Laboratories (RL).
After two digits for the year, the report type was given. This was Contract Report (CR), Engineering Memorandum (EM), or Technical Report (TR). Note that contract reports are included in Series II of the collection. The final element was a three digit report number.
As such, the first technical report under the new system issued by the Advanced Technology Laboratories in Burlington, Massachusetts was designated BNAT-70-TR-001.
Translations of technical articles series consists of translations of foreign language technical articles, mostly from Soviet publications. Many were translated by RCA Laboratories staff.
Technical reports for which only the designator is given have been individually cataloged in the Hagley Library catalog, searchable here.
Collection is open for research.
Language of Materials
In 2003, L-3 Communications East, which owned the former RCA Camden research library, donated the library's collection of technical reports to the David Sarnoff Library. These were mostly post-1970 reports, as the earlier ones had already been donated to Hagley in 1993 (part of Accession 2069).
These technical reports and a similar number from the Sarnoff Corporation were donated to Hagley in 2009, along with the rest of the archival collections of the David Sarnoff Library.
Finding Aid & Administrative Information
- RCA technical reports
- Daniel Michelson
- Description rules:
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description:
- Script of description:
- The collection was processed with support from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant.