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Penrose R. Hoopes papers

Creation: 1909-1974
 Collection
Accession: 1344

Abstract

Penrose Robinson Hoopes (1892-1976) was a mechanical engineer, inventor, author, and horologist. He specialized in the design of factory equipment, particularly high-production automatic machinery. This collection consists of documents pertaining to Penrose R. Hoopes' career as an engineer and inventor. Hoopes' work includes machine designs for the American Chicle Company, Campbell Soup Company, Johnson and Johnson, and the Ferracute Machine Company. The bulk of the collection material spans from 1923 to 1968, with some patent material and typescript excerpts from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The collection includes correspondence and blueprints related to Hoopes' work as a designer and inventor, as well as employee records, manuscript material, photographs, trade pamphlets, and bibliographic information.

Dates

  • Creation: 1909-1974

Creator

Extent

11 Linear Feet

Biographical Note

Penrose Robinson Hoopes (1892-1976) was a mechanical engineer, inventor, author, and horologist. Hoopes was born in St. Davids, Pennsylvania, on March 7, 1892, to Margaret Campbell Hoopes (1860-1949) and David J. Hoopes (1846-1918). He graduated from Radnor High School in Radnor, Pennsylvania, then enrolled at Pennsylvania State College with the class of 1915 but left during his junior year to pursue on-the-job training in engineering.

Between 1915 and 1922, Hoopes served in the engineering departments of various machine manufacturers in Pennsylvania and Connecticut, including that of his uncle, Andrew C. Campbell (1856-1926). In 1922 he started a private consulting business dealing with the design and installation of factory equipment, especially high-production machinery and automatic machines for metalworking. He settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1932, where he would operate his business until his retirement in the late 1960s.

During his career, Hoopes invented numerous automatic machines, largely those used in the production of hardware, clocks, and paper and rubber goods. He was a contributing editor of the Encyclopaedia of Materials Handling, as well as a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Franklin Institute, and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Hoopes was interested in the early history of American technology, particularly clockmaking (horology). He authored several historical works, including Connecticut Clockmakers of the Eighteenth Century, and prepared a manuscript bibliography of early technical Americana.

Hoopes married Beth Burritt Hoopes (1893-1973) in 1921; the couple had two daughters.

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of documents pertaining to Penrose R. Hoopes' career as an engineer and inventor. Hoopes' work includes machine designs for the American Chicle Company, Campbell Soup Company, Johnson and Johnson, and the Ferracute Machine Company.

The collection is organized into four series: Project correspondence, blueprints, and related papers; Business records and promotional material; Notes, reference material, and works by Hoopes; and Professional associations.

Series I, Project correspondence, blueprints, and related papers, consists of correspondence, blueprints, blue line prints, black line prints, mechanical drawings, and photographs documenting Hoopes' professional work. The series is arranged alphabetically by firm name for seventy-eight companies for which Hoopes did consulting work for designing production machinery. They include several of the country's largest manufacturers of producers' and consumers' goods. The materials date from 1923 to 1968.

Series II, Business records and promotional material consist of resumes and applications for employment regarding Hoopes' employees, as well as employee correspondence, form letters, and promotional material in the form of pamphlets and flyers. Hoopes' correspondence with local branches of the Selective Service System includes the classification of employees during World War II. These materials date from 1923 to 1966 and are arranged alphabetically. Some materials are restricted: a 75-year time seal from the date of creation due to privacy/security reasons.

Series III, Notes, reference material, and works by Hoopes include typed and printed manuscripts relating to his two books, Early Clockmaking in Connecticut (1934) and Connecticut's Contribution to the Development of the Steamboat (1936), as well as an article, "Special Production Machinery" (1950). There are notes on eighteenth-century patents and collections of patents issued to Andrew C. Campbell and for hook-and-eye closures. Topics in this series include cams, power press design, lock nuts, orreries and clocks, early American inventors, and beauty in design. This series also includes the card catalogs of Hoopes' compiled bibliographic information on early American inventions and physical sciences. Finally, there is Hoopes' manuscript of Technical Americana, a bibliography of works on scientific invention, technology, and invention published prior to 1826, along with the index card file used in compiling the work.

Series IV, Professional associations, consists of correspondence and documents regarding Hoopes' involvement in various technical and professional associations, including the Franklin Institute.

Access Restrictions

Files containing information on employees (Series II) of Penrose R. Hoopes are subject to a 75-year time seal from the date of creation due to privacy/security reasons. Restrictions are noted at the file level.

Language of Materials

English

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
Penrose R. Hoopes papers
Author:
John Beverley Riggs
Date:
1978
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Revision Statements

  • 2023: Reprocessed by Paige Bartello

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Contact:
PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA
302-658-2400