Parsons, John T. (1913-2007)
Papers, ca. 1935-87, ca. 250 cu. ft.
Manufacturer, inventor; father of "numerical control," or the application of computer technology to manufacturing processes. Produced bombs and land mines for U.S. government during World War II. 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 (1950-52). Originated aircraft operation which became the world's largest designer, producer, and overhauler of helicopter rotor blades; built first all-composite airplane (for Office of Naval Research). Creator of many other processes involving computer applications to manufacturing. President and owner of the Parsons Corporation of Traverse City, Michigan; Detroit, Michigan; and Stockton, California (1954-68). President and owner of the John T. Parsons Company, Traverse City, Michigan (1968-86). First recipient, Numerical Control Society's Joseph Marie Jacquard Award as the "Father of Numerical Control" (1968); recipient, Society of Manufacturing Engineers Engineering Citation as the person whose "conceptualization of numerical control marked the beginning of the second industrial revolution" (1975); recipient, National Medal of Technology (1985); recipient National Tooling and Machining Association's Distinguished Service Award, (1987). Received approximately 50 U.S. patents in the fields of numerical control, marine propellors, foundry systems, and data acquisition manufacturing methods. Papers include correspondence, memoranda, financial records, engineering drawings and specifications, files about civic affairs in Traverse City, Michigan, reading files and other materials. Partial print inventory available.