Collection Details

Archival collections in engineering cover the major areas of engineering: agricultural, aerospace, biological, biosystems, chemical, civil, construction, electrical, environmental, industrial, mechanical, and nuclear engineering. Collections document the teaching and research in engineering since the early days of the university through departmental records and faculty papers, as well as individuals and associations not affiliated with the university.

Search for engineering collections in CARDinal.

Collection highlights include:

  • Alexander Lippisch papers: Lippisch was a German aeronautical engineer and aerodynamicist. His papers document his entire career of aerodynamics research and design, from his work under the Nazi government designing what became the basis for the Me-163, the first operational rocket-powered fighter aircraft and the fastest plane of World War II, to his work as director of the aeronautical division of Collins Radio Company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, from 1950 to 1964. Lippisch came to the United States as part of Operation Paperclip, a program administered by the U.S. Department of Defense to recruit German scientists, engineers, and technicians to work for the U.S. government. He did research on delta-winged aircraft, aerodynes, aerofoil and hydrofoil boats.
  • John Vincent Atanasoff papers: Atanasoff was an assistant professor in mathematics and physics at Iowa State who worked from 1939-1941 with an electrical engineering student, Clifford E. Berry, to develop and improve the Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC). The university never completed the patenting of the computer due to the start of World War II, and the ABC later played an important role in the patent dispute Honeywell v. Sperry Rand. The papers document the development of the ABC and the patent dispute.
  • Wesley Fisher Buchele papers: Buchele was a professor of agricultural engineering, known for the development of the large round baler. His papers document his work on agricultural safety and a number of his patents, including the round baler, as well as a tandem tractor, blade guards for rotary lawnmowers, and agricultural harvesting devises.
  • Agricultural machinery literature collections: several collections of agricultural implement product literature and ephemera include sales and promotional literatures such as catalogs and advertisements, as well as instructional literature published by a range of companies. Together, these collections document agricultural implements from the mid-1800s through the 20th century.