Processed by: Archives Staff ; machine-readable finding aid created by:Eric Weig
Vernon C. Stubblefield papers
University of Kentucky Special CollectionsLexington, Kentucky 40506
No discernible arrangement.
Collection is open for research.
[Identification of item], Vernon C. Stubblefield papers, 1902-1942, 1F56M-192, Special Collections, University of Kentucky.
1 reel of microfilm.
Inventor, Electrician. Nathan Stubblefield, an electrician in Murray, Ky, began experimenting with the wireless telephone around 1892, but did not hold his first demonstration of the invention until ten years later. After he showed his neighbors in Calloway County, Ky. the new device, he traveled to Washington, D.C, where he displayed his invention to a number of prominent scientists. On this trip, Stubblefield's trunk containing the wireless was lost, so he returned to Murray to construct another, thereby delaying the receipt of his patent until 1908.
The papers include correspondence, patent applications, clippings, drawings, and photographs relating to Nathan B. Stubblefield's invention of the "wireless telephone," otherwise known as the radio. The papers contain patents from both the United States and Canada (1908); material submitted in application for these patents, including drawings and explanations of the mechanics of the wireless; a United States patent for improvements in electrical batteries (1908); and accompanying materials and drawings. The newspaper clippings in the papers are dated after Stubblefield's death and contain biographical data. The clippings are from the WASHINGTON POST; NASHVILLE TENNESEAN, ST. LOUIS DISPATCH, and PADUCAH SUN-TIMES. They document the efforts of a few people in Murray, including Stubblefield's son, Vernon, to rescue Stubblefield from obscurity and prove that he, not Marconi, was the inventor of the wireless.
The photographs with the papers are of Stubblefield, his family, and his invention. Two especially interesting ones show Stubblefield in Philadelphia with scientists who watched his demonstration and on the Potomac River, making a wireless call. Most of the correspondence is addressed to Vernon Stubblefield, although one letter from Nathan Stubblefield is present. Included also are the letters of James C. Johnson, the executive secretary of the Murray Chamber of Commerce, who was instrumental in publicizing Stubblefield as the inventor of the wireless, as well as a text of a speech given by Johnson about Stubblefield's life and work.