Just in Time for Halloween: Creepy Utility Patent Drawings!

With Halloween just around the corner, it seems like an excellent time to highlight some of the creepier Utility Patent Drawings lurking in the holdings of the National Archives.  These come from Record Group 241. Enjoy!   For more creepy patents, check out Corbin Apkin's Halloween Patent post from last year!

What’s In a Name? American Vessels Called Enterprise

This Saturday, September 8th, marks the 52nd anniversary of the debut of the “Star Trek” series on television. For over two hundred years, ships called Enterprise have been helping us “Boldly Go”.  From vessels that sailed the Great Lakes of the United States in the War of 1812 to the most decorated ship of World … Continue reading What’s In a Name? American Vessels Called Enterprise

Capturing the Beauty of America’s National Parks: National Park Service Master Plan Covers

August 25th marks the birthday of the National Park Service, which was established on that date in 1916. Over the course of the last 100 plus years, the National Park Service has grown, and now includes over 400 parks, representing America's vast array of natural wonders and significant historic sites. The Cartographic Branch holds a … Continue reading Capturing the Beauty of America’s National Parks: National Park Service Master Plan Covers

Shining a Light on Montauk Point Lighthouse in Honor of Lighthouse Day

National Lighthouse Day is celebrated annually in the United States on August 7th.  This holiday marks the day in 1789 when Congress approved an act to establish and support lighthouses, buoys, beacons, and public piers. Since that time, the United States has constructed more than a thousand lighthouses, light stations, range lights, and pier head lights. … Continue reading Shining a Light on Montauk Point Lighthouse in Honor of Lighthouse Day

Ah, Summertime! You Have the Best Utility Patents!

Summertime seems to have been created to be three months of time to play, rest, relax, and, in general, do the things that make us happy.  In the years between 1898 and 1908, inventors were very creative in their efforts to make summertime spectacular, interesting, and somewhat bizarre!  So, whether you prefer to spend your … Continue reading Ah, Summertime! You Have the Best Utility Patents!

Mapping the Battle of Gettysburg

Fought July 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, 1863, the Battle of Gettysburg remains one of the most well known battles in American history. In honor of the 155th anniversary of the battle, we are featuring various maps related to the Battle of Gettysburg.  All of the maps featured in this post are from Record Group (RG) 77, … Continue reading Mapping the Battle of Gettysburg

Hiding in Plain Sight: The FDR Interstate Highway Map

Sometimes, the most extraordinary maps can be “hiding” in plain sight, passed by, overlooked because they are a bit plain on the surface.  However, once you know the real story behind the map, it can take on a whole different meaning and look completely new and exciting.  One such map that fits this description can … Continue reading Hiding in Plain Sight: The FDR Interstate Highway Map

I’ve Been Working On the Railroad, and You Can, Too!

Under the Valuation Act of 1913, the federal government of the United States directed the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) to assess the value of railroad property located inside the United States.  This information was to be used to determine rates for transportation of freight via those rail lines.  This law was an amendment to the … Continue reading I’ve Been Working On the Railroad, and You Can, Too!

Boston, 1775: A City Under Siege!

Of all the record groups in the Cartographic Department's holdings, one of the most interesting and varied is RG 77.   This record group, with its myriad of smaller series, holds many Revolutionary War, Civil War and Civil War-era maps, (both printed and manuscript), drawings and schematics of forts, posts, and reservations, and original designs for … Continue reading Boston, 1775: A City Under Siege!

Building Fort Sumter

Fort Sumter will forever go down in history as the location of the opening shots of the Civil War on April 12, 1861. The Cartographic Branch holds architectural plans and drawings associated with the construction of forts throughout our nation's history. This includes numerous plans relating to Fort Sumter's lengthy construction. Today we are featuring … Continue reading Building Fort Sumter