Charles W. Peterson Papers, 1906-1927  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Peterson, Charles W., 1893-1972
Charles W. Peterson Papers
1906-1927 (bulk)
1899-1967 (inclusive)
9.0 linear feet, (9 boxes and 4 radio components)
Collection Number
Charles W. Peterson attended Seattle Seminary and the University of Washington, where he studied electrical engineering. He invented the Musicone Speaker while working for the Crosley Radio Corporation of Cincinnati, and also worked as a design engineer for the Eastman Kodak Company of Rochester, New York. The collection contains documents, photographs, glass plate negatives, publications and radio parts including an example of a Crosley Super Musicone speaker.
Seattle Pacific University
3307 Third Avenue West
Suite 306
Seattle, Washington
Telephone: 206-281-2422
Fax: 206-281-2936
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Funding for preparing this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Charles Wallace Peterson was born in Seattle in 1893. His parents donated land to the then-new Seattle Seminary (now Seattle Pacific University) and Charles attended Seattle Seminary for his elementary education and graduated from Queen Anne High School in 1912. His interest in science, particularly the emerging field of radio technology, led to a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Washington in 1918.

After serving in the U.S. Army Signal Corps during the First World War, Peterson married Hazel Alberts in 1922. The couple moved to Illinois so that Peterson could teach in the chemistry department at Greenville College. While at Greenville, Peterson designed a new type of radio speaker and received a patent for it from the United States Patent Office. In 1924, Peterson contracted with Crosley Radio Corporation of Cincinnati to produce the Musicone Speaker. The success of the speaker led to several other designs including the Super Musicone, the Dynacone and the Tilt Table Musicone, all of which were based on Peterson's design. Peterson then turned his focus to his hobby of photography, and began designing improvements for cameras. He demonstrated a design to the Eastman Kodak Company in 1938, and Kodak hired Peterson as a Senior Design Engineer in 1939. He worked for Kodak and lived in Rochester, New York, until 1959. In 1967, Seattle Pacific College awarded Peterson an honorary doctorate of science. He died in 1972.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Notable contents of this collection include the original blueprints and designs for radio speakers, including the Musicone Speaker; an original Crosley Super Musicone; and a selection of pamphlets issued to officers in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in 1918.

The first box contains 269 glass-plate negatives made by Peterson, 1906-1918. Most of the negatives depict personal subjects: family, friends and pets. The second, third and fourth boxes contain documents, notes, correspondence, photographs, personal business records, periodicals, newspapers, books, textbooks, blueprints and designs, booklets, pamphlets, catalogs, and two phonograph records. The rest of the boxes contain various radio parts.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Radio
  • Other Creators :
    • Corporate Names :
    • Crosley Radio Corporation.
    • Eastman Kodak Company.
    • Seattle Pacific University