This folder contains correspondence and other documents relating to Edison's role as chairman of the newly established Naval Consulting Board. The correspondents include Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, Edison's chief engineer and personal representative Miller Reese Hutchison, and other members of the Board, particularly chemist Leo H. Baekeland and engineer Willis R. Whitney. Included are items pertaining to the Board's establishment and early meetings, the appointment of its members from various technical societies, the formation of committees, and the resignation of Henry A. W. Wood in December as a result of his disagreement with the defense policies of the Wilson Administration. There is also material regarding the proposed Naval Research Laboratory, including Edison's personal notes on its desired specifications and a 16-page memorandum by Whitney. Among the technical subjects discussed in the documents are the erosion of rifled barrels in heavy artillery, the development of a wire cutting projectile, and the absorption of hydrogen gas emissions in submarines. There are also numerous unsolicited letters from the general public about war-related inventions, a small number of which received substantive replies from Edison.
Approximately 30 percent of the documents have been selected. The unselected items consist primarily of unsolicited letters relating to the war and ideas for weapons; standard replies from Edison's secretaries stating that any inventions submitted would be forwarded to Board secretary Thomas Robins; and routine correspondence between Robins and Edison's personal assistant, William H. Meadowcroft, regarding the transmittal and receipt of such materials. Other unselected documents include routine administrative and organizational papers circulated to Board members and an essay on the proposed Naval Research Laboratory by Reginald E. Gillmor. Courtesy of Thomas Edison National Historical Park.