This collection consists primarily of letters exchanged between Edison and Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels, along with related correspondence. Many of the typewritten letters are accompanied by drafts in Edison's hand. The documents in this folder cover the period August 1917-June 1919. They pertain to Edison's work on a sea anchor (also known as a water brake or water-kite rudder) that would enable a merchant vessel to turn quickly and avoid enemy torpedoes. The correspondents include Lt. Warren S. Harriscommanding officer of the USS Sachem and, later, the USS Hauoliwho assisted Edison with his experiments. Included with the reports are drawings, blueprints, and tracings of the sea anchor, along with results of tests of the sea anchor conducted aboard the USS Clio. Edison's report of June 13,1919, discusses an invention intended to be used in conjunction with the sea anchora listening device attached to the bow of a merchant ship that could detect enemy torpedoes from a distance of four thousand yards. One additional item pertaining to Report 44an August 31, 1917 letter from Edison to Danielscan be found in the Josephus Daniels PapersThomas A. Edison Correspondence, Library of Congress. Related material can be found in Report 53.
This project is described on pp. 164-165 of Lloyd N. Scott's Naval Consulting Board of the United States. Lt. Harris's report of September 4, 1918 enclosing turning curves of the Clio with and without sea anchors appears on those pages. Courtesy of Charles Hummel.