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Vincent G. Apple Papers

Identifier: MS-405

Scope and Content

The Vincent G. Apple Papers document the work of a great inventor and entrepreneur of Dayton. Through these papers, researchers may learn about the various inventions and innovations Apple made during his lifetime and their lasting impression on the automotive field.

Series I, Personal Papers, contain personal correspondence between Apple and various family members and friends. This series also contains mortgages and financial records, along with the deed to the Pinnacle Farm, Apple's home in Miamisburg. The researcher will also find miscellaneous memorabilia of Apple's including a Free Mason Yearbook, a World's Fair book, Apple's diploma from Miami Commercial College and a magazine highlighting his work.

Series II, Corporate Records, is separated into five subseries. Subseries IIA, Business Records, contains mostly corporate records for the Dayton Electrical and Manufacturing Company, Apple Electric Company and Apple Laboratories. Subseries IIB, Agreements and Contracts, contains agreements with other corporations for use of patents. Subseries IIC, Lab Notes/Diaries, consists of lab notes which Apple called "diaries," for testing and manufacturing inventions. Subseries IID, Product Guides, Samples and Journals, contains guides of the products that utilize these patents. Subseries IIE, Engineering Projects, consists of notes and blueprints of research for inventions.

Series III, Corporate Correspondence, contains correspondence regarding the use of patents and inventions, along with receipts, statements and other general communication. This series is arranged both chronologically and alphabetically in accordance with the original order of the papers. From 1892 through 1920, the correspondence is arranged chronologically. From 1920 on, it is arranged alphabetically.

Series IV, Legal Correspondence, is separated into three subseries. Subseries IVA, General Correspondence, contains correspondence to and from patent lawyers. Subseries IVB, Interference Records, contains documentation of litigation regarding patent infractions. Subseries IVC, Ford Trial, includes transcripts of the trial and correspondence to and from lawyers and the Ford Motor Company.

Series V, Photographs, contains mostly photographs and cyanotypes of his inventions and factory workers. Most are unidentified in terms of date and subject.

Series VI, Patents, is separated into six subseries. Subseries VIA, Patent Groups, contains groupings of related patents. Subseries VIB, Other Patents, includes patents not held by Apple, but used for research or infringement cases. Subseries VIC, Patent Article and Method Files, contains a grouping system devised by the laboratory. Subseries VID, Patent Improvements and Lists, contains proposed improvements for patents and an inventory of issued and filed patents for Apple. Subseries VIE, Patent File Wrappers and Issued Patents, contains the complete patent application and if available, issued patent certificate. The patent wrapper term is "Patent No" and the issued patent term is "Issued Patent No." Subseries VIF, Patents Filed, includes patent applications that were filed, but do not have a corresponding patent number assigned to the invention.


  • Creation: 1892-1977
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1898-1940


Language of Materials

The records are in English, Cyrillic (Slavic languages), German, French, and Swedish

Restrictions on Access

There are no restrictions on access for material in this collection.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biography of Vincent G. Apple

Vincent G. Apple was Dayton's most prolific inventor and rivaled Thomas Edison's accomplishments. Apple was born on January 26, 1874 in Miamisburg, Ohio. At the young age of 18, Apple founded his first company, Franklin Electric Company, which would become the Dayton Electric and Manufacturing Company. Apple continued his business ventures and founded two other companies, the Apple Electric Company and Apple Laboratories, both of which were based in Dayton, Ohio.

In 1902, Apple introduced what is thought to be the first electric self-starter for an automobile. In 1903, he built a magneto ignition system which was used by the Wright Brothers in the "Wright Flyer." He was a pioneer in automobile electric lighting systems, introducing his tungsten bulbs in 1907. He served as chairman of the SAE, Society of Automotive Engineers, Dayton Section, from 1923-1924. Apple died in 1932 at the most productive period of his life, with more than 350 patents issued in his name. He had another 130 patents pending at the Patent Office and was working on 265 other inventions. This would leave a total of 745 possible patents at the age of 58. It is believed that if he would have patented all his inventions, Apple would have had some 1500 patents to his name. (taken from "Patents and Trademarks at the Libraries")


19.13 linear feet


The Vincent G. Apple Papers is a collection of work and administrative records for Vincent G. Apple, a Dayton inventor. The collection contains numerous patents, patent applications, engineering drawings, journals, legal agreements and correspondence, business records and correspondence, and the Ford Trial records.

Statement of Arrangement

The Vincent G. Apple Papers are arranged into six series and subseries

  1. Series I: Personal Papers
  2. Series II: Corporate Records
  3. Subseries IIA: Business Records
  4. Subseries IIB: Agreements and Contracts
  5. Subseries IIC: Lab Notes/Diaries
  6. Subseries IID: Product Guides, Samples and Journals
  7. Subseries IIE: Engineering Projects
  8. Series III: Corporate Correspondence
  9. Series IV: Legal Correspondence
  10. Subseries IVA: General Correspondence
  11. Subseries IVB: Interference Records
  12. Subseries IVC: Ford Trial
  13. Series V: Photographs
  14. Series VI: Patents
  15. Subseries VIA: Patent Groups
  16. Subseries VIB: Other Patents
  17. Subseries VIC: Patent Article and Method Files
  18. Subseries VID: Patent Improvements and Lists
  19. Subseries VIE: Patent File Wrappers and Issued Patents
  20. Subseries VIF: Patents Filed

Other Finding Aid

Glen Hoskinson, the great-grandson of Apple, compiled an Excel spreadsheet listing 238 patents granted to Vincent G. Apple (or his assigns) between 1917 and 1941, in which 156 were granted between 1917 and Mr. Apple's death in 1932. A paper copy of the spreadsheet is available through Wright State University Special Collections and Archives.

Custodial History

Originally owned by Vincent G. Apple, the documents remained on the family farm until the death of Apple's daughter, Edith Apple Darroch. At that time, the collection was transferred to Glen Hoskinson, Apple's great-grandson.

Acquisition Information

The Vincent G. Apple Papers were donated to Wright State University Special Collections and Archives by Glen Hoskinson, Vincent Apple's great grandson, in July 2009.

Guide to the Vincent G. Apple Papers (MS-405)
Finding aid prepared by Melissa Dalton & Christopher Bills
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Wright State University Libraries
Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA