Group 3 is the entire file of photographs of the department's fiber flax processing investigations, 1938-1959 (apx. 500 images). These photographs document flax harvesting and processing equipment and facilities developed with the assistance of the department. The group contains a negative and several prints for most images. Other photos in the collection include class photographs of Agricultural Engineering graduates taken between 1952 and 1964 (11 images).
The collection primarily consists of apx. 475 5x7 safety film negatives, 1,600 5x7 black & white prints and 2,500 35mm color slides. It also includes a small number of 4x5 film negatives, 8x10 black and white prints, 4x5 (and smaller) black and white prints, 2 5x7 color transparencies, and 5 color prints.
Organization and Arrangement
The photos from annual and other reports, are numbered 1 through 301. Color slides of harvesting and processing equipment are unnumbered and have been arranged into 6 major categories, shown on the inventory. The negatives and prints of flax harvesting and processing are arranged chronologically according to the original image numbers assigned to them, beginning with FX-1-7-38. In this group, FX refers to the flax project, 1 is the image number and 7-38 is the month and year in which the photo was taken. The Agricultural Engineering graduates photos are numbered 302 through 312.
The Department of Agricultural Engineering was created in 1916 when the Department of Agronomy was subdivided, and was placed within the School of Agriculture. It was originally housed in the Farm Mechanics Building (now Gilmore Hall). The first department chair was William James Gilmore. In 1947 the department became jointly administered by the Schools of Agriculture and Engineering. The department's name was changed to Bioresource Engineering in 1991.
Fiber flax processing investigations were conducted at Oregon State College from from the late 1930s through the late 1950s through a joint USDA/Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station project. Engineering research led to the development and introduction of improved equipment for pulling, deseeding, scutching, and cleaning flax. Also, improved designs for flax mills were developed and recommendations made for prevention and control of flax mill fires. Researchers involved in this project included W.M. Hurst, L.M. Klein, J.E. Harmond, and M.C. Widger.
Fiber flax had been grown in the Willamette Valley since 1915, but prior to World War II the acreage was small and production and processing methods were based largely on European practices. When European flax supplies were cut off by World War II the acreage of flax and number of mills increased significantly and research results were available so that improved equipment could be installed in all the flax mills.
Other photographs pertaining to the Bioresource Engineering Department are located at Harriet's Collection #951, #979, and #1459; and the Gwil Evans Photograph Collection, P 82:2 and P82:11. RG 1 contains the records of the Bioresource Engineering Department, including extensive flax research records and equipment plans and drawings. Records of research projects conducted by the department are located in the Agricultural Experiment Station Records (RG 25). The Bioresource Engineering Department Films & Videotapes (P106) contains 5 films pertaining to strawberry harvesting and harvesting equipment. PUB 10-11a consists of departmental newsletters and the Agricultural Engineering Club's newsletter, the Agricultural Engineer.