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Bioresource Engineering Department Photograph Collection, 1925-1982

Collection Overview

Title: Bioresource Engineering Department Photograph Collection, 1925-1982

ID: P 106

Primary Creator: Oregon State University. Department of Bioresource Engineering

Extent: 2.6 cubic feet. More info below.

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.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Bioresource Engineering Department Photograph Collection documents the department's research into improving agricultural equipment and machinery. The collection includes images used in annual reports, slides of assorted harvesting and processing equipment, and photos documenting fiber flax processing trials.

Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

Scope and Content Notes

This collection documents the Bioresource Engineering Department's research into improving agricultural equipment and machinery. The collection consist of three primary groups. Group 1 consists of photos from research annual reports and other reports documenting seed harvesting and cleaning equipment, flax harvesting and processing, irrigation pumps and motors, other electrical equipment (such as brooders and ensilage cutters), cattle chutes and fencing, aerial crop dusting, and hay drying, dating from 1925 through the early 1960s (apx. 300 images). Group 2 contains color slides of equipment for harvesting and processing horticultural crops, taken between 1952 and 1980 (apx. 2,500 images).

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.

An addition to the Bioresource Engineering Department Photograph Collection (Accession 2004:013) consists of photographic portrait shots taken by Agricultural Engineering Department staff (469 prints and 388 negatives, respectively) of department faculty and students. Also depicted among these photographs are faculty/staff retirement parties and various images of farm machinery. Most of the images are unidentified.

A second addition to the Bioresource Engineering Department Photograph Collection (Accession 2013:031) consists of photographic slides of images taken by Agricultural Engineering students and staff that document activities by the OSU chapter of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE), research projects, department faculty members, student field trips, classroom instruction, national ASAE conferences, and various campus buildings. Numbering 865 images in total, this transfer also includes two cds containing scanned copies of the images saved as jpeg files. Among the highlights depicted in these images include campus races between "recycled racers" made of bike parts and cardboard, an ASAE student softball game, a 75th anniversary banquet for ASAE, pumpkin sale fundraisers, an OSU basketball game, a student/faculty social gathering, and a field trip to a local dairy.

Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

Biographical / Historical Notes

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.

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: approx. 2350 prints, 900 negatives, and 3350 color slides and transparencies. 2 CDs

Related Materials: Other photographs pertaining to the Bioresource Engineering Department are located in Harriet's Photograph Collection (P HC) #951, #979, and #1459; and the Gwil Evans Photographic Collection (P 082), P82:2 and P82:11. Bioresource Engineering Department Records (RG 001) include  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 025). The Agricultural Engineering Department Motion Picture Films (FV 106) 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.

Preferred Citation: Bioresource Engineering Department Photograph Collection (P 106), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

Other URL: A preliminary container list was created for this collection on or before April 20, 2016.


Oregon State University. Department of Bioresource Engineering

People, Places, and Topics

Agricultural engineering--Research--Oregon.
Flax--Processing--Oregon--Willamette River Valley.
Flax industry--Oregon.
Harvesting machinery--Research--Oregon.
History of Science
Irrigation--Equipment and supplies.
Oregon State University. Department of Bioresource Engineering
University History

Forms of Material

Color transparencies.
Film negatives.
Photographic prints.
Slides (photographs).

Creative Commons License
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