University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Octave Chanute Letters 1880-1898

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Descriptive Summary


Chanute, Octave. Letters



Manuscript Number:

Crerar Ms 280


6 items


Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


Consists of 4 letters written to Chanute from representatives of various manufacturers of petroleum and diesel engines, as well as one administrator for a Chicago railroad company. Correspondents include Amos S. Stetson of Brayton Petroleum Engine Company, George B. Brayton, John B. Parson of West Chicago Street Rail Road Company, and E. D. Meier of the Diesel Motor Company of America. Also includes 2 photographs of what are identified as steam engines.

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When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Chanute, Octave, Letters, Crerar Ms 280, Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Scope Note

The correspondence is from Amos S. Stetson of Brayton Petroleum Engine Company to Octave Chanute, ALS (carbon), April 3, 1880, 1p. Stetson briefly describes for Chanute the 2, 5, and 10 horsepower models of petroleum engines manufactured by Brayton. Also from George B. Brayton to Octave Chanute, ALS, March 20, 1880, 1p. Brayton describes in some detail the pros and cons of various models of petroleum engines, especially in comparison to steam engines of the day. And from John B. Parson of West Chicago Street Rail Road Company to Octave Chanute, ALS, January 1, 1891, 1p. Parsons informs Chanute that the Connelly Gas Motor is being utilized on the car running on Lake from 40th to State and invites Chanute to observe and investigate the engine. He appends a note to the engineer of the car giving Chanute permission to make the investigation.

And from E.D. Meier of the Diesel Motor Company of American to Octave Chanute, ALS, May 23, 1898, 1p. Meier informs Chanute that he is forwarding a copy of a lecture by Mr. Diesel and that it will probably be a while before they are ready to build a light motor. He also suggests that Chanute’s work on “automatic equilibrium” is much more important.

Steam engines, two sepia photographs in stamped and addressed envelope, May 6, 1891. On the outside of the envelope, these photographs have been identified as steam engines, though there is no identification on the photographs themselves.

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Crerar Ms 280

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