Beach Wagon Innovation
Tuning in the whitehouse Maker Faire today? We have makers here at the National Archives too - presenting Helen Beach and her eponymous “Beach Wagon”:
Helen Beach was an archivist in the General Records Division, and she was frustrated with trying to manage double-shelved records with the carts then available. So she came up with her own design. Her suggestion was forwarded to the carpenter shop, where the design was refined.
From November 1946 to June of 1947, the proposal was sent around to various divisions for comment. On June 9, approval was granted for its construction. At the end of October, the prototype was built and delivered for testing. By July of 1948, various units had tried it out and submitted their impressions of the “Beach Wagon” (as it came to be called), and Assistant Archivist Robert H. Bahmer approved a $25 cash award for her idea. And the story even made the papers!
Great ideas really are timeless. The staff at Archives I still use Miss Beach’s “wagon” to this day! When we support our innovators, great things are bound to happen.
This post comes via Alan Walker, archivist at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland.
Record Group 64, A1 155, Case Files for Employee Suggestions, 1944-1949. Case File 147-S4. National Archives Identifier: 7541348;
Record Group 64, P 75 “Press Releases, 1935-1964″;
Other photos by Marie Maxwell, National Archives.
So, what brilliant ideas have you come up with lately?