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John Saylor Coon Building Specifications

John Saylor Coon Building Specifications

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Descriptive Summary

Title: John Saylor Coon Building Specifications
Identification: MS010
Date: 1899-1973 (bulk 1899-1910)
Size/Quantity: 0.4 linear feet (one document case)
Language: This collection is written in English.
Creator: Coon, John Saylor, 1854-1938
Repository: Archives & Records Management, Library, Georgia Institute of Technology
Abstract:John Saylor Coon was the first Mechanical Engineering professor at Georgia Tech. This collection consists of building specifications he wrote and a newspaper article.

Biographical/Historical Note

The study of mechanical engineering was relatively new at the end of the 19th century. It was necessitated by the rapidly expanding need for manufacturing all types of products in the early wake of the industrial revolution. So when Georgia Tech opened its doors in 1888, the sole degree offered was Mechanical Engineering, with a curriculum modeled after the hands-on trade school of Worcester Free Institute as opposed to the engineering analyses of Boston Tech (now Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

The first chair of the mechanical engineering department was John Saylor Coon, a charter member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He worked in the mining and minerals industry before becoming a professor at the University of Tennessee in 1888 and at Georgia Tech in 1889. Coon also eventually became superintendent of the commercial Tech shops.

Scope and Content Note

The undated building specifications are all handwritten by John Saylor Coon. The first one describes a twelve-room dormitory, including the placement of windows, closets, and chimneys. Following this is a request for bids to build this and an eight-room dormitory, whose specifications are detailed in Folders 3 and 4. The final building specification concerns a mess hall for the students. These specifications may be for the Georgia Tech dormitories known as "The Shacks" and the mess hall, all built in 1896 and razed ca. 1925.

An Atlanta Journal news article from 1973 includes a photograph of an old air compressor used by mechanical engineering students during the early part of the 20th century.


The materials have been kept in original order.

Index Terms

Coon, John Saylor, 1854-1938
Georgia Institute of Technology. School of Mechanical Engineering.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Please cite John Saylor Coon Building Specifications (MS010), Archives, Library and Information Center, Georgia Institute of Technology.


Louis A. Cavalli, a Georgia Tech mechanical technician, kept photographs and building specifications written by J. S. Coon in his home until he donated them to the School of Mechanical Engineering in April 1985. The School then donated this collection to the Archives in September 1985 (Accession #86-01-13).

Processing Information

Yen M. Tang processed these papers in 2000.

Revisions to Finding Aid

March 2006:
  • Finding aid converted from Encoded Archival Description Version 1.0 to Version 2002. March 2010: Finding aid imported into Archivists' Toolkit.

  • Restrictions

    Restrictions: Access


    Restrictions: Use

    Permission to publish materials from this collection must be obtained from the Head of Archives and Special Collections.

    Separated Material

    Eight photographs have been separated to VAM010.

    Container List

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    11Building Specifications, ca. 1899-1910
    12Building Specifications, ca. 1899-1910
    13Building Specifications, ca. 1899-1910
    14Building Specifications, ca. 1899-1910
    15Building Specifications, ca. 1899-1910
    16Newspaper article, 1973