17 Jan 2018

Selections from the WHOI Historical Instrument collection

Submitted by dsherman

     The Historical Instrument collection in the WHOI Archives contains nearly 600 instruments and prototypes, as well as drawings and other materials related to instrument design, manufacture and use, dating from the earliest days of the Institution. One example of an instrument in the collection is the Air-Sea-Rescue Drift Buoy (pictured). The buoy, patented in 1961, was designed by Frederick Pingree (a research associate in engineering from 1943 to 1954), Harold Sawyer and Robert G. Walden.
    Pingree's work at WHOI was part of the war time research conducted for the Navy, and was concerned with various aspects of air-sea survival for downed pilots. His work included studying drift-rate of life rafts, search and rescue operations, and emergency equipment for planes. The Air-Sea-Rescue Drift Buoy, which contained a transmitter for signalling rescue planes that was activated on impact with the water, was designed to have the same rate and direction of drift as aircraft rafts loaded with a sea-anchor.
    Both the Historical Instrument collection and Pingree's collection of materials related to air-sea survival and rescue, which includes books, articles, clippings, magazines, reports, and manuals, are available for research at the Data Library.