V. Schramm Foundation, 1970, 1980-2005
Scope and Contents
The Schramm, Inc. records contain materials documenting the history of an important twentieth-century heavy equipment-manufacturing firm, Schramm, Inc. They include information on the growth and development of the company from its beginnings as a two-person operation in 1900 through the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, when it employed hundreds of workers and generated millions of dollars in sales worldwide. The materials span 1836-2018, with the bulk of the materials from 1900-1980. The collection is made up of various types of records including: corporate records, such as minute books, stock books, correspondence, reports, financial records, patent and trademark records, and administrative files; printed and published matter, such as catalogs, sales and service manuals, company newsletters, brochures, marketing and promotional materials, and magazine articles and newspaper clippings; engineering drawings, files, and other technical records; special event materials, such as records of open houses, celebrations, employee recognitions, and other events; and compiled historical materials, such as scrapbooks, photograph albums, and other compilations of various types.
The records contain unique information on equipment design, manufacture, and use, particularly with regard to the air compressor. There are files on the design and development of various types of equipment, as well as photographs of the equipment being manufactured and used throughout the world. A strength of the collection lies in records related to Schramm officers and employees and the company’s personnel practices over the years. Schramm was a forward-thinking company in terms of employee relations and benefits.
The Schramm, Inc. records came to Drexel University Archives with a detailed box-level inventory. The organization of the collection reflects, to some degree, the operations of the company and the groups of materials found together in the original inventory.
The collection is divided into eleven series: Governance (1836-2012), Powell History Binders (1900-1983), Historical Files (1900-2018), Pneumatic and Electric Equipment Company (1930-2000), Schramm Foundation (1970, 1980-2005), Schramm International, Inc. (2010-2012), Atlas Copco (1978-1995), Engineering Documents (1919-1968), Sales and Service Manuals (1916-1994), Photo Prints and Photo Negatives (1936-1976, undated), and Other Media and Objects (undated). Series I: Governance (1836-2012) is composed of six subseries: Schramm Board of Directors Minutes, Schramm Stockholders Minutes, Financial and Administrative Files, Certificates and Articles, Property and Contract Files, and Patents. The bulk of the series contains the Schramm Board of Directors and Stockholders meeting minutes.
Subseries IA: Schramm Board of Directors Minutes (1918-2012) consists of Board of Directors minutes covering business decisions and containing financial and accounting records, oaths, resolutions, PEECO reports, correspondence, and by-laws amendments. The documents discuss strategies for dealing with fluctuations in the economy and market, operating costs, ways to improve production and product reliability, where to explore business opportunities or search for resources, decisions regarding relationships with other companies, addressing new technological needs in the market, and managerial issues. This subseries is arranged chronologically. Note: Board of Directors and Stockholders minutes from 1949 to 1957 were contained in the same volumes and can be found within this series.
Subseries IB: Schramm Stockholders Minutes (1958-2012) includes stockholders minutes which document financial and business issues related to stock. This series includes minority stockholders minutes and proxy votes. Note: Board of Directors and Stockholders minutes from 1949 to 1957 were contained in the same volumes and can be found in Subseries IA.
Subseries IC: Financial and Administrative Files (1900-2001, undated) consists of historical files, company by-laws, bank information from the early days of the company, stock records and agreements, audit reports, and collections of various reports. It also includes correspondence and policy sheets not found elsewhere in the collection.
Subseries ID: Certificates and Articles (1918-2005) is a small subseries consisting of various certificates and articles of incorporation, amendment, interest, stock, and dissolution from throughout the company’s history. It also includes some related correspondence.
Subseries IE: Property and Contract Files (1836-1975) contains various land transactions, including original deeds, indentures, and agreements, correspondence, photographs, and oversized maps and blueprints of property belonging to Schramm, Inc. and Pneumatic and Electric Equipment Company (PEECO). Subseries IF: Patents (1922-1975, undated) is a small subseries containing documents related to two types of patents: foam and pneuma-gopher. It includes correspondence and agreements between Schramm, Inc. and other companies, as well as reports and material specifically regarding Patent #3,137,483.
Series II: Powell History Binders (1900-1983) is composed of seven subseries: Company History Scrapbooks, Product Line Histories, Company Newsletters, Employee Newsletters, Employee Relations, Relations with Other Companies, General Literature and Sales Manuals, and Promotional. The Powell History Binders are a collection of nearly all available types of Schramm documents (publications, letters, photos, articles, patents, and more), which document the history, products, and operations of the company from its beginning to the early 1980s. Jack Powell was a longtime Schramm employee who in the early 1980s gathered together this large collection of materials. He organized most of the materials into various sets of binders that focus on specific aspects of company history. These binders in many ways serve as a guide not only to understanding the history of Schramm Inc., but also to understanding other records in the collection. The contents of each binder were kept together, however, the arrangement of the binders within this series was modified to create thematically coherent subseries.
Subseries IIA: Company History Scrapbooks (1900-1980) contains eight sets of the Powell History Binders: Chronology Volumes, Open House Celebrations, 25 Year Banquets, The Factory, Construction Scrapbooks, Branch Offices and PEECO, Case Histories, and Production and/or Shipping Information.
The Chronology Volumes (1900-1980) consist of five volumes including chronologically ordered historical notes on the Schramm company and family, along with primary source documents relevant to the events such as news article clippings, pages from company publications on machines, personal correspondence, and patents documentation.
The Open House Celebrations volume (1946-1975) documents the various open house events held at Schramm on certain years using company publications (such as Schramm Inkling), letters from Henry Schramm and managers detailing announcements and instructions to participating employees, pamphlets promoting the events, scripts for tours, and news article clippings from local newspapers.
The 25 Year Banquets volume (1953-1981) details banquets/company dinners through photos and company publications. These banquets commemorated employees who had been with the company for 25 years or more.
The Factory volumes (1908-1980) contain photographs combined with news clippings, company publication extracts, letters, certificates, reports, and oversized maps and blueprints documenting the growth and development of the Schramm factory and the products it produced.
The Construction Scrapbooks (1974-1977) contain photographs of Schramm’s offices and buildings documenting changes, expansions, and renovations. Also included are photographs documenting the construction of the new machine shop, Building #2A.
The Branch Offices and PEECO volume (1917-1979) consist of photos and descriptions from company publications of the various offices Schramm and PEECO operated. These offices were located in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Boston.
The Case Histories volume (1948, 1973-1980) documents the usage of Schramm equipment. Contents include photographs, correspondence, pages from news articles, and maps.
The Production and/or Shipping Information volume (1914-1980) contains numerical records on the manufacturing and sales of Schramm products throughout the company’s history.
Subseries IIB: Product Line Histories (1908-1983, undated) document the history and development of Schramm’s product lines, including aeration, boosters, electronic portables, pneuma-gopher, pneuma-tractor, portables, rotadrills, self-propelled air compressors, stationary, and tools. The contents include correspondence from buyers, sales literature such as catalog pages and pamphlets, photographs, engineering manuals, price lists, data sheets, and statements from managers regarding price or production changes.
Subseries IIC: Company Newsletters (1918-1982) consist of nearly complete runs of the two Schramm, Inc. company newsletters: Bores and Strokes and Airing the Facts.
Bores and Strokes (1917-1980) started as a weekly in-house newsletter begun in late 1917 by Henry N. Schramm, vice president at the time. Its purposes were to keep personnel informed about company activities such as products being sold, new inventions, business deals or initiatives, and company events; and inspire sales personnel to increase sales. It was originally typewritten and duplicated by means of carbon copies. On July 20, 1918 Bores and Strokes officially came into being and was a mimeographed publication. There is a gap in the publication from 1919 until May 23, 1922 when the editorial states "it is our earnest desire now to have a copy of ‘Bores and Strokes’ reach you regularly every two weeks.” Starting in July 1922, the paper was published monthly. It became more oriented toward dealer subscribers and for general distribution to build the company’s prestige. Another gap appears between April 1925 and June 1928. The comic strip, Mr. Bores and Mr. Strokes, was introduced on February 8, 1935 (Vol. 7 No. 3) and provides an interesting look into U.S. culture at that time.
Airing the Facts (1948-1982) was a company publication that provided advertisements for products, ways Schramm products could be and were being used, improvements made to old products, and incidents or developments relevant to the company (such as business deals, notable people visiting the company, and Schramm products being used for important projects by significant organizations such as the military). Series III, subseries A contains an early run of this publication not found here in the Powell History Binders.
Subseries IID: Employee Newsletters (1940-1983) consists of nearly complete runs of the Schramm employee publications: On The Air, Schramm Ink, and Schramm Inkling.
On the Air (1940-1982) was a way for Schramm managers to update employees on important developments, such as fluctuations in sales and prices, safety tips, changes in shipping or mail services, warnings about crime, deals with other companies, awards received, and upcoming company events. Many of the notices took the form of open letters to individual employees. On The Air was started in 1940 and was published irregularly, when there was important news to share. There is correspondence, possibly not found anywhere else in the collection, weaved throughout.
Schramm Ink and Schramm Inkling (1942-1983) were publications describing company developments, progress reports, company events (such as open houses, anniversaries, and picnics), business deals, and new products. Schramm Ink came into being in October 1934 as a way to contact every employee and promote goodwill, understanding, and cooperation. The publication varied in size from four pages to 32 pages and as many as 95 pictures, with a complement of twenty or more departmental reporters. According to the November 1947 issue, “Sufficient copies are printed and distributed over the adjacent areas to attract desirable attention, with the hope that others may learn the many good things about the firm that are important to a community. It finds its way to every state in the Union, and was a messenger and a "letter from home" to our boys all during WWII.” In late 1948, a new multilith press was installed in the Sales Promotion Department, which necessitated printing Schramm Ink in miniature. This continued publication was dropped in 1950 but succeeded by the Schramm Inkling, which had been published since April 1947. In both publications, researchers will find information related to the organizational culture of Schramm, Inc. and evidence of the symbiotic relationship that Drexel’s engineering program developed with the company.
Subseries IIE: Employee Relations (1930-1980) consists of two volumes, Employees and Incentive Plans. The Employees volume (1930-1980) contains lists and photographs of Schramm directors, officers and other personnel. Also contained in this volume is the resume/data sheet of Gertrude R. Hickey, secretary to the president and unofficial Schramm librarian who started with the company in 1923. The Incentive Plans volume (1930-1966, 1980) contains explanations, reports by managers, sales book sheets, and policy sheets documenting the adjustments made to salaries to address different economic conditions over the decades. Researchers interested in the development of employee bonuses and benefits in early 20th century U. S. companies should consult this volume, as well as Board of Managers Minutes (Subseries IA).
Subseries IIF: Relations with Other Companies (1944-1973) consists of volumes related to three companies closely associated with Schramm, Inc.: Hardsocg Manufacturing Company, LeRoi Compressors, and Industrias Kaiser Argentine (IKA). The Hardsocg and LeRoi volumes document these companies’ business arrangements with Schramm. Contents include correspondence between managers and Harold Schramm, transcripts of phone conversations, photographs, declarations in Schramm publications, data sheets, sales literature, and blueprints and technical illustrations. The IKA volume contains the engineering manual for a specially designed compressor ordered by IKA, with photographs, instructions, drawings, and comments on the project.
Subseries IIG: General Literature and Sales Manuals (1907-1982) contains catalogs and other sales literature not found elsewhere on devices and machines produced by Schramm, including descriptions of the products, advertisements, ways they could be used, reasons to buy them, and price lists.
Subseries IIH: Promotional (1918-1980, undated) contains Schramm advertisements, pamphlets, catalog pages, letters, letterheads, photo sheets, and articles from newspapers and magazines discussing Schramm’s products, services, and accomplishments. Catalogs of Schramm products sold in Canada, South America, and Europe (in French, German, and Spanish) are also included in this subseries.
Series III: Historical files (1900-2018) is divided into three subseries: Leslie B. Schramm files, Frank Gabriel collection, and Richard E. Schramm collection.
Subseries IIIA: Leslie B. Schramm files (1900-1991) consist of materials on company history and activities. Leslie B. Schramm, grandson of the company founder, joined the company in 1938 and served as president from 1974 to 1983. Much of the subseries consists of Leslie’s subject files, some of which are not represented in the collection, such as inquiries on old Schramm units and manuals. Also included is a memory book of day-to-day activities captured in employee newsletters that was made by Schramm employees after Leslie’s retirement. Early publications of Airing the Facts can be found in this subseries that are not found in the Powell History Binders.
Subseries IIIB: Frank Gabriel collection (1960-2000, undated) contains sales manuals, price lists, sales literature, reports, and oversized blueprints not available elsewhere in the collection. Frank Gabriel was the sales manager at Schramm, Inc. during the 1980s and 90s and his collection documents that time period.
Subseries IIIC: Richard E. Schramm collection (1936-2018, undated) includes copies of company and employee newsletters and brochures, engineering magazines, and chronologies documenting Schramm, Inc., most of which can be found elsewhere in the collection. Researchers will find this subseries useful for a general history of Schramm, Inc. Other materials found in this subseries that are not likely found anywhere else include: files on rotadrill bulletins, crawler welders, and competitive air drilling compressors and photographs of a Schramm truck delivering 105 stationary units to a U.S. Navy plane at New Castle County Airport in 1955.
Series IV: Pneumatic and Electric Equipment Co. (PEECO) records (1930-2000, undated) is composed of three subseries: Governance, Financial, and Photo books. The bulk of the series is made up of board of directors and stockholders minutes, stock books, and audit reports. PEECO was a separate company established in 1930 by Schramm family members to distribute Schramm, Inc. products in the mid-Atlantic region. PEECO was run by the Schramm family from the time of its establishment in 1930 until it was sold to the Ditch-Witch company in 2000.
Subseries IVA: Governance (1930-1999) consists of Board of Directors and Stockholders minutes, correspondence, by-laws amendments, and articles of incorporation.
Subseries IVB: Financial (1930-2000) contains audit reports by various firms, financial statements, bound certificates of capital stock, stock agreements, and documentation regarding the Ditch-Witch purchase of the company.
Subseries IVC: Photo books (undated) is a small subseries consisting of two photobooks of machines such as trucks, portable conveyors, rock crushers, concrete block machines, saw tables, concrete mixers, lawn mowers, and pumps. Note that some photographs contain numbers, possibly referring to an index, and captions on the reverse sides stating the machine pictured or a description.
Series V: Schramm Foundation (1970, 1980-2005) consists of records relating to the charitable foundation founded by Schramm family members. Materials include tax documents, such as 990-PF forms, statements of assets and liabilities, blank Schramm foundation check books and deposit/withdrawal forms, records of transactions, student transcripts and resumes, scholarship applications, correspondence with students over transcripts or renewal of scholarships, and correspondence with the bursar’s offices of colleges regarding financial transfers and payments. This series also contains a book, The Private Foundation and the Tax Reform Act, most likely used for in-house purposes. Academic transcripts and material containing student social security numbers are closed to researchers until 2050. Please see University Archives staff for further information.
Series VI: Schramm International, Inc. (2010-2012, undated) contains administrative documents such as articles of incorporation, by-laws, and minutes. Other documents include stockholders subscriptions and agreements. Material containing employee social security numbers are closed to researchers until 2050. Please see University Archives staff for further information.
Series VII: Atlas Copco (1978-1995) consists mostly of correspondence, draft proposals, and agreements between Schramm, Inc. and Atlas Copco, a parts retailer whose products were built by Schramm. Atlas Copco presentations and sales and operation manuals can be found in Series IV.
Series VIII: Engineering Documents (1919-1968) consists of designs, reports and measurements of various Schramm machines and tools. Two engineering binders on repairs (1939-1982) contain information on various models, including an index and hand-drawn oversize graphs and charts.
Series IX: Sales and Service Manuals (1916-1994) contains a set of leatherbound sales manuals and catalogs on Schramm air compressors, as well as compilations of sales and service manuals on various Schramm machines. Each year beginning in the 1910s, Schramm compiled sales literature, product information, and other information into an annual sales manual. The practice was discontinued in the 1960s or 1970s. In addition to the sales manuals included in this set, sales manuals can also be found in Series II and Series III.
Series X: Photo Prints and Photo Negatives (approximately 1936-1976, undated) contains images that date from the early years of the company through 1976 and are in a number of formats: negatives, prints, color slides, and 35 mm rolls. There appear to be several different filing systems. The negatives in the Proofs of Leica Rolls Volumes contain images of Schramm machines, heads of company and employees, buildings and company grounds, demonstrations of machines, company events, etc. There are a number of compiled photo books that may be continuations or duplicates of each other and those in the Leslie B. Schramm files, showcasing various Schramm machines. Some of the photos within the photo books contain numbers that correspond to their indexes. The main files of photographs of Schramm, Inc. are housed at the Chester County Historical Society. There are a number of unsorted or miscellaneous folders of photographs in this series. Series XI: Other Media and Objects (1960-1978, undated) consists of motion picture film reels (8mm and 16mm), including a Schramm, Inc. original production; ephemera; and artifacts created or received by the company, including commemorative cufflinks, tie pins, tie clips, a belt, key chains, pens, note pads, planners, a luggage tag, conversion tools, and paper weights.
- 1970, 1980-2005
Conditions Governing Access
Most of the folders in Series V and a few folders in Series I Subseries C and Series VI (specified in the Collection Inventory) are closed to researchers until the Social Security numbers they contain are redacted. Please see University Archives staff for more information.
From the Collection: 58 Cubic Feet (135 boxes)
Language of Materials
From the Collection: English