The Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera
Henry Francis du Pont
5105 Kennett Pike,
302-888-4600 or 800-448-3883
OVERVIEW OF THE COLLECTION
Creator: Shattuck, Aaron Draper (1832-1928)
Title: Shattuck’s Patent Stretcher Key Collection
Dates: 1883-1972, bulk 1883-1917
Acc. No.: 07x125
Quantity: 5 boxes
Location: 11 H 3
The American artist Aaron Draper Shattuck was born
As an artist, Shattuck was naturally interested in
the stretchers used for holding canvases.
He devised a “key” to help hold stretcher rails together, while at the
same time maintaining the tension needed on the canvases themselves, and was
granted a patent in 1883. F.W. Devoe
& Co. of
Jeremy R. (Jerry) Hutt was a great-grandson of Aaron
Draper Shattuck. He became interested in
the Shattuck stretcher key because papers relating to the invention were passed
down in his family. He received a
bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from
SCOPE AND CONTENT
Collection documents the manufacture and marketing
of Aaron Draper Shattuck’s Patent Stretcher Key, a device designed to hold
artists’ canvases properly stretched, both during the painting process and
afterwards, and patented by Shattuck in 1883.
The collection includes copies of Shattuck’s American patents (he also
took out patents in
Also with the collection are a number of the actual stretcher keys. The key came in several sizes, and later ones were bronzed. An assortment of sizes and some bronzed keys are included. As well, some of the keys are still attached to casting bars, and one bar has a Malleable Iron Works tag tied to it.
Ion addition, the collection includes notes and drafts of an article written by Jeremy R. Hutt and W. T. Chase entitled “Aaron Draper Shattuck’s Patent Stretcher Key,” which appeared in Studies in Conservation, 17 (1972), 12-29. The materials in this collection were used in researching the article.
LANGUAGE OF MATERIALS
Most of the materials are in English; one patent is in French, and another is in German.
RESTRICTIONS ON ACCESS
Collection is open to the public. Copyright restrictions may apply.
The Archives of American Art holds additional Aaron Draper Shattuck papers.
Gift of Jeremy H. (Jerry) Hutt.
F.W. Devoe & Co.
Malleable Iron Works (
Artists’ materials industry.
Hutt, Jeremy R., 1941-
Chase, W. T. (William Thomas)
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE COLLECTION
Location: 11 H 3
Folders 1-2 .1 Article: “Aaron Draper Shattuck’s Patent Stretcher Key,” by W. T. Chase and Jeremy R. Hutt
drafts for article about Shattuck’s patent stretcher key, published in Studies in Conservation 17 (1972): 12-29. Includes photographs, notes, and various drafts of article
Folder 3: .2 article: correspondence about article and research for article
Folder 4: .3 miscellaneous correspondence, 1884-1917
Includes Shattuck’s correspondence with F.W. Devoe & Co., Chas. M. Edwards, W. Jennings Demorest, C.Y.(?) Reynolds Co., and Malleable Iron Works. The letters with Chas. M. Edwards concerned a possible patent infringement by Rawbone’s Keyless Stretcher. A pamphlet about the Rawbone product is included, with notes in the hand of J. Drummond. Shattuck’s correspondence with F.W. Devoe & Co. was with S. J. Fresney or Jas. F. Drummond. A couple of letters were faded, and Hutt used UV light to read them and make transcriptions.
Folder 5: .4 Shattuck’s price calculations for different sizes of keys, including costs of wooden cases and screws
Folder 6: .5 list of people contacted about keys, February 15, 1888; probably Shattuck’s notes; includes name and brief address
Folder 7: .6a-b two fragments of a box which held no. 2 size of stretcher keys; the larger fragment includes directions for the use of the keys
.7 label or tag with picture showing placement of stretcher keys
.8 part of trade catalog for F.W. Devoe & Co., 1880s, includes ad for Shattuck’s stretcher key and price lists for stretchers with the keys and with or without canvas
Folder 8: .9 letters of transmittal for checks sent to Shattuck from F.W. Devoe & Co. or F.W. Devoe & C.T. Raynolds Co., payment for keys sold, 1884-1899, 1912, 1916
Folder 9: .10 orders for keys, addressed to Shattuck, from F.W. Devoe & Co. or F.W. Devoe & C.T. Raynolds Co., 1885-1917
Folder 10: .11 Malleable
Folder 11: .12 Blank order forms and invoices for purchases made by the F.W. Devoe & Co. or F.W. Devoe & C.T. Raynolds Co. from A. D. Shattuck, includes picture of stretcher keys in place
Folder 12: .13 correspondence and invoices for supplies purchased by Shattuck from F.W. Devoe & Co. or F.W. Devoe & C.T. Raynolds Co., 1890-1891, 1898-1899
Folder 13: .14 Patents:
German, no. 33,692, to Shattuck, 1885 (original and photocopy of printed version)
British, no. 7304, to Shattuck, 1885 (two items)
French, no. 169,580, to Shattuck, 1885 (two items, one of which is a printed drawing of the stretcher keys)
Envelope addressed to Shattuck, from A. M. Wooster, his patent attorney, 1887(?)
Folder 14: .15 pages from a history of the Devoe and Raynolds Co., 1942, with information about James F. Drummond
Folder 1: .16 A. D. Shattuck account book, with record of shipments and statements made to F.W. Devoe & Co., June 1884-Jan.1918, and a record of payments received from Devoe & Co., Oct. 1884-Jan. 1908
Folder 2: .17 printing plate for A.D. Shattuck’s Patent Stretcher Key, showing 5 sizes of key and a diagram of keys in place on back of painting; also a bit of the plate which is broken off
Folder 3: [no number] Aaron Draper Shattuck, N.A., 1832-1928: A Retrospective Exhibition. Organized and arranged by the New Britain Museum of American Art, 1970.
[gift of W. T. (Tom) Chase]
.18 actual stretcher keys, in various sizes