The A. French Textile Building Architectural Drawings contain the original plans, details, mechanical plans, and equipment layouts for the 1898-1899 construction of the A. French Textile Building on the Georgia Tech campus.
Permission to publish materials from this collection must be obtained from the Head of Archives and Special Collections.
3.5 Linear Feet
The A. French Textile Building Architectural Drawings contain the original plans, details, mechanical plans, and equipment layouts for the 1898-1899 construction of the A. French Textile Building on the Georgia Tech campus. All drawings are digitized and available through the digital collection " 'Splendid Growth' Architectural Drawings of the A. French Textile Building" http://www.library.gatech.edu/gtbuildings/french/history_frame.htm.
In the late 1890s the textile industry in Georgia and South Carolina was growing rapidly and Georgia Tech President Lyman Hall believed the time was right for Tech to establish a textile engineering program. Hall led the effort to raise funds using a three-pronged approach: the use of New South rhetoric, conditional gifts from philanthropists, and conditional appropriations by the State legislature. President Hall obtained substantial donations from his acquaintance Aaron French, a Pittsburgh manufacturer. Hall also successfully persuaded the Georgia Legislature to fund the school pending receipt of private donations. In 1897 the Legislature appropriated $10,000 to establish a Textile Department; the appropriation was to be released only when "ten thousand dollars, in money or equipment, is donated by private individuals or others."
Oscar Elsas, a Tech alumnus and vice president of the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill, persuaded textile firms in the North to donate state-of-the-art machinery later valued at $20,000. The wide variety of equipment available to the students would enable them to operate all kinds of textile machinery anywhere they might go and would make them attractive candidates for positions as textile mill operators and managers.
When the prospect of sufficient funds was evident, Lyman Hall approached officials of the Lowell (Massachusetts) Textile School for assistance in designing the Textile Department. C. P. Brooks, head of the Lowell School, provided advice regarding the design of the building, equipment, and curriculum for the new department. With the required funds and the promise of machinery secured, the State of Georgia released its appropriation in the summer of 1898. Construction began soon and proceeded very quickly; the building was completed the same year. The brand new A. French Textile School opened its doors for instruction in February 1899.
Named in honor of the chief donor, Aaron French, the building was designed by the Massachusetts architectural firm of Lockwood Greene. It was considered a very modern cotton mill, embodying "the very latest ideas of mill construction." The three story brick structure measured 150 feet by 70 feet. There was an elevator in the Receiving Room in the basement so machinery and supplies could easily be lifted to the upper floors. The main entrance, on the south side, was set slightly to one side, with eight windows to the left (west) and six windows to the right (east). Many large windows on all sides of the building and in all three stories allowed plenty of daylight to enter the building. A skylight over the main staircase provided additional light for the departments on the top floor. Power for the many machines throughout the mill was provided by an eighty horsepower Corliss steam engine in the basement.
The A. French Building was home to Textile Engineering at Georgia Tech until the completion of the Harrison Hightower Textile Engineering Building in 1949. [Abstracted from "Splendid Growth": The Textile Educational Enterprise at Georgia Tech written by Marilyn Williamson. This article, along with additional information on the building, architects, and Aaron French, can be found at http://www.library.gatech.edu/gtbuildings/french/history_frame.htm.]
The architectural drawings are arranged as they appear in the digital collection " 'Splendid Growth' Architectural Drawings of the A. French Textile Building." Drawings with letter identifications are listed first, followed by the numbered sheets. The last two drawings were originally unnumbered and therefore were assigned numbers at the end of the series (24 and 25). Some sequential drawings were missing from the original donation: B, 6, 16, 18, and 19.
A print copy of this finding aid is available in the Georgia Tech Archives reading room.
Accession #1999.0201. These materials came to the Georgia Tech Archives from the original architectural firm, Lockwood Greene.
All drawings and the written specifications are available online at http://www.library.gatech.edu/gtbuildings/french/index.html
The written specifications for the A. French Textile Building are processed separately as MS343.
Mandi D. Johnson processed these architectural drawings in June 2008.