Finding Aid for the
2.6 Linear Ft.
Schenectady Museum Archives
15 Nott Terrace Heights
Schenectady, NY 12308
(518) 382-7890, ext. 241
Creation of this finding aid was supported by a grant from the Center for History of Physics, American Institute of Physics
Dr. James Lafferty was born in April 1916 in Battle Creek Michigan. He attended the University of Michigan where he received his Bachelors degree and then his doctorate degrees in physics and electrical engineering. In 1942, Dr. Lafferty first entered General Electric as a research associate.
Lafferty was recognized in 1946 for developing the VT Proximity fuse. He received 67 US patents protecting his works and wrote at least 40 technical papers. Lafferty is credited with the invention of the lanthanum boride cathode and hot-cathode magneton ionization gauge. In 1979, he was honored by the IEEE with the Lamme Award for his work with vacuum switches.
In 1956, Lafferty served as manager at General Electric’s Physical Studies Section. In 1968, he became manager of the General Physics Laboratory, and in 1978 he became manager of the Power Electronics Laboratory. Lafferty began developing an Electric Vehicle program for GE in 1975, which led to the creation of the Centennial Electric Car in 1978. He is now remember for his work on electric and hybrid vehicles
The Lafferty papers consist of materials relating to electric and alternative fuel powered automobiles. These include publications, press releases, correspondence, photographs, clippings and reports. There are also several sets of slides for presentations and a number of filmstrips and video cassettes of television programs dealing with electric cars.
There is no material about Lafferty’s work with vacuum technology or his service with the American Vacuum Society.
Box and Folder List:
“The Electric Car – A New Beginning,” US Dept. of Energy, Filmstrip, undated
“Lafferty Film” Parade, Film Strip, undated
GE 100 Electric Car Documentaries, VHS Cassette, 1985
“The Electric Adventure” Video Cassette, undated
“Noonday,” Electric Cars, May 27, 1980
San Francisco Television Show feature on Electric Vehicles, Video Cassette, 1979
GE 100 Test Track in Detroit, Filmstrip, undated
Vaval Research Lab, Electric Van, Filmstrip, undated
WXYZ-TV Special Report on Electric Cars, Video Cassette, March 26, 1981
“Delta Car,” filmstrip, undated
ETV-1 30mph Barrier Crash, Filmstrip, undated
“Electric Vehicle Film,” Filmstrip, undated
GE 100 Original Film, Filmstrip, undated
Paint Electric Vehicles, Filmstrip, undated
Electric Vehicle Parade in Washington D.C., Filmstrip, undated
Owan Spahn Show, Ed Springer & JM Lafferty, Audio Cassette, May 17th, 1979
Slide Box #1
“Electric Vehicle”, undated
Department of Energy Talk, undated
“Electric Cars in Europe,” undated
“Electric Cars USA,” undated
Detroit ASMA Meeting, EV1 at Meeting, undated
GE ETV-1 Electric Car, undated
Slide Box #2
GE 100, National Inventor’s Hall of Fame, undated
Modeling ETV-1, undated