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A finding aid for the Duane Pearsall Papers. The digital collection covers the time period from his birth until his death, 1922-2010. Duane Pearsall is best known for developing the battery operated smoke detector for residential use, an accidental invention saving lives since the 1970s. He was instrumental in changing commercial and residential building codes to require smoke detection devices. Since the mid-1970s, thousands of lives saved can be attributed to the most significant lifesaving innovation of the 20th century, the battery powered smoke detector. This collection contains records he kept about his life, his work in fire protection and his work for small business. He was an "enlightened capitalist," an early adopter of profit-sharing, hiring women and minorities, and teaching his employees their place in the free-enterprise system known as capitalism.


Use of the Duane D. Pearsall Papers Digital Collection is restricted under the "fair use" clause of the Copyright Law (Title 17, United States Code). The images and documents in this collection are available for the sole purpose of private study, research, and/or scholarship. Anyone wishing to use the images for commercial purposes, publication, or any purchase outside of "fair use" must obtain written permission from the WPI Archives & Special Collections.


The following items in the collection were not digitized but are available in the paper collection: Box 2, folder 3 houses the Statitrol Business plan. Box 3 Folder 9 has a fly fishing lure that was tied by Pearsall for Sam Savajian. Box 4 contains some fold out charts/blueprints. Box 16, 18 and 19 contain photo albums with photographs, newspaper clippings, songs, correspondence and certificates from Pearsall's time in Iceland, the Atlantic and South Pacific with VPB-128.



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