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Kenneth R. Shoulders Papers

Identifier: 2015-003

Scope and Content

The Kenneth R. Shoulders Papers contain the personal papers of Kenneth R. Shoulders. The collection is arranged into the following thirteen series:

  1. Correspondence
  2. Subject Files
  3. Notes and Letters
  4. Patent Files
  5. Notebooks
  6. Manuscripts
  7. Papers, Presentations, and Speeches
  8. Printed Materials
  9. Audio-Visual Materials
  10. Electronic Storage Materials
  11. Oversized
  12. Artifacts
  13. Photographic Materials


  • Creation: 1940-2013
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1955-2008


Access Restrictions

The Kenneth R. Shoulders Papers are open to researchers with the exception of the following materials:

In Series X, selected items in Sub-series 2 – CD-ROMs and DVDs are closed to researchers until 2065.

Copyright Information

The Science History Institute holds copyright to the Kenneth R. Shoulders Papers. The researcher assumes full responsibility for all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Background Note

Kenneth R. Shoulders was an American electronics engineer, experimental physicist, and inventor. Born in Texas on March 7, 1927, Shoulders was a 1944 graduate of North Dallas High School in Dallas, Texas. After graduating from high school, he went to work in the electronics industry and gained over ten years of formative research and development experience with a number of electronics firms between the mid 1940s and mid 1950s, including Maganavox Company, Texas Instruments, Incorporated, and Collins Radio Company.

From 1955 to 1958, Shoulders served as a Research Staff Member at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he became a noted pioneer in microelectronics. While working at MIT’s Computer Components and Systems Laboratory, he studied and tested microfabrication methods for a number of electronics applications, including field-emission amplifiers and magnetic film memories. He also at worked at the university’s Lincoln Laboratory, where conducted research on digital computer components and systems. At MIT, he frequently worked with famed electrical engineer and inventor Dudley A. Buck.

In 1958, Shoulders was hired as a Senior Research Engineer by the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Menlo Park, California, where he continued to be a pioneer in microelectronics. During his tenure at SRI (1958-1968), Shoulders conducted research and development work on a number of micro-sized devices, including field-emission active elements, light generators, and the technology required for their fabrication. He also designed and built the first twelve quadrupole mass spectrometers and designed a rapid access ultra-high-vacuum system. In addition to his work in microelectronics, Shoulders also became interested in aerospace engineering at SRI. Under SRI’s auspices, he designed two personal air transport systems: the Gyrodyne Convertiplane and Helicopter Escape and Rescue Outfit (HERO), neither of which were brought to fruition.

Shoulders left Stanford Research Institute in 1968 to form Vertitek, Incorporated, with the intention of building experimental aircraft designed by himself. Vertitek proved to be a short-lived venture, but Shoulders maintained a keen interest in experimental aircraft for the rest of his life. Between the 1970s and late 1990s, he continued to design and build innovative aircraft and aircraft components, including the Boomerang Surveillance System and the Shadow Autonomous Aerial Vehicle.

Shoulders became interested in experimental physics research during the mid and late 1970s. He was mainly interested in charge clusters, which he initially called “Electrum Validum” (EV), then later renamed "Exotic Vacuum Objects" (EVO). Believing EVs/EVOs to be a potential source of untapped energy, Shoulders conducted extensive research on this phenomena between the 1980s and 2010s. During the 1980s and early 1990s, he carried out much of his EV/EVO research as Chief Inventor at Jupiter Technologies, a firm owned by Church’s Fried Chicken CEO George W. Church, Jr.

Kenneth R. Shoulders was awarded a number of patents over the course of his career. He was the also the author of the self published book, EV, A Tale of Discovery(1987).

Kenneth R. Shoulders passed away on June 7, 2013.


Kenneth R. Shoulders Papers, Chemical Heritage Foundation Archives, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


37.8 Linear Feet (27 Boxes (20 Record Boxes, 2 Film Cans, 1 Half Hollinger Box, 1 Audiocassette Box, 2 Videotape Boxes 2 Oversized Boxes, 4 Map Tubes, 1 Artifacts Box, and 1 Photographs Box) )

Language of Materials



Correspondence, research files, personal files, patent files, papers and presentations, publications, audio-visual materials, electronic storage materials, and photographic materials of American electronics engineer, experimental physicist, and inventor Kenneth R. Shoulders.

Acquisition Information

The Kenneth R. Shoulders Papers were donated to the Science History Institute (formerly the Chemical Heritage Foundation) by Claire Shoulders in March 2015.

Related Materials

There are no other known archival collections created by Kenneth R. Shoulders preserved at the date of processing.

Processing Information

The Kenneth R. Shoulders Papers were processed by Kenton G. Jaehnig in November 2015.

Kenneth R. Shoulders Papers
Finding aid created and encoded into EAD by Kenton G. Jaehnig
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Science History Institute Archives Repository

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