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Harry W. Bull (1909-1971) was an American rocketry pioneer who conducted more than 800 individual tests during the period from 1926 to 1934, as well as building and successfully riding a rocket-propelled sled in 1931. Bull was credited by James Hart Wyld with being the first American to design and build a regeneratively-cooled rocket motor and the first to experiment with a monopropellant rocket motor. Bull also did extensive research on steam propulsion as well as various types of propellants. Bull financed his education by lecturing on rocketry, and by selling photos of his successful rocket sled experiments to various news outlets. Bull also was able to use publicity generated by the sled run to produce and sell a copyrighted specification booklet. Bull graduated from the College of Applied Science at Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering in 1932. After graduating, Bull was employed by Church and Dwight Company to design and test packaging machines, then went to work in 1935 with the Tennessee Valley Authority where he was involved in aerial mapping. Bull joined The Dow Chemical Company in 1937 as a design engineer, becoming a packaging coordinator in 1954, and he was named Director of Packaging in 1962. Bull retired from Dow in 1968 due to ill health. Bull was a member of the American Interplanetary Society, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and was a charter member of the American Rocket Society, as well as belonging to various organizations relating to his work in packaging.



Processing Information

Arranged, described, and encoded by Jessamyn Lloyd, 2019.


Bull, Harry W., 1909-1971


1925-1935 and undated


Bertha K. Bull, Gift, 1973, NASM.XXXX.1207


0.15 Cubic feet (3 folders)


This collection consists of approximately 0.15 cubic feet of material relating to Harry W. Bull and his work with rockets.


No restrictions on access


Collection descriptions

Archival materials

Arrangement note

This collection is arranged according to location.

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of approximately 0.15 cubic feet of material relating to Harry W. Bull and his work with rockets. Included in the collection are photocopies of items loaned by the donor for copying, including copies of pages of a scrapbook which includes captions by Bull. Additional types of material contained in the collection include correspondence; photographs; news clippings; technical papers written by Bull; pages of notes on Bull's research and experiments including calculations, drawings, and notes on various tests; three notebooks of technical information compiled by Bull; and copies of diary entries made by Bull in 1925. There is a section of material relating specifically to Bull's rocket-propelled sled. Notable correspondents whose letters appear in the collection include Robert Hutchings Goddard and George Edward Pendray.


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Topics Astronautics


Harry W. Bull Papers, NASM.XXXX.1207, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Archival Repository

National Air and Space Museum Archives