Jack Naylor

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Jack Naylor
Thurman F. Naylor

(1919-06-24)June 24, 1919
DiedNovember 26, 2007(2007-11-26) (aged 88)
Cause of death Complications of spinal cancer
Resting placeTemple Israel Cemetery
Wakefield, Massachusetts, U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation Inventor

Thurman F. "Jack" Naylor (June 24, 1919 – November 26, 2007) was an American inventor. [1]

United States federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Invention the act of inventing something

An invention is a unique or novel device, method, composition or process. The invention process is a process within an overall engineering and product development process. It may be an improvement upon a machine or product or a new process for creating an object or a result. An invention that achieves a completely unique function or result may be a radical breakthrough. Such works are novel and not obvious to others skilled in the same field. An inventor may be taking a big step in success or failure.


Capt. Jack, ready for a big mission Capt Jack Naylor.jpg
Capt. Jack, ready for a big mission

Naylor was born in Baltimore, Maryland. Naylor learned to fly early. After joining the USAF, he trained and saw combat in P51 fighter planes over France and Germany. He switched to B24s and flew forays over Eastern Europe and ended up bombing the infamous oil refineries in Ploiesti, Romania. It was a momentous time and out of the windows of his bomber planes he was able to feed his growing passion for photography by shooting aerial pictures using a purloined Voigtländer. While based in Bengasi, Libya, he met Margaret Bourke-White and flew her along on his missions. She insisted on traveling with "Captain Jack" because he always "came back" which was a major feat back and forth over the Mediterranean.

Baltimore Largest city in Maryland

Baltimore is an independent city in the state of Maryland within the United States. Baltimore was established by the Constitution of Maryland as an independent city in 1729. With a population of 611,648 in 2017, Baltimore is the largest such independent city in the United States. As of 2017, the population of the Baltimore metropolitan area was estimated to be just under 2.808 million, making it the 20th largest metropolitan area in the country. Baltimore is located about 40 miles (60 km) northeast of Washington, D.C., making it a principal city in the Washington-Baltimore combined statistical area (CSA), the fourth-largest CSA in the nation, with a calculated 2017 population of 9,764,315.

Maryland State of the United States of America

Maryland is a state in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east. The state's largest city is Baltimore, and its capital is Annapolis. Among its occasional nicknames are Old Line State, the Free State, and the Chesapeake Bay State. It is named after the English queen Henrietta Maria, known in England as Queen Mary.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.


Back stateside after the war, Naylor used the GI Bill to finish a degree in mechanical engineering from prestigious Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. But for his first job after graduation he chose to capitalize on his training during the war and became a test pilot. He put experimental planes through their paces until he crashed one into a river bank next to a pasture. The farmer ran up holding his mangled propeller blade and announced "son, you lost this thing..." The accident cut his swashbuckling career short.

Putting that dangerous occupation aside, Naylor became a consultant to industry. Hired to advise companies in how to grow and manage their resources, he was asked to prepare one of them for bankruptcy. Seeing the value in the business, Naylor embarked on yet another career as an entrepreneur and, in 1970, took over Thomson International Corporation which was headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts. The engineering and manufacturing company made automotive and airplane parts. In the reorganization, Naylor moved to Massachusetts, made some tough choices by cutting personnel and closed extraneous plants.

Waltham, Massachusetts City in Massachusetts, United States

Waltham is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, and was an early center for the labor movement as well as a major contributor to the American Industrial Revolution. The original home of the Boston Manufacturing Company, the city was a prototype for 19th century industrial city planning, spawning what became known as the Waltham-Lowell system of labor and production. The city is now a center for research and higher education, home to Brandeis University and Bentley University. The population was 60,636 at the census in 2010.

Massachusetts State of the United States of America

Massachusetts, officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It borders on the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island to the south, New Hampshire and Vermont to the north, and New York to the west. The state is named after the Massachusett tribe, which once inhabited the east side of the area, and is one of the original thirteen states. The capital of Massachusetts is Boston, which is also the most populous city in New England. Over 80% of Massachusetts's population lives in the Greater Boston metropolitan area, a region influential upon American history, academia, and industry. Originally dependent on agriculture, fishing and trade, Massachusetts was transformed into a manufacturing center during the Industrial Revolution. During the 20th century, Massachusetts's economy shifted from manufacturing to services. Modern Massachusetts is a global leader in biotechnology, engineering, higher education, finance, and maritime trade.

Thomson's biggest seller was car thermostats and heat exchangers for aircraft engines. In desperation, Naylor, living out of a hotel room, sat in the restaurant at the Somerset Hotel in Boston and, over a matter of months, designed a new automotive thermostat. Able to work reliably at higher temperatures, it allowed the car designers to use smaller radiators. He took it to General Motors first, next Chrysler, Ford and then to Europe. Today every motor vehicle in the world uses that design.

General Motors American automotive manufacturing company

General Motors Company, commonly referred to as General Motors (GM), is an American multinational corporation headquartered in Detroit that designs, manufactures, markets, and distributes vehicles and vehicle parts, and sells financial services, with global headquarters in Detroit's Renaissance Center. It was originally founded by William C. Durant on September 16, 1908 as a holding company. The company is the largest American automobile manufacturer, and one of the world's largest. As of 2018, General Motors is ranked #10 on the Fortune 500 rankings of the largest United States corporations by total revenue.

Chrysler automotive brand manufacturing subsidiary of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Chrysler is one of the "Big Three" automobile manufacturers in the United States, headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The original Chrysler Corporation was founded in 1925 by Walter Chrysler from the remains of the Maxwell Motor Company. In 1998, it was acquired by Daimler-Benz, and the holding company was renamed DaimlerChrysler. After Daimler divested Chrysler in 2007, the company existed as Chrysler LLC (2007–2009) and Chrysler Group LLC (2009–2014) before merging in 2014 with Fiat S.p.A. and becoming a subsidiary of its successor Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. In addition to the flagship Chrysler brand, FCA sells vehicles worldwide under the Dodge, Jeep, and Ram nameplates. Furthermore, the subsidiary includes Mopar, its automotive parts and accessories division, and SRT, its performance automobile division.

Europe Continent in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere

Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.

Success with Thomson

That product line led to manufacturing and engineering plants in 13 countries. The successful CEO traveled extensively in the 1980s and early 1990s. He not only ran his own business, Naylor sat on the boards of directors of several FORTUNE 500 companies, Kodak being one of them. In order to meet all of his business obligations, Naylor spent a lot of time in the air. Tired of waiting in foreign countries for commercial airlines that would eventually not show up, Naylor bought his own plane and moved about the world on his company Gulfstream jet. Visiting customers and plants in Japan, he always brought back a new camera.

Kodak American company

The Eastman Kodak Company is an American technology company that produces camera-related products with its historic basis on photography. The company is headquartered in Rochester, New York, and is incorporated in New Jersey. Kodak provides packaging, functional printing, graphic communications and professional services for businesses around the world. Its main business segments are Print Systems, Enterprise Inkjet Systems, Micro 3D Printing and Packaging, Software and Solutions, and Consumer and Film. It is best known for photographic film products.

The collecting years

When he began his collecting, Naylor concentrated on cameras and photographs, but he quickly expanded to all manner of ephemera and photographica. Much of the collection was acquired at camera and antique shows, auctions, and yard sales. Many of the items were donated by photographers and inventors of the paraphernalia that supports photography. Since Boston is one of the epicenters of photography, he befriended innovators like Edwin Land, who founded Polaroid and "Doc" Harold Edgerton, professor of MIT, who invented the strobe light. Naylor owns the notebooks and scientific equipment of Leopold Godowsky, who along with Leopold Mannes co-invented the first color film.

Polaroid is an American company that is a brand licensor and marketer of its portfolio of consumer electronics to companies that distribute consumer electronics and eyewear. It is best known for its Polaroid instant film and cameras. In 2017, its parent company was acquired by Polish investor Oskar Smołokowski.

The majority of the thirty thousand object collection is displayed at Naylor's suburban Boston home. The narrow pathways around the basement museum are like a maze. You have to carefully watch your step or you might trip on or bump into some priceless artifact. The 1031 daguerreotypes eclipse the 725 owned by the Library of Congress. Daguerreotypes are such a rich foundation of photography's early history. Their quality is unprecedented and there are one-of-a-kind examples produced by the finest practitioners of the medium, such as, Southworth & Hawes, Whipple, and Mathew Brady.

The dozens of glass display cases contain the world's largest collection of cameras used for espionage. Equipment produced for spying that spans the period from the American Civil War through the Cold War with Russia. Cameras that were worn by homing pigeons in the First World War, cameras mounted onto U2 spy planes, books, watches and cigarette lighters that conceal picture making devices. East German Stasi, British OSS, CIA and FBI are all represented. Some of them make annual pilgrimages to Naylor's museum to review their legacy. He acquired some of the most select items in the 1980s from a KGB agent he met in the USSR on a business trip.

Covering every inch of wall space are images by the giants of picture taking: Cecil Beaton, Yousef Karsh, Ansel Adams, William Wegman, Brad Washburn, and Alfred Eisenstaedt to name just a few. Pulitzer Prize winning photographs, Pictures of the Year and icons that are seared into the collective visual consciousness of the world's population. Naylor has original glass plates by Edward Curtis taken with huge field cameras while he traversed the American West for thirty years documenting Native Americans and their vanishing cultures. Thereby one of the most ambitious anthropological projects is preserved since most of the Curtis negatives were destroyed.

Upstairs there is a library of over 3000 volumes. Packed away are books, journals, notebooks, albums and first editions. Most impressive amongst them is a complete limited edition set of "Pencil of Nature", the first commercial book that included photographs. It was published by Fox Talbot, one of the people attributed with inventing photography. http://www.submin.com/general/manuals/articles/naylor.pdf

Nikon, Eastman, Fuji, Leitz, Graflex, Deardorff, Minox are all trademarks we recognize. They and Naylor's knowledge contribute to countless magazines and anthologies. Objects from a time gone by. Preserved for us to see. Recently Jack has been the subject of articles in Smithsonian magazine, Wall Street Journal , etc. He and his collection have been on NPR and the Discovery Channel. http://www.submin.com/general/manuals/smithsonian_8710.htm


Naylor died on November 26, 2007 in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, at the age of 88, in his sleep from complications of spinal cancer.

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  1. "Thurman 'Jack' Naylor, pilot and photography collector, dies - The Boston Globe". Boston.com. 2007-11-28. Retrieved 2013-10-03.