The Joseph and Katherine Westheimer collection of patents span the years 1850-1975 (bulk 1901-1939)
and encompass 2.5 linear feet. The collection contains United States, British, and miscellaneous foreign
patents collected by Westheimer that relate to composite pictures, trick photography, and photographic
processes. The patents are housed in 21 volumes. The volumes contain a combination typed and photostatic
copies of documentation from the U.S. Patent office. The back sides of the patents are often annotated.
It is not clear when the volumes were compiled or by whom; however, many of the patents are date stamped
between 1929 and 1932. Six of the volumes may be supporting documentation related to a Warner Bros. v.
Paramount patent lawsuit.
Joseph Westheimer was an American cinematographer and director of visual effects. Trained as an
electrical engineer, he joined the Warner Bros. special effects department prior to World War II. After
the war he worked for Eagle-Lion, then Consolidated Film Industries. He founded the Westheimer Company in
1955 and ran it for more than 30 years, specializing in optical effects. Westheimer received a 1975
Scientific or Technical Award "for the development of a device to obtain shadowed titles on motion
picture film" and a 1991 Medal of Commendation. He and his wife, Katherine, were married for 50 years.
2.5 linear feet of papers.
Property rights to the physical object belong to the Margaret Herrick Library. Researchers are
responsible for obtaining all necessary rights, licenses, or permissions from the appropriate companies
or individuals before quoting from or publishing materials obtained from the library.
Available by appointment only.