Wyeth, N. C.
- Joanna B. Downer
Wyeth, N. C. (24 October 1911–04 July 1990), engineer and inventor, was born Newell Convers Wyeth in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, the son of Newell Convers “N. C.” Wyeth, an acclaimed illustrator, and Carolyn Brenneman Bockius. Wyeth’s childhood in Chadds Ford, with extended summer vacations in Port Clyde, Maine, was filled with creativity and exploration. While three of his four siblings were drawn immediately to studying art with their father, Wyeth showed an early interest and ability in engineering. When he was only three or four, his parents observed him rolling his buggy back and forth across the veranda, explaining his greasy hands after what was supposed to be a nap. This prompted his father to change Wyeth’s name from Newell to Nathaniel, after his uncle, an engineer. Such an early disposition for physical manipulation occupied much of his youth. He frequently would dismantle clocks and use their parts to power model speedboats, and he spent a great deal of time fashioning scale models of furniture. One of the most influential lessons taught by Wyeth’s father was the benefits of work done well. During Wyeth’s first attempt at building a scale wooden ladder-backed chair, his father, while supporting his attempt, pointed out in what ways the chair could have been better. This quiet lesson and others like it were not lost on Wyeth, as he knew that the well-planned, carefully completed route to finishing any project would provide the best products. This patience, combined with skill, led him to become a talented and prolific inventor....