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Milton Sage Robertson films

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MS-0325

Scope and Content

This collection (1933-1988, undated) contains news clippings and crop dusting films. The films were made by Robertson in the 1930s to show farmers the advantages of aerial crop dusting and to teach pilots the techniques of the business. The news clippings report on Robertson's pioneering work in crop dusting and his invention of the rotary crop spraying device.


  • 1933-1988, undated

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research. Original 8mm films and preservation copies are restricted.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Milton Sage "Robbie" Robertson was born in San Francisco May 16, 1892. Robertson pioneered work in crop dusting, inventing a rotary brush atomizer (later known as ICD Rotors) for crop spraying in 1930. During World War I Robertson served in the United States Army Signal Corps. After World War I, Robertson began working for the aviation firm Curtiss-Wright in Alameda, California. As traffic manager, Robertson found flying jobs for the firm's aircraft. Robertson convinced Curtiss-Wright to begin equipping planes for dusting and seeding crops, and supervised this operation.

The methods used for crop dusting at this time were problematic, and Robertson developed a liquid spraying technique with a rotary brush. Soon after this invention, Robertson left Curtiss-Wright and established his own firm with Britton "Bing" Ray, Bonded Dusters (based in San Francisco). The firm was later renamed Independent Crop Dusters, commonly known as I-C-D. Between 1931 and 1934, Robertson put together film of every known phase of crop dusting and spraying for promotion and to teach pilots the techniques of the business. Robertson used this film as an advertising tool, showing it to farmers and growers during sales meetings. Independent Crop Dusters was disbanded during World War II as a result of the difficulty of finding planes and pilots, but Robertson continued to run various manufacturing and engineering firms until his retirement in the 1980s.

Robertson was inducted into the National Agricultural Aviation Museum Hall of Fame in 1983 and was later presented the National Agricultural Aviation Association's Agrinaut award.

Robertson died June 19, 1987.


0.21 Linear Feet (1 half-document box)

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

MS-0325. Milton Sage Robertson films, 1933-1988, undated
January 11, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives Repository

403 Parks Library
701 Morrill Road
Iowa State University
Ames Iowa 50011-2102 United States
(515) 294-6672