Special Collections Department
403 Parks Library
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011-2140

MS 325
Milton Sage Robertson (1892-1987)
Films, 1933-1988, undated

Descriptive summary


Robertson, Milton Sage (1892-1987)




1933-1988, undated


0.21 linear ft. (1 half-document box)

collection number:

MS 325


Special Collections Department, Iowa State University.


Administrative information


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

publication rights:

Consult Head, Special Collections Department

preferred citation:

Milton Sage Robertson Films, MS 325, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library.


Biographical note

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.


Collection description

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.


Container list







News clippings

1933, 1984-1987



Crop dusting film footage (DVD)




8mm films [RESTRICTED]




Preservation copy DVD, MPEG-2, AVI and MiniDV [RESTRICTED]