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Raymond Deghels papers

Call Number: ALSC MS 0003

Scope and Contents

The Raymond Deghels Papers document the inventions and legal struggles of a Belgian inventor who patented a non-reflective (“luminophobe”) paint to disguise military aircraft during World War II. The collection contains two literary manuscripts and a related prospectus; patents and supporting materials (including paint samples and color swatches); correspondence from military and government officials, suppliers, and aeronatic engineers; legal documents concerning both the acquisition of the paint for military purposes, and Deghel's conflicts with the Belgian government for his alleged enemy collaboration in WWII; and a small number of photographs and personal effects, including his marriage and graduation certificates and official documents related to his veteran status.


  • Majority of material found within 1939 - 1955
  • 1920 - 1963


Language of Materials

Materials are mostly in French with some English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Jason Rovito, Bookseller, 2021.


This collection is arranged alphabetically by folder title. Document groupings identified by the seller were for the most part retained.


.42 Linear Feet (1 legal-sized archive box)

Persistent URL


The Raymond Deghels papers document the life and career of a Belgian inventor who created a non-reflective paint to disguise military aircraft during World War II. The collection contains literary manuscripts, patents and supporting material such as paint samples, correspondence, legal documents, photographs, and personal effects.

Biographical / Historical

Raymond Deghels (1896-1964?) was born in Ternat, Belgium, and served in the Belgian Armed Forces during War War I, including time spent as a prisoner of war, for which he later received a veteran’s medal. He received his graduation certificate from the Union Coloniale Belge in 1920. In 1939, he filed a patent for a non-reflective “luminophobe” paint to camouflage military aircraft. This invention proved of interest to the Belgian, British, French, and Swedish governments.

Under the German occupation of Belgium during World War II, he was conscripted – perhaps forcibly – into the Luftwaffe. When the occupation ended in 1944, he was arrested by the Belgian government and imprisoned for nearly five months for “economic collaboration” with the enemy. Deghels fought this charge until the case was finally dismissed in 1955. The experience led him to write a two-part autobiographical novel, "Luminophobe: ou l’avion invisible," relating his travails. "Réveil dans le ténèbres" and "Secrets de L’invisible" are the first and second volumes, apparently never published despite a prospectus soliciting subscriptions. His legal difficulties did not stop him from filing a patent for a “Chromatophore” paint in 1955, designed to ensure “the complete and permanent concealment of mobile military vehicles and objectives.”

Deghels was married to Marcelle Henriette Rougier in 1922. His death date could not be verified but is possibly 1964.

Guide to the Raymond Deghels papers
compiled by Adrienne Pruitt
September 2023
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared According To Describing Archives: A Content Standard (Dacs)
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English with a small number of French titles.

Part of the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library Special Collections Repository

Arts Library Special Collections
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