Long Island’s Electrical and Electronic History – May 2017

1953: the year we became the IRE Long Island Section

One of our members, Mort Hans, sent me a list (see below) of well-known engineering companies that were in business in 1953, the year we became the IRE Long Island Section. Mort and I thought this would be of interest to our members.

Our younger members will find very few familiar names beyond Hewlett-Packard, Texas Instruments, Arrow and Raytheon on this list. Those of us who were working engineers at that time can identify with many others that they may have dealt with. Each of us will have their story. My reactions upon reading this list follow.

I was working on high power microwave tubes (magnetrons and klystrons) at that time, and I recall visiting the Amperex facility in Hicksville to see some of their high power vacuum tubes. I also went to the Palo Alto area in its pre-Silicon-Valley days to visit Varian Associates and Litton. Varian was a leading supplier of high power klystrons, and Litton manufactured magnetrons.

Allen B. Dumont and Farnsworth were important companies in, what was still, the early days of television. Many engineers at that time bought Health-Kits to assemble their own TV set from the Heath Company.

It was interesting to see Texas Instruments (TI) on the list. While the point contact transistor was invented in 1947, it was already selling junction transistors in 1951. They marketed a transistor radio in 1954.

Hewlett Packard (HP) which, only a few years before, started with one product, a manually tuned audio oscillator, was beginning to branch out into the microwave test equipment field. One of their most famous products at the time was a manually tunable signal generator that covered S-Band (2.6-4.2GHz). HP sold off their microwave product line to Agilent many years ago.

Narda Microwave was then a small company founded by former Sperry engineers. It still exists as L-3 Narda-Miteq. Photo-circuits was a company in Glen Cove that made printed circuit boards, which was then a new technology.

Many other companies on this list are either long gone or were merged into other companies. Many of then went out of business due to product obsolescence.

Looking at this list evokes memories of an era when many of the hot technologies of that time have long been surpassed. I can only imagine that engineers in 2053 will not recognize many of the company names from a 2017 list.


Engineering Companies 1953

Curious about some of the companies that were well known the year our chapter was founded? The year the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) and the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE) were separate societies? Here’s a selected list of companies that advertised in the IRE Membership Directory at the time. How many do you recognize? How many still exist?

  • Aircraft Radio Company Allied Radio Corp.
  • American Machine & Foundry Amperex Electronic Corp.
  • Amphenol Electronics Corp. Arrow Electronics, Inc.
  • Bendix Aviation Corp.
  • Berkley Div., Beckam Instruments Bliley Electric Co.
  • Brush Electronics Co. Burgess Battery Company
  • Cannon Electric Co. Clarostat Mfg. Co., Inc.
  • Cornell-Dubilier Electric Corp.
  • Dalmo Victor Company Donner Scientific Co.
  • Drake Mfg. Co.
  • DuMont Labs., Inc. Allen B.
  • Edison, Inc., Thomas A. Eitel-McCullough, Inc.
  • Electronic Associates, Inc. Electronic Research Associates, Inc. Elgin National Watch Co.
  • Erie Resistor Corp.
  • Farnsworth Electronics Co., Pacific Div. Federal Telephone & Radio Co.
  • Ford Instrument Co.
  • Freed Transformer Co., Inc.
  • General Electric Co., Semiconductor Div. General Radio Corp.
  • Gulton Industries
  • Hammerlund Mfg. Co., Inc. Heath Company
  • Hewlett-Packard Company Hughes Aircraft Company
  • Kearfott Company, Inc. Kollsman Instrument Company Krohn-Hite Instrument Co.
  • Lafayette Radio
  • Lambda Electronics Corp. Litton Engineering Laboratories
  • Marconi Instruments, Ltd. McKay Electric Company Millen Mfg., Co., Inc.
  • Narda Microwaves
  • Ohmite Manufacturing Co. Packard-Bell Co.
  • Photocircuits Corporation Polytechnic Research· & Dev. Co. Potter & Brumfield, Inc.
  • RCA Tube Dept.
  • Radio Frequency Labs, Inc. Ramo-Wooldridge Corp.
  • Raytheon Mfg. Co. Remington Rand Univac
  • Sanborn Company
  • Servo Corporation of America Sola Electric Company Sperry Gyroscope Company Stromberg-Carlson Company
  • Sylvania Electric Products, Inc.
  • Texas Instruments Incorporated Triplett Electrical Instrument Co. Tung-Sol Electric, Inc.
  • Underwood Corp., Computer Div.
  • U. S. Radium Corp.
  • Varian Associates Victoreen Instrument Corp.