(A) This is how the group looked in about 1986, after
staff reductions in about August, 1985.
Front row: Alan Sobel, Margaret Hultquist.
Middle row: Norman Zuefle, Bill H. Irvin III, Cary Stone (1.), Ralph L. Meyer.
Back row: E. Douglas Yates, C.R. Waldock, Joe Markin
(2.), Joe Singer
(3.), Bob Mitchell, Emil Walker(?), Fred
(Alfred) Schreier. Our two Doall milling machines are behind Bob and Fred. (Rear,
toward the right side.)
Fig. A. Several Lucitron people that I knew are absent from
the happy group photo above. Some of the absent people had resigned or left during
the staff reduction in late summer, 1985. See Of
Missing Persons below for a list of these folks.
(B) Lucitron 34B panel display, including control console,
Fig. B. I'm happy to see that the panel and its console were complete
sometime after I left Lucitron in 1985. Here is the panel (right) in its
sparkling new frame. (Fancier than the temporary wooden frame that we had when
I was with the company.)
The power supplies and drive electronics are in the console below the
tube. Nice packaging, surviving Lucitron members!
Pump Room. The panel still seems to reside in the “pump
room,” where it was during tests while I was with Lucitron.
Apparently, the panel is still on the turbo pump that Jeff Gwilliam
bought in 1984 from Sargent Welch.
(C) Bob Mitchell views his own image during development of 34B
Fig. C. Showing off. Bob Mitchell demonstrates both our handsome Lucitron
34-B panel and our typical method of promoting our product before potential
Whee! We're on TV! Nothing like seeing yourself larger than
life on the incomparable Flatscreen® panel!
Lucitron's VIP visitors loved this demonstration.
(D) Alan Sobel calls Mike DeJule. DeJule's image displays on a
Lucitron 34B panel.
Fig. D. Picturephone! Alan and Mike demonstrate a typical application
for the Lucitron 34-B Flatscreen® monitor. Hard to believe, but
videophones were once fodder for science fiction and lab experiments: Beginning
with the 1927 picturephone by AT&T, using mechanical television. AT&T
exhibited a much improved version at the 1964 New York World's Fair in New York.
Fig. E. The surviving Lucitron® Flatscreen®
panel, is on the bottom (left photo), as the panel looks today. Bob
and his staff sealed off the panel in the 1980s. A testament to the integrity
of Lucitron work: The panel is still under vacuum, even now. Unfortunately,
Bob doesn't possess Cary's drive electronics and my eight power supplies.
Let's see if I can remember the grids that the eight supplies powered:
(1) Cathode, (2) Shield, (3) H-scan, (4) V-scan,
(5) Column drive, (6) Row drive, (7) Video, and
(8) Anode. (I wasn't responsible for the anode grid supply:
Incidentally, this supply ran at 4,000 volts, if memory serves.)
(F) View of hand wiring for pixel matrix inside Lucitron 34B
monochrome plasma tube (1986) Despite row and column matrixing,
there are hundreds of wires!
(G) Linkage to turbo pump, on side of Lucitron 34B
(H) Bob Mitchell & Mike DeJule in the pump room with
a Lucitron 34B.
Fig. F. Hand-Wired! Growing out of the panel were hundreds of leads.
Bob provides the figure: 352 wires. There would have been many more wires
(thousands), but the Lucitron panel matrixed the electrodes.
The leads penetrated the frit that held the front, back, and
side glass panels together. That meant that the leads had to survive the oven
cycle and “bake” along with the panel. And because baking caused
expansion and contraction, the coefficient of expansion (EC) for
the leads had to equal that of the glass and frit: More critical engineering
Our engineers discovered that a particular Nichrome® wire
was the EC match for the regular window glass that we used. But Nichrome
was notoriously difficult to solder. Bob's team welded the Nichrome wire to
wire-wrap wire (visible in the photo). Next, the team soldered the
wire-wrap wire to the PC board. (9.), (10.)
Soldering experiments. I was then studying ultrasonic soldering at NRI,
and thought that maybe this technology would help. The theory is this: Ultrasound
produces cavitation (waves) in the liquid solder. Cavitation cleans the
surface more than just fluxing would. After this cleaning, the solder should
readily stick to the cleaned and burnished work surface. Val Chishevsky and I
investigated ultrasonic soldering equipment at a manufacturer near Peterson
Soldering tests. Val used Fibersonics' U/S rig to solder some nichrome
wires that we brought along. I think he tried both 60-40 and silver solder, with
flux. We returned to Lucitron with Val's soldering tests. Unfortunately, the solder
joints weren't up to Cary's standard. He decided that there was no advantage in
the fancy (and expensive) ultrasound soldering rig. (Fibresonics also
manufactured an instrument for kidney percutaneous nephrolitho-tomy (PK).
This device was the size of a fireplace poker. Other-wise, the PK rig resembled
the soldering pencil.)
Fig. I. Lucitron's old home,
where I worked in the mid-1980s. The location hasn't changed.
The overflights of vintage jets from Glenview Naval Air Station
have stopped, of course. For years, the Glen, a vast subdivision of
Glenview, has filled the site of the former airbase. The control tower
remains a landmark there. Glenview relocated the base chapel, now
Schram Memorial Chapel, to Patriot and Chestnut. Schram welcomes
memorial services, weddings, and other events.
Inside our front door were the executive and general offices.
A hallway led to test labs and electrical engineering. To the rear were
Bob's tube fab area, the machine shop, and the dock.
(I & J) Photos, left: Top view, Lucitron front door.
Bottom, complex rear and dock. (Photo date: 7-27-2022.)
Absent from the Group Photo, Fig. A, above. (Borrowing the title from a
sci-fi story by Jack Finney.) Among the absent are Val Chishev-sky, Rudy Guzik
(11.), James Hawes, Al
(Alfred) Hollander, Michael Klemm (12.), N. Moore, W.K. Morrison, Mary Francis
Porter, E.M. Saulog, Adolph W. (“Schmitty”) Schmitt, S.B. Wisper, and
Lucitroners from before my time. Kevin Gilmore, David Glaser, Wendy Ward,
Charles J. Whelchel (13.),
Leonid Tartakovsky(?). Dave and Charles developed a method to connect wires to a flexible-back
(compliant seal) version of the panel. (14.)
(K) Right, above: Drawing of compliant-seal panel, from patent.
missed a few people. Former Lucitron folks: If I've overlooked you, please
drop me a line and I'll add you to our story!)
Thanks to Bob Mitchell for sharing this page of photos
from his Lucitron collection. Bob directed the crew that assembled Lucitron panels.
After I published the first page of Lucitron history, he contacted me.
Without your generosity, Bob, compiling my Lucitron documentation efforts would
be much more difficult. I'm grateful that you've made this photo scrapbook
1. Chicago Tribune, “Cary Stone, 1957—2017,” access on April 20, 2022:
Short URL: https://is.gd/8kw0fA
▶Re: Obituary for Cary Stone. Cary died in 2017, while residing in
Wheeling, Illinois. Cary was my boss at Lucitron. A masterful engineer and a
talented programmer, he inspired us all.
Cary designed and constantly improved
the timing circuits for the 34B panel. On breaks, he was an ace at Microsoft's
Flight Simulator. I watched him loop-the-loop under the Golden Gate
Bridge. Cary was also a devoted fan of Star Trek, the original series.
(Then the only Star Trek series.) Long before “library sets,”
Cary had taped the complete series on Betamax. Staunch Chicago Cubs fan, he
loved to gently needle our diehard Sox fan Mike Klemm. Cary died young,
2. Bruce Zatz, “Joseph Markin,” access on June 20, 2022:
Short URL: https://is.gd/kNeEgq
▶Re: Obituary for Joe Markin. Joe was Lucitron's
president for many years. With Alan Sobel and Michael Dejule, Joe founded
Before Lucitron, Joe was a prominent engineer at Zenith Electronics.
In his spare time, Joe was an accomplished gardener, and a avid follower
of Nathan Pritikin's nutritional program. Joe died in 1987, at 72.
(Obituary site of Findagrave.com.)
3. Tribute Archive, “Joseph Singer, Chicago, Illinois,
October 30, 1931 - December 11, 2020,” access on May 28, 2022:
Short URL: https://is.gd/z8vUMY
▶Re: Obituary for Joe Singer. Joe was an inventor,
and a jack of all trades. He died in 2020, with military honors.
Joe lived to age 89. (Sponsor organization for obituary: Anello
Funeral & Cremation Services, PC.)
4. Albert Abramson, The History of Television, 1880 to
1941 (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company,
Inc., Publishers, 1987), 99-101.
Short URL: https://is.gd/ADaq8Q
▶Re: AT&T-Bell Labs picturephone from 1927. Groundbreaking
demonstration by invention team, including lead engineers Drs. Herbert
E. Ives & Frank Gray. Transmission both by wire & radio
frequencies. Summary account.
5. H. Horton Sheldon & Edgar Norman Grisewood,
Television: Present Methods of Picture Transmission (New York,
D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc., January 1, 1929), 132-158.
Short URL: https://is.gd/5UijSv
▶Re: AT&T-Bell Labs demonstration of picturephone, 1927.
Drs. Ives and Gray presided. Pictures with 50 lines. Far more
in-depth account than Abramson account, above. Many figures.
6. ‘New York to California “Picturephone” Scores Hit
at World's Fair’ (in “News Briefs”),
Radio-Electronics, July 1964, 6.
Short URL: https://is.gd/9StZjF
▶Re: Picturephone at AT&T exhibit of NY 1964 World's Fair.
Provides technical specs: Picture was about 7-1/8" diagonally, with
vertical aspect ratio. 275 lines per frame. Interlaced pictures at
7. Irwin Dorros, “Picturephone,” The Bell Laboratories
Record 47, no. 5 (May/June 1969): 139.
Short URL: https://is.gd/vfwZXH
▶Re: Re: Specifications for AT&T-Bell Picturephone. (This
article pertains to an updated model of the picturephone
from 1969.) Picture was just under 7-1/2" diagonally, and slightly
wider than tall. 250 lines per frame. Interlaced pictures at
8. Alan Sobel?, Model 34V-131 Flatscreen®
Panel—A Supersize TV/Computer Display (Northbrook, Illinois: Lucitron Inc.,
Short URL: https://is.gd/NdOzWB
▶Re: Four-page Lucitron brochure with technical specifications for panel.
Includes 2 photos of Alan Sobel with panel. According to brochure, panel has only
79 leads. (The author of this Web page added page numbers to the brochure.)
, e-mail message to author, May 25, 2022.
▶Re: (1) Joe Singer memories. (2) Joe's glass cane-pulling unit.
(3) Answers to author's questions about Lucitron panel leads and phosphor
11. Chicago Tribune, “Rudolph Guzik,” access on April 20, 2022:
Short URL: https://is.gd/kO9cTf
▶Re: Obituary for Rudy Guzik, including short biography. For many years,
Rudy was the Chicago chapter president of the Society of Professional Image Engineers.
Rudy mentored new talent as a science fair judge. He also taught young artists electronics
at the Chicago School of the Art Institute. And he was a jazz pianist. Rudy died at
age 75, in Frankfort, IL.
12. Ken Nagel, “Michael Klemm,” access on June 19, 2022:
Short URL: https://is.gd/dnVQBG
▶Re: Obituary for Michael Klemm. Michael was our draftsman.
His dazzling talent is obvious in Lucitron's intricate patent drawings.
Mike, Vietnam veteran, was also dedicated fan of Chicago White Sox. He
& Cubs fan Cary Stone enjoyed friendly “jousting
matches” over which team was superior.
As a side hustle, Mike and his late wife
Patty raised pedigreed cats. Mike died in 2020. He'd been a resident of
Beach Park, Illinois. He was 70. (Obituary site of Findagrave.com.)
13. Tribute Archive, “Charles Whelchel,” access on June 10, 2022:
Short URL: https://is.gd/MjwtPF
▶Re: Obituary for Charles Whelchel. This is an undetailed
document, without a portrait of our friend Charles. Apparently,
Charles died in 2020, at Vancouver, Washington. (Obituary site of
Tribute Memorial Gardens.)
14. David Glaser and Charles J. Whelchel, “Method and Apparatus for Making
Electric Connections Into a Compliant Sealed Package,” patent US4,550,039 filed
Mar. 1, 1984 & issued Oct. 29, 1985.
Short URL: https://is.gd/EIG815
▶Re: A compliant-sealed Lucitron display panel. This panel had a thick foil back,
instead of the rigid glass back of the 34B panel. The patent covers a method of wiring the
foil side of the panel to the drive and signal electronics.
15. Ibid., 1, and Fig. 1, 2.
Short URL: https://is.gd/EIG815
▶Re: Drawing of a Lucitron panel with a compliant seal. Margaret Hultquist showed me
an example of this panel from our lab at Lucitron.