Biographical / Historical
The ITT Corporation Industrial Research Laboratories, Electron Tube Division's laboratories in Fort Wayne, Indiana conducted research and product development in the field of special purpose vacuum tubes and sensors. Their history in the research and development of these special purpose devices originated in Fort Wayne in 1939, when Philo T. Farnsworth, the inventor of television, moved there. What brought him there was that his company, Farnsworth Television and Radio Corporation, purchased the Capehart Incorporated plant in Fort Wayne.
Rather than build a plant of their own, Farnsworth Television and Radio Corporation decided to purchase the plant, which had a reputation for building quality phonographs, and retool it to build radio and television receivers. Farnsworth and his engineers' research at the plant lead to the invention of numerous devices, including amplifier tubes, cathode-ray tubes, vacuum tubes, electron multipliers, and photoelectric materials.
The laboratories in Fort Wayne were responsible for developing new technical concepts, methods and designs of tubes, sensors and devices for application in industrial, government and commercial markets. Laboratory activities included applied research, advanced development and product design, and development and fabrication. They concentrated their efforts on designing and developing components which operated in the infrared, visible and ultraviolet portions of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Their various areas of research and development led to a diverse offering of products, including: multiplier phototubes (for stellar observation, star tracking, laser detection, vibration analysis, scintillation counting); vacuum photodiodes (for laser detection, scintillation detection, high speed switching, solar radiation monitoring, interference detection); image dissectors (for slow scan TV systems, slide projector readers, industrial process control, electronic star trackers, electronic scanning spectrometers); electron multipliers (for space research, radiation detection, vacuum monochromators, single particle counting, demountable vacuum systems), image converters (for high-speed photography, infrared viewing and surveillance, optical correlation, pulsed light systems, ultraviolet detection and viewing), correlation devices (for motion compensation, area correlation, map reading, document reading, tracking), and accessories (for focusing magnets, image dissector cameras, focusing and deflection coil assemblies and yokes, phototube holders, power supplies).
The Tube and Sensor Laboratories were world leaders in the areas of photometric quantum detectors, image devices, camera tubes, and optical pattern correlators. Some of their major developments included the Star Tracker sensors used in the Lunar Orbiter Program, Vidissector camera tubes used in several observational satellites, and the cockpit display storage tubes used in the F105 Thunderchief and A4D Skyhawk fighter planes.
They were innovators in developing a number of specialized high vacuum devices including: image dissectors, star tracking dissectors and multiplier phototubes, single quantum counting photomultipliers, grid-controlled photomultipliers, biplanar and laser monitoring photodiodes, windowless electron multipliers and single particle detectors, ultraviolet sensitive photodiodes, image converters, image storage and image correlation tubes, and spectral response information.
Throughout the collection there are numerous names that the laboratories were known as that reflects different stages in the company's development. What follows is a chronology of the names of the laboratories in Fort Wayne, Indiana:
1929 – Capehart Corporation
1936 – Capehart, Inc.
1938 – Farnsworth Television & Radio Corporation
1949 – Capehart-Farnsworth Corporation
1953 – Capehart-Farnsworth Company, Division of ITT
1954 – Farnsworth Electronics Company, Division of ITT
1958 – ITT Laboratories, Division of ITT
1960 – ITT Federal Laboratories
1962 – ITT Industrial Laboratories
1969 – ITT Electron Tube Division, Tube and Sensor Laboratories
1973 – ITT Electro-Optical Products Division, Tube and Sensor Laboratories