Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Guide to the ITT Industrial Research Laboratories Electron Tube Research Records

Collection ID:
Papp, George
International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation
Lott, H.J.
Salinger, Hans W.G.
Hirsch, Robert L.
Farnsworth, Philo Taylor, b. 1906
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Information, Technology and Society
Cawein, Madison
Essig, Sanford
Eberhardt, Edward
Physical Description:
3.5 Cubic feet
9 boxes, 1 oversize folder

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
This collection contains a diverse selection of materials that address a variety of aspects of the ITT Industrial Laboratories in Fort Wayne, Indiana. There are research and development notebooks from various scientists and engineers, reports and articles on products being developed and research being conducted, technical drawings, a large body of product information, and photographs of products and research projects. People represented in the collection include: George Papp, Hans W.G. Salinger, Philo T. Farnsworth, Madison Cawein, Robert L. Hirsch, Sanford F. Essig, H.J. Lott, and Edward H. Eberhardt. When these materials came to the Archives Center a portion of them were housed in envelopes with captions written on them. The envelopes were photocopied to preserve the information and the contents were incorporated into the above series in order to facilitate intellectual access to the materials.

The collection is divided into six series
Series 1: Company Records, 1937-1984
Series 2: George Papp, 1938-1964
Series 3: Hans W.G. Salinger, 1944-1945
Series 4: Research Records, 1934-1969
Series 5: Product Information, 1955-1979
Series 6: Photographs, 1960-1965

Biographical / Historical
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

Mitch Toda
Immediate Source of Acquisition
ITT donated the collection to the Division of Information, Technology & Society, National Museum of American History through Elaine Tuttle, Vice President of Director of Contracts on September 4, 1992. The collection was transferred to the Archives Center on September 13, 2002.
Custodial History
The papers were transferred from the Division of Information, Technology and Society (now the Division of Work & Industry) to the Archives Center on September 13, 2002.
Processing Information
Collection processed by Mitch Toda, 2004.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
ITT Industrial Laboratories Electron Tube Research Records, 1934-1984, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.

Related Materials
130 vacuum tubes, many related to Philo Farnsworth were donated to the Division of Information Technology & Society (now Division of Medicine and Science), National Museum of American History.

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Certificates Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Electron tubes Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Inventions -- 20th century Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Laboratory notes Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Project files Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Technical drawings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Technical reports Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Television Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Vacuum-tubes Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Archives Center, National Museum of American History
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