American Optical, what did they make that used tubes?

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Crater Eddie
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American Optical, what did they make that used tubes?

#1 Post by Crater Eddie » Thu Apr 05, 2018 2:38 pm

Our company has files dating back to the early 60's, I decided to search the archives for familiar manufacturers. Sure enough I found 2 entries for American Optical. In the late 70's we made prototype units for them that never went into production, a transformer and a choke. From the voltages on the transformer it looks to have been for some sort of tube type gear, which leads me to wonder what AO was building during that time that used vacuum tubes. Any ideas?
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Re: American Optical, what did they make that used tubes?

#2 Post by Hobbyst46 » Thu Apr 05, 2018 2:53 pm

Crater Eddie wrote:what AO was building during that time that used vacuum tubes. Any ideas?
CE
Wild guess - photomultiplier?
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Re: American Optical, what did they make that used tubes?

#3 Post by apochronaut » Thu Apr 05, 2018 3:02 pm

what were the voltages?

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Re: American Optical, what did they make that used tubes?

#4 Post by Crater Eddie » Thu Apr 05, 2018 3:28 pm

apochronaut wrote:what were the voltages?
6.98v wound with #23 wire, possibly a filament supply.
18.8v with a center tap
460v with center tap
411v no tap

The letterhead on correspondence reads "AO American Optical Medical Division" and the address was Bedford MAS. Dated 1979.

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Re: American Optical, what did they make that used tubes?

#5 Post by apochronaut » Thu Apr 05, 2018 5:05 pm

They made a lot of Opthalmic equipment and had diverse involvement with various medical devices.
They were involved in laser research in the 70's and patented an ECG analyser/monitor/recorder in the 70's. Probably many of the monitors used in their equipment were not solid state, nor necessarily the amplifiers involved.

Do you know how many units were purchased? They did a lot of research and many patent searches related to their activities show up referenced patents of theirs. It was a very active innovative company and they would have needed small volumes of various devices in their research.

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Re: American Optical, what did they make that used tubes?

#6 Post by Crater Eddie » Thu Apr 05, 2018 6:02 pm

It just says "prototypes" and doesn't indicate actual quantities. Oh well.
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Re: American Optical, what did they make that used tubes?

#7 Post by charlie g » Thu Apr 05, 2018 7:31 pm

I'm will 'stick my neck out'...for folks to shoot down...gulp: Hobbyist 46 has already suggested : 'photomultiplier tube equipment' as an A/O prototype project path.

I suggest ( my education directly was shaped/ was benefitted in US by the 'space race' aspect of 'the cold war'...Sputnik triggered science education in my youth right down to: "How and Why Wonder Books" sold in supermarket food stores!)...I suggest plenty of 'pre solid state/transistor'..plenty of vacuum tube: scintillation counter devices were developed for microscopy level testing of forensic nature to verify the July 1963: "Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty" between US, Soviets, UK, possibly France.

You can not dream of the torrents of monies/resources thrown into verification of: NTBT...medical spin offs like baby teeth forensic assesments, bone scans, thyroid gland tissue scans, lots of medical A/O microscopy would be tailored to scintillation physical assessment equipment. Think of the blizzard of ideas which monies were thrown at in the NTBT and cold war 'dance for keeps' of our globes destiny...yikes!

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Re: American Optical, what did they make that used tubes?

#8 Post by Hobbyst46 » Thu Apr 05, 2018 8:05 pm

charlie g wrote: I suggest ... vacuum tube: scintillation counter devices. Charlie guevara
Charlie, that must be it, even if it is not! I was thinking of the photomultiplier tube (PMT) just because it is an electro-optical device, essential for many applications, and already known decades ago. You suggest scintillation counters, and a quick web search reminds me of their (obvious) relevance to PMT! Wow. The 400Volts also supports this, since the operating voltages of PMTs are hundreds of volts, 400 being typical.
Unless someone guesses otherwise...
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Re: American Optical, what did they make that used tubes?

#9 Post by Crater Eddie » Thu Apr 05, 2018 11:07 pm

Interesting speculation, but really it could have been just about anything with vacuum tubes.
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Re: American Optical, what did they make that used tubes?

#10 Post by apochronaut » Thu Apr 05, 2018 11:17 pm

AO was quite divided. The opthalmic and medical devices division pretty much worked out of Southbridge and the instrument division out of Buffalo. You have to remember that AO purchased Spencer as a microscope manufacturing going concern and that side of the business was a Buffalo company. The actual American Optical corporation was a whole other operation which had continued since AO's inception in Mass. and most of the non-microscope aspects of the company's operations were there. These are unlikely to be related to microscope applications.

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Re: American Optical, what did they make that used tubes?

#11 Post by apochronaut » Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:12 pm

Is the company by any chance; Northlake Engineering, in Antioch Ill.?

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Re: American Optical, what did they make that used tubes?

#12 Post by Crater Eddie » Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:17 pm

apochronaut wrote:Is the company by any chance; Northlake Engineering, in Antioch Ill.?
Our company? No, we are Sun Transformer, part of STC, Inc. in McLeansboro Illinois. Our old files come from the original company, National Transformer.
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Re: American Optical, what did they make that used tubes?

#13 Post by apochronaut » Mon Apr 09, 2018 5:13 pm

I took the back off one of the Diastars I have. It was made in either '88 0r '89. The 120/12v. The transformer it has in it was made by Northlake Engineering.

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Re: American Optical, what did they make that used tubes?

#14 Post by Crater Eddie » Mon Apr 09, 2018 5:57 pm

Yes, I have heard of them, they are still in business. 1988 was the year I started here by the way.
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