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RCA Harrison records
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RCA Harrison records

Accession 2464.71

Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library


PO Box 3630
Wilmington, Delaware, 19807
302-658-2400
askhagley@hagley.org

Finding aid prepared by Daniel Michelson and Kenneth Cleary, 2016.,

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2017-04-07T09:28-0400

Finding aid prepared using best local practices and Describing Archives: A Content Standard

The collection was processed with support from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant.

Cite items for this collection in the following format:
[Description and dates], Box/folder number, RCA Harrison records (Accession 2464.71), Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, DE 19807

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Descriptive Summary

Title: RCA Harrison records
Dates: 1924-1987
Accession Number: 2464.71
Creator: RCA Corporation.
Extent: 2.5 linear feet
Physical Description: (AVD portion only) 39 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 8 in. 13 photographic prints : b&w ; 5 x 7 in. 1 photographic print : color ; 8 x 10 in. 105 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 10 in. paper documents.
Language of Material: English
Repository: Hagley Museum and Library: Manuscripts and Archives Department
Abstract: RCA’s plant in Harrison, New Jersey was (originally founded in 1882) was acquired by RCA in 1930 and was the company's primary producer of receiving tubes for consumer, industrial, and defense electronics until the plant closed in 1976. The records consist primarily of the papers of engineers Ralph R. Fichtl and Otto H. Schade, Sr. on television and receiving tube development. Files include reports, ephemera, photographs, patents, and correspondence on their work and RCA Harrison in general.
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Administrative Information


Provenance

In 2009, along with the rest of the archival collections of the David Sarnoff Library, the RCA Harrison records were donated to the Hagley Museum and Library.

Access Restrictions

This collection contains material from the Manuscripts and Archives Department (M&A) and the Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department (AVD). Box prefixes indicate which department holds an individual file or item.

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Historical Note

RCA’s plant in Harrison, New Jersey was originally founded by Thomas A. Edison for the production of light bulbs in 1882. The General Electric Company purchased the Edison Lamp Works in 1892 and converted it to the production of radio tubes in 1918. As part of RCA’s entry into manufacturing, the company acquired the plant in 1930.

Harrison remained RCA’s primary producer of receiving tubes for consumer, industrial, and defense electronics until it closed in 1976. By this time the introduction of solid state devices had resulted in an almost 80% decline in the sale of receiving tubes from its 1966 peak.

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Scope and Content

The RCA Harrison records consist primarily of the papers of engineers Ralph R. Fichtl and Otto H. Schade, Sr. on television and receiving tube development. Files include reports, ephemera, photographs, patents, and correspondence on their work and RCA Harrison in general.

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Arrangement

The RCA Harrison records are arranged into three series:

Series I. Ralph R. Fichtl papers

Series II. Otto H. Schade, Sr. papers

Series III. General

Files are arranged alphabetically.

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Series Descriptions and Inventory

I. Ralph R. Fichtl papers, 1924-1984
Historical Note
Ralph R. Fichtl (1918-2014) was hired by RCA in 1941 as a technician at the Harrison, N.J. tube plant. In 1956, he was promoted from general foreman to manufacturing engineer.
From 1958 to 1963 he was a field engineer with the Entertainment Sales and Marketing Department in Newark, N.J. He provided technical service and guidance to RCA’s Tube Division customers. He then moved to Woodbridge, N.J. in 1963 to take on duties as a manufacturing engineer in the design and adaptation of Receiving Tube designs for volume production methods. Returning to Harrison in 1974 as a product development and applications engineer, he was responsible for developmental work on tubes.
Fichtl left RCA when the company closed the Harrison plant in 1976. In 1977, he joined Electro-Scan, Inc. in Garfield, N.J. as Electronic Equipment Design & Development Engineer at Electro-Scan Inc., Garfield, N.J. He retired in 1983 to his long-time home in Colts Head, N.J. and died at age 96 on May 21, 2014.
Scope and Content
The Fichtl papers include files from his work at RCA Harrison, as well as information on a range of RCA products and services.
Arrangement
The Fichtl papers are arranged in two subseries:
Subseries A. General
Subseries B. RCA product manuals, specifications, and related materials
Files are arranged alphabetically.
Provenance
Donated to the David Sarnoff Library by Ralph R. Fichtl in 2000.
Processing Notes
Processed by Rainer Naus, May 2015.
A. General, 1924-early 1980s
Box Folder
M&A 877 1 Atomic radiation booklet, 1957
M&A 877 2 Benefits, 1976-1977
M&A 877 3 Employee invention agreement, 1956 March 7
M&A 877 4 Field engineering orientation work shop on RCA 90° color picture tube (Lancaster Plant), 1962 June
M&A 877 5 Forms (blank), undated
M&A 877 6 General, 1944-1964
M&A 877 7 Induction of new hourly employees, circa 1950
M&A 877 8 NBC Teletext Magazine booklet (KNBC Los Angeles), 1981
M&A 877 9 Organizational data (Tube Division), 1954-1956, undated
M&A 877 10 Plan for the World's Best Tube Makers' Championship, 1952
M&A 877 11 Press clippings, 1948 December
M&A 877 12 Production engineering handbook, undated
M&A 877 13 RCA Harrison shutdown, 1976
M&A 877 14 RCA Limited, Government and Commercial Systems Division (Montreal) [provides detail on operations], 1975
M&A 877 14a "RCA Patents and Inventions: The Importance of Your Ideas," 1960
M&A 877 15 Report card, 1924
M&A 877 16 Resumes and position descriptions, 1953-early 1980s
M&A 877 17 Safety citation award (includes photo), 1949 June
M&A 877 18 Semiconductor lectures (Woodbridge Plant), 1966
M&A 877 19 Study of tube manufacturing problems, circa 1955
B. RCA product manuals, specifications, and related materials, 1947-1984
Box Folder
M&A 877 20 Audio receiver operating instructions (in Braille), 1970
M&A 877 21 Battery operated transceiver (CBR-IB5), undated
M&A 877 22 Clamp tester (WV-526A), 1972
M&A 877 23 Dot-bar and chro-bar generators, 1953-1973
M&A 877 24 Dual-tracer (WM-541A), undated
M&A 877 25 Oscilloscopes, 1973-1974
M&A 877 26 Picoammeters, 1961, undated
M&A 877 27 Power supplies, 1973
M&A 877 28 Professional television equipment, 1969
M&A 877 29 Sine/square wave audio generators, 1971-1974
M&A 877 30 Solid state image sensor (SID504), 1984
M&A 877 31 Sound level meter (WE-130A), 1972
M&A 877 32 Tech VOM (WV-547A), 1974
M&A 877 33 Television and radio/"Victrola" (product training manual), 1963
M&A 877 34 Televisions, 1947-1952
M&A 877 35 Televisions, color, 1968-1970
M&A 877 36 Televisions, color: home study course (RCA Institutes), 1962
M&A 877 37 Televisions, color: Pict-O-Guide by John R. Meagher, 1957
M&A 877 38 Televisions, color: XL-100, 1975
M&A 877 39 Transistor testers, 1968-1970
M&A 877 40 Tubes, 1959-1981
M&A 877 41 TV isotap (WP-25A), 1971
M&A 877 42 TV sweep chanalyst (WR-514A), 1970
M&A 877 43 Two-way radio (mark VII radio phone), undated
M&A 877 44 VoltOhmyst and volt-ohm-milliammeters, 1951-1973
II. Otto H. Schade, Sr. papers, 1936-1987
(AVD portion only) 39 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 8 in. 5 photographic prints : b&w ; 5 x 7 in. 52 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 10 in. 5 photographic prints : b&w ; 11 x 14 in.
Historical Note
Otto H. Schade, Sr. was born in Germany in 1903. He graduated from the Reform-Real-Gymnasium, a secondary education vocational school, in 1922. In 1926, Schade emigrated to the United States, and began to work for the Radio Corporation of America in the RCA Tube Division in Harrison, New Jersey in 1931. Schade’s research focused on picture quality, and he developed a unity theory of image analysis and specification, as well as practical methods for measuring the optical transfer function and noise in optical, photographic, and electronic imaging systems. Schade’s work improved television definition, resolution, sound, and image quality leading to better reception for viewers and to new products as RCA engineers used Schade’s theory to design better photographic lenses, films, television tubes, and electrical circuits.
In 1968, Schade retired from his position as the first Staff Engineer at RCA Harrison, but continued to serve the company as a consultant until 1974. He died in West Caldwell, New Jersey in 1981.
Schade was prolific, writing or presenting more than 30 papers during his career and earning 85 patents for his work. He was a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE). Schade’s numerous awards include an honorary Doctorate of Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the IEEE’s Vladimir K. Zworykin Award in 1969, the RCA Victor Award of Merit in 1946, a David Sarnoff Outstanding Achievement Award in 1969, and he was the first recipient of the David Sarnoff Gold Medal Award of SMPTE in 1951.
Scope and Content
The Otto H. Schade, Sr. papers are composed of articles, correspondence, patents, photographs, and reports related to Schade’s research on improving television definition and resolution.
Processing Notes
Processed by Rachael A. Beyer, 2014.
Box Folder
M&A 1089 10 Article reprints, 1948-1970
Box Folder
M&A 1089 11 Awards, 1940-1975
Box Folder
M&A 1160 2 Awards and schematics, 1947-1977
Box Folder
M&A 1092 1 Correspondence, patents, 1957-1966
Box Folder
M&A 1089 12 Correspondence, publications, 1975-1987
Box Folder
M&A 1089 13 Letters patent, 1936-1939
Box Folder
M&A 1089 14 Letters patent, 1940-1944
Box Folder
M&A 1089 15 Letters patent, 1945-1946
Box Folder
M&A 1089 16 Letters patent, 1948-1949
Box Folder
M&A 1089 17 Letters patent, 1950-1959
Box Folder
M&A 1089 18 Letters patent, 1961-1969
Box Folder
M&A 1092 2 Patent dockets, RCA (40,681 – 47,181), 1958-1959
Box Folder
M&A 1092 3 Patent dockets, RCA (47,182 – 57,734), 1958-1962, undated
Box Folder
AVD1 11 Photographs, HD television, 1 of 4, circa 1950; 3 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 8 in. 8 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 10 in.
Box Folder
AVD1 12 Photographs, HD television, 2 of 4, circa 1950; 38 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 8 in. 7 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 10 in.
Box Folder
AVD1 13 Photographs, HD television, 3 of 4, circa 1950; 16 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 10 in.
Box Folder
AVD1 14 Photographs, HD television, 4 of 4, circa 1950; 5 photographic prints : b&w ; 5 x 7 in. 20 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 10 in.
Box
AVD-DF1012 Photographs, HDTV, circa 1950; 5 photographic prints : b&w ; 11 x 14 in.
Box Folder
AVD1 10 Photographs, portrait, 1950; 1 photographic print : b&w ; 8 x 10 in.
Box Folder
M&A 1089 19 Proposal, “Fast frame rate silicon target return beam vidicon”, 1973
Box Folder
M&A 1089 20 Published patents, reprints, 1939-1965, undated
Box Folder
M&A 1089 21 Schematics (modulation transfer factor: MTF), undated
Box Folder
M&A 1089 22 Technical note, “Image evaluation for reconnaissance” (proceedings of a symposium), 1963
Box Folder
M&A 1089 23 Technical report, “Advanced electron optics”, 1969
Box Folder
M&A 1089 24 Technical report, “Camera tube for space surveillance”, 1974
Box Folder
M&A 1089 25 Technical report, “Ultra high resolution electronic imaging”, 1970
III. General, 1930-1972
(AVD portion only) 8 photographic prints : b&w ; 5 x 7 in. 1 photographic print : color ; 8 x 10 in. 53 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 10 in. paper documents.
Scope and Content
This series consists mostly of photographs by Fred Foerth, Joseph Kmiec, and others. Images feature aerial photographs, electronic components, and social gatherings. Several pamphlets and labor agreements are also included.
Box Folder
AVD1 5 Aerial photographs, circa 1950-1965; 4 photographic prints : b&w ; 10 x 10 in. 1 photographic print : color ; 8 x 10 in. 3 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 10 in.
Box Folder
M&A 1243 7 Agreements between RCA and the Radio Communications Assemblers Union, 1952, 1959
Box Folder
M&A 1243 8 Announcement of new super-power beam triode RCA-5831, 1950 February 1
Box Folder
AVD1 1 Children of employees Chuck Richards, R. Kuhnapfel, C.E. Burnett, 1935; 11 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 10 in.
Box Folder
AVD1 2 Electron force fields, 1935; 1 photographic print : b&w ; 8 x 10 in.
Box Folder
AVD1 3 Employee photographs, circa 1940-1954; 14 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 10 in. 3 photographic prints : b&w ; 5 x 7 in. 1 photographic print : b&w ; 4 x 6 in.
Box Folder
AVD1 7 Foerth, Fred: solid state design team, 1962; 2 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 10 in.
Box Folder
M&A 1243 9 "The Inside Story" [on electron tubes] [donated by Helen Dula in April 2004], 1944; This item has been digitized [ID: The Inside Story--*].
Box Folder
AVD1 9 Kmiec, Joseph: Electron Tube Division, circa 1969; 12 photographic prints : color ; 4 x 5 in. 1 photographic print : b&w ; 4 x 5 in. 1 photographic print : b&w ; 8 x 10 in.
Box Folder
AVD1 6 Numitron clock and lab work, circa 1950-1972; 3 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 10 in. 1 photographic print : b&w ; 5 x 8 in. 4 items.
Box Folder
AVD-NG1 1 Numitron clock and lab work, circa 1950-1972; 1 negative : b&w ; 8 x 10 in.
Box Folder
M&A 1243 10 "Radio Stars and Stations of 1934" (RCA Radiotron Company), 1934
Box Folder
M&A 1243 11 "The RCA Radiotron Broadcast Station Directory," 1930
Box Folder
M&A 1243 12 RCA's Golden Achievement Year Citation to Helen Dula [donated by Dula in April 2004], 1955 September
Box Folder
M&A 1243 13 RCA's Golden Achievement Year 'He's On Our Team' Citations, 1955 November 9
Box Folder
AVD1 4 Solid state oscillator, circa 1940-1962; 9 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 10 in.
Box Folder
AVD1 8 Window displays, circa 1961-1962; 3 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 10 in.