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Simon Saretzky papers

Creation: 1923-2012
Accession: 2790


Simon Saretzky (1908-2007) spent his career as an engineer, and was co-founder of IMC Magnetics Corporation, serving as president from 1951 to 1978. He became known as "the father of small motors." This small collection documents Saretzky's career at IMC Magnetics, as well as previous jobs, including his work as an engineer with Holtzer-Cabot Electric Company during World War II. There is a small amount of material related to Cyclohm Corp. in the late 1940s. This collection would be of interest to those researching electrical engineering, the development of small motors, or immigrant entreprenuers.


  • Creation: 1923-2012



2.5 Linear Feet

Biographical Note

Simon Saretzky (1908-2007) spent his career as an engineer, and was co-founder of IMC Magnetics Corporation, serving as president from 1951 to 1978. He became known as "the father of small motors."

Saretzky was born in Moscow, Russia, in 1908 to Dvorah Ginodman Zaretsky (1880-1964) and Kiva Zaretsky (1880-1949). He studied in Moscow between 1923 and 1926 before leaving to pursue higher eduction in Germany. Saretzky studied at Polytechnikum Friedberg in Hessen (now Technische Hochschule Mittelhessen) from 1927 to 1929. He then studied electrical engineering at Technische Hochschule Darmstadt (now Technische Universit├Ąt Darmstadt) from 1930 to 1933. His schooling was interrupted, and he barely escaped arrest by the Nazis.

Saretzky left for Palestine, briefly stopping in Latvia, where he was married on August 6, 1934, to Anya "Hannah" Westermann Saretzky (1910-1967). The couple had a daughter the following year. In Palestine, Saretzky worked as a lineman for an electrical utility company.

In 1939, he immigrated to the United States, leaving his wife and young daughter. The family was separated for five years due to World War II. Saretzky moved to the Boston area, initially working unloading fish at a pier. He hoped to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to brush up on his engineering; instead, he attended Harvard University, taking night classes. During this time, he took several English courses.

Saretzky began working as a development engineer in the Research and Development Laboratory for the Holtzer-Cabot Electric Company in 1943. At Holtzer-Cabot, he designed a blower for an aircraft bombsight that could operate at high altitudes. The Norden bombsight was used on the B-29 bomber. After the war he was promoted to chief engineer.

While working at Holtzer-Cabot, Saretzky met and became friends with Jan Wohryzek (1912-2010) at an organization that provided support and socializing opportunities for immigrants. Jan Wohryzek, a native of Sternberg, Czechoslovakia, who studied engineering in Vienna, worked as a tool and die maker, machinist, and independent businessman operating cleaning services. During World War II, Wohryzek moved to New York and began working as the plant manager for Atlas Aircraft, one of several manufacturing companies run by entrepreneur Charles Wohlstetter (1910-1995). In 1946, Atlas Aircraft became part of Cyclohm Motor Corp.

In December 1946, Wohlstetter invited Saretzky to join Cyclohm Motor Corp. as an electrical motor engineer. Saretzky moved his wife and now two children to New Hyde Park, New York. Cyclohm became a division of Howard Industries in 1948, and Saretzky continued working there until 1949, when he got a job with Eastern Air Devices.

Saretzky's and Wohyrzek's close relationship led them to establish a partnership named SAWO (using the first two letters of Saretzky and Wohyrzek) on February 1, 1949, "with the purpose of trading and experimenting in technical materials."

Saretzky and Wohyrzek founded IMC Magnetics Corporation initially as the Induction Motors Corporation in 1951. The company was renamed in 1959 when it went public on the American Stock Exchange. Headquartered in Westbury, Long Island, New York, the company produced small fans and other electrical motors used in aviation, defense, office equipment, and consumer electronics. Custom blowers were made for the U-2 spy plane camera, urinals for female astronauts, Ampex's first hi-fidelity tape recorder, and horns for nuclear submarines. In 1963, Saretzky patented an air bearing for motors that required no lubrication; this technology was later applied to fans for satellites. Saretzsky retired from IMC Magnetics in 1978; he was retained as a consultant until 1985.

NMB Technologies, a Japanese company, bought IMC Magnetics Corporation in 1978.

Scope and Contents

This small collection documents Simon Saretzky's career at IMC Magnetics Corporation, as well as previous jobs, including his work as an engineer with Holtzer-Cabot Electric Company during World War II. There is a small amount of material related to Cyclohm Corp. in the late 1940s.

The collection has been organized into seven series: Oral history, education, family, and early career documents; Patents and general electrical motors articles; Holtzer-Cabot Electric Company papers; Cyclohm Motor Corp. papers; SAWO Engineering Company papers; IMC Magnetics Corporation papers; and Flo-Con Corporation papers.

The Oral history, education, family, and early career documents series contains an oral history interview (audio and transcripts) conducted by Saretzky's son, Gary Saretzky, in 1981. There is an oral history transcript and research (biographical and company history) from 1993, also conducted by Gary Saretzky. This series includes toasts from birthdays, personal memoirs written by Saretzky, and Saretzky's obituary and eulogy. There is also an eight-issue newsletter about Saretzky's life.

There are educational documents from Saretzky's studies in the U.S.S.R. from 1923 to 1926 and in Germany from 1928 to 1933. These materials are in Russian and German, respectively. The Russian documents appear to be mostly transcripts and certificates; however, the German materials include notebooks, letters of recommendation, and coursework (papers). Of note is a set of correspondence with Max Blumenthal concerning reparations in lost income from interruption of studies from having to flee Germany during World War II, dated 1951 to 1954. There are numerous advanced education documents from various institutions in Massachusetts, primarily for English. There is an advanced certificate for engineering coursework at Harvard University. These are dated between 1939 and 1944.

There is a set of passports and identification, Saretzky's citizenship and immigration papers from Palestine, his marriage license, United States Naturalization certification, and Ellis Island Immigration certification, with a wall etching. The Patents and general electrical motors articles series includes journal articles about universal electric motors, and dates from 1930 to 1944. One publication is in German, and there are two issues of the Ohio State Studies Bulletin. There is a set of papers from the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE) conference in 1959 that focus on induction motors and insulation materials. The patents are primarily copies of Saretzky's patents; however, other related patents or correspondence are included.

The Holtzer-Cabot Electric Company papers series consists of reports, company employee newsletters, an incomplete set of electrical engineering guides called "Symmetrical Components," and two engineering developments binders. The first engineering development binder contains documentation for four projects: a D.C. Selsyn motor, cycle counter, contour sawing machine, and magnetic contactors. There are memorandum, letters, brief reports, notes, engineering sketches, blueprints, and technical drawings for each project, dating from 1943 to 1944. The second binder, the motor development binder, contains specification graphs only and dates from 1946. There is one photograph of the office interior with workers; Saretzky is pictured, but the image is undated.

The Cyclohm Motor Corp. papers series primarily consists of specification forms for Cyclohm motors dating from 1948 and 1949. There is an employment agreement from 1946 and some correspondence related to the Cyclohm motor 2407 for the Collins Radio Company. There is also a Cyclohm small motor, model unknown.

The SAWO Engineering Company papers series contains a financial ledger that is sparsely completed, dating from 1949, and a company federal tax return from 1984. The IMC Magnetics Corporation papers series contains annual reports from 1955 to 1983, product catalogs, company correspondence, and employment agreements. Of note is an image of a NASA female urinal with an IMC motor with accompanying explanatory text written by astronaut Sally Ride. The collection contains limited financial information. There is information related to the profit-sharing plan and some informal financial notes that indicate rough numbers over a period of time. There is a photograph of Saretzky with IMC Magnetics products; the image is undated. There is a small motor, model unknown, and a Hi-Fi Boxer Fan.

Flo-Con Corporation papers series consists of the board of director meeting minutes, financial papers, documentation of the acquisition of a new facility, and the purchase of Tenrac. The Flo-Con Corporation manufactured electronic and pneumatic control devices used in waste air heat recovery and exchange systems. Saretzky was a shareholder and member of the board.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Additional Description

Provenance Note

Generous gift of Gary D. Saretzky.

Related Names


Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Simon Saretzky papers
Laurie Sather
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
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Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA