Tuesday, February 28, 2012

#55) A Special Thanks to Roy Kramer, Don Tubbs, and a Couple of Others

Ray Hand and others recently documented this "sea story" about how 60+ years of Librascope memorabilia was literally saved from the dumpster, and eventually made available for others to enjoy. Click here to view the story on-line.

A Special Thanks to Roy Kramer, Don Tubbs, and a Couple of Others

The “Librascope Memories” websites and Libravets everywhere owe a great debt of gratitude to Roy Kramer, Don Tubbs, and others. To begin with, Roys initiative saved the original 1937 Librascope developed by Louis Imm in his garage, over 300 Librazettes, the Publications Department’s master photo file, and a lot of other Librascope memorabilia from total destruction.  

In 1999, Roy had completed eighteen years service at Librascope and was in charge of Publications Department operations. At that time, efforts were underway to close the Glendale Facility and move the remaining work to Lockheed Martin in Manassas, Virginia. The employees sent from Manassas to supervise the shutdown were interested in transferring the engineering and manufacturing drawing files, but had no interest in preserving any of Librascope’s rich history. If it had not been for Roy, with considerable support from Don Tubbs, most of Librascope’s storied history would have been condemned to the dumpster.

Yes, literally a dumpster. When Roy discovered that Librascope memorabilia was being thrown in a dumpster he quickly told Don Tubbs. Together, they decided to do something about it. Roy and Don were soon discovered digging through the dumpster and retrieving assorted memorabilia. When asked what they were doing, they said they were saving a part of Librascope’s history that should be preserved. They were then told to stop until “upper management” was informed, and were accused of planning to sell the material on eBay. The questioner clearly did not know anything about the integrity of the Librascope family. Reportedly, Ernie Pool soon vouched for Roy and Don who were then told they had management’s permission to collect Librascope items of memorabilia.

From that point on, Roy would inform Don whenever memorabilia items were to be destroyed. Instead of throwing them out though, they placed the items in the back of Don’s pickup truck and Don took them home to his garage. However, the large volume of memorabilia storage space required soon occupied the space needed for his “hot rods”, so Danny Sibley offered to store it in his Company’s stockroom. Then, a couple years later, Georgine Archer volunteered to move the everything to her garage, where it remains to this day. Now, just before each Libravet Reunion, Don and Danny visit the archive at Georgine’s, and select the most interesting items to be displayed at the upcoming event.

But that’s only part of this story. In April 2009, after starting the construction of a brand new “Librascope Memories” website dedicated to the Company’s history, Carl Sorensen called Roy Kramer to ask if he knew of any old Librazettes or other Librascope memorabilia that had been saved. Not knowing the extent of Roy’s previous preservation efforts, Carl was amazed to learn about the six decades worth of Librazettes, photographs. and other Librascope documents that Roy had saved and stored at his home for almost ten years. Carl, who could hardly contain his enthusiasm, then asked if he could borrow the collection for scanning and placing on the new website. Roy approved of the idea, because he recognized that putting Librascope’s historic documents on the Internet would make them accessible to everyone. After all, preservation of the Company’s history for the benefit of others was Roy’s and Don’s objective from the very beginning.

When Carl informed Ray Hand of the unbelievably good news, Ray volunteered to pickup the historic treasure from Roy and commence scanning it. Ray then bought a special flat bed scanner suitable for scanning the nearly 300 large size Librazettes, and periodically e-mailed the scanned files to Carl for addition to the growing Librascope Memories website (www.librascopememories.com). Working together, over 2,000 pages of Librazettes, plus numerous Librascope news items, brochures, photographs, and technical literature were processed.

The "Librascope Memories" website's Welcome page
 It soon became apparent, however, that a system was required to facilitate searching of the large and still growing Librascope memorabilia database. So. in late 2009, Carl set up a second web-site called “Librascope Search”, utilizing a new commercial application called Evernote. Evernote was the perfect solution, because it was relatively inexpensive and easily capable of accurately searching the large and complex database for key words such as people’s names, project titles, and various events.

Later, numerous other Librascope documents, that had also been saved, were added to the already large but living database. Today, there are over 60+ years of Librascope history on the two web-sites, including hundreds of historic documents and thousands of pages, that can easily be accessed on the Internet. New items of historic interest continue to be added as they become available.

Then, in time for the 2010 Librascope Reunion, Carl set up a third web-site called Librascope Memories - News Blog (www.librascopememories.blogspot.com). Its purpose was to communicate current events of interest to all Libravets, including any new information relating to the other two “living” web-sites Don and Roy made possible.
The "Librascope Memories - News Blog" Welcome page
And so ends another story about Librascope’s interesting history, and its many good people. Special thanks though to the foresight and personal initiative of Roy Kramer, Don Tubbs, and the others that followed for saving the Company’s past from the dumpster. Librascope’s rich 60+ years of history, including numerous technical contributions, have now been preserved for the benefit of not only thousands of Libravets, but future researchers and historians as well.

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