Friday, June 24, 2016

#138) 1950's Machine Shop Tooling Acquired On e-Bay

We continue to get interesting inquires from people who never worked at Librascope. The following email, from a Matthew Helton, is the most recent. My email response to Matt follows his.

Last week, I won an auction for some old machine tooling (KDK Quick Change Toolposts) on eBay. When I received the package today, I noticed the Librascope name was engraved on the quickchange body and one of the tool holders... so I ran a Google search on the name, idly wondering what would come up. I was quite surprised to find out what the name meant.

So, I have a couple of questions to ask, if I might: Just how large was Librascope's machine shop? The tooling I received were fairly old (The KDK nameplate refers to "Lorain 7 2197" in Southgate instead of Area Code 213...which puts the tool holder's vintage somewhere in the 1951-1957 timeframe). Old as these tools are, they do appear to be well cared for and the quickchange body is still tight, some 60 years after it was built. I bought the tools as part of a lot from an outfit in Hesperia, California.

Attached is a photo of the tooling.

Hi Matthew,
Thanks for writing. I started at Librascope in 1958, and the Company was growing rapidly. At that time the machine shop was a very important part of the Company, since it was still producing high-precision electro-mechanical products. That being said, during the 1950’s period, I would guess there were easily 100 workers in the machine shop. Total employment was probably about 10x that number.

Hope that helps,

PS I’ll post this on our Librascope Memories - News Blog, and we’ll see if anyone can tell you more about your interesting find.

Friday, June 3, 2016

#137) Don Tubbs' and His Team’s Plan to Go 300+ MPH.

Since their Librascope retirement, Don Tubbs, Ed Niekamp, and Dan Sibley have been very busy preparing to help a famous race car owner’s family set new land speed records. Don, the project's Technical Director, recently sent me the following e-mail with an attached industry newsletter describing their project activities and goals.

Hi Carl. 
Well we finally took our Bonneville Salt Flats "Smoke-n-Mirrors" streamliner for its first ever test runs. Ed Niekamp, Dan Sibley, and myself have spent many hours of hard work to get it ready for this year's racing season. Ed is the electrical/electronic engineer on the project, and Dan helps Ed and I with the computer areas. 

Below is a link to an interesting newsletter article about the recent success of our efforts at the El Mirage dry lake bed, where the Southern California Timing Association  (SCTA) has a race track. My old friend, Kent Fuller, designed this race car a few years ago, and now his grandson, Gregory Fuller, is the driver.

The other day we had a meeting to discuss all the work required in order for us to be ready for "Speed Week" at the Bonneville Salt Flats. This will certainly keep us retired Librascope engineers happy and plenty busy.

Project Technical Director

PS Please click here to view the Rodder's Journal newsletter article titled "Smoke-n-Mirrors" Hits the Lakes. Below are photos from this article. Note, Don is driving the "push truck".