Monday, June 27, 2011

#35) In Memoriam - Howard Stahle

Howard at the 2006 Libravet Reunion
This report just in from Bruce Perkin:

Howard Stahle passed away on May 21st.  He was 78 years old.  Howard is remembered as "Mr. Logic Design" for the many extremely competent digital designs that he and the group he led performed.  Old timers will remember Howard as a once physically robust individual who rode his bicycle to work every day, rain or shine.  Spinal nerve disease ended that; but even when confined to a wheelchair, he continued to drive himself around in his minivan. He also insisted on keeping his office upstairs, adjacent to the lab and the engineering development taking place, right up until his retirement in 1995. 
One of the most significant of Librascope's digital design accomplishments occurred late in Howard's career.  That was the application of digital logic to custom integrated circuits required to miniaturize the graphics engine of the BSY-2 submarine system.  Ten different ICs were designed using several different technologies.  While the industry generally assumed that it was very lucky to use "first silicon" for even a single design, Librascope was able to use the original run for all ten ICs.  Howard worked diligently with all of the engineers on the project, none of whom had ever designed an IC before. His efforts assured that the ICs would work and also work together.  All of his correcting, coaching, and teaching was well received by the individual engineers assigned to each IC and that made the project successful.
Howard's wife, Bernie, also a long time Librascope employee, survives him.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

#34) News Blog Headline Animator Added

A "Headline Animator" widget from Feedburner, that continuously displays the five most recent headlines posted on this Blog, has been added to the Librascope Memories web-site. The widget is located near the bottom of the web-site's Welcome page, and is duplicated here FYI:
Librascope Memories - News Blog
Note, clicking anywhere on the animator above will allow you to select between various (free) subscription options for this Blog. I suggest selecting the e-mail option, if you do not already have an RSS Reader on your computer.

Monday, June 13, 2011

#33) Price for Librascope Balance Computer Reduced 70%!

Librascope Balance Computer in a Display Case (Typical)
Blog #20, on April 2nd, described a Librascope Balance Computer in a display case that was for sale on Craig's List for $10,000. That price has recently been reduced 70% to $3,000, and re-listed.

The current listing may be found at:

#32) Librascope Mk 7 Mod 7 Barrage Computer For Sale

A Mk 7 Mod 7 Barrage Computer that was designed and built by Librascope during W.W. II for the U.S. Navy's use aboard ship for directing 5 inch Anti-Aircraft Guns is for sale from a private party. The unit is said to be in good condition, and includes the original cover but no instruction manual.

Bidding starts at $250, and the last day for bidding is 7/13/11. The Librascope will be sold to the highest bidder on that date. Note, the successful bid price does not include the cost of shipping to the buyer from Minneapolis, MN.

Please submit all questions and bids to Rachel Weber at

Friday, June 3, 2011

#31) Librascope's Optics Business - Puerto Rico

The other day I received the following e-mail from a son who recalls his Father's association with Librascope's Chester Brandon during the 1950's. Some Libravets may remember those times. Others may be familiar with Bray Optical Company, who also made spotting scopes for hunters. Regardless, I think you will find the history interesting.

----- Original Message -----
From: Wade Bray
To: Carl Sorensen
Sent: Wednesday, June 01, 2011 7:17 AM
Subject: Bray Optical Company, Chester Brandon and Librascope Puerto Rico

Dear Mr. Sorensen,
For some unknown reason the name "Librascope" popped into memory this morning, so I just Googled it and found your excellent site.
I am the son of the late Max R. Bray (1912-2000) who founded and operated the Bray Optical Company at 3445 West First Street in Los Angeles (DUnkirk 7-8295) from 1937 until he sold it and became a consultant in 1958.
During my childhood years the name Librascope was frequently heard from my father. Librascope was a major and continuing customer of precision optics made by Bray Optical Co.
Whether or not through Librascope, my father became acquainted at least by the early 1950s with the optical designer Chester (Chet) Brandon, who in the late 1950s moved from Southern California to Puerto Rico and either ran or was associated with Librascope P.R. Dad and Chet became very good friends.
In 1958 when I was an 8th grader at the Webb School of California in Claremont, Chet Brandon had my father perform several months of consulting in Puerto Rico to set up an optical fabrication facility for Librascope P.R. near San Juan (Guaynabo, if memory serves). The project was partially supported by a Puerto Rican Government business program called "Fomento." My parents and I communicated via amateur radio phone patch: Chet Brandon (KP4AEQ) was an advanced amateur radio operator.
I seem to recall my Dad driving us one night past the Glendale Librascope facility just to see the beautiful new blue internally-illuminated sign with the large script letter L.
My father and Chester Brandon had several other collaborations, including Dad making objective lenses for some Brandon-designed refracting telescopes and the optics for the original (pre VernonScope) Brandon eyepieces. Dad purchased the Brandon "70-22" spotting scope design from Chet and manufactured them at the West First Street facility. The American Rifleman magazine rated the Brandon "70-22" by Bray Optical Co. (70 mm aperture, 22x magnification) the best spotting scope. I still have one, plus a few sheets of advertising literature.
Best regards, and I am happy to have recollected a few things related to the living Librascope memories. I would welcome hearing from anyone.
Wade Bray
Vice President
HEAD acoustics, Inc.
6964 Kensington Road
Brighton, MI 48116
telephone: 248 486-0099 ext. 207
Fax: 248 486-9470