A Farnsworth fusor effort history forum??

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Richard Hull
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A Farnsworth fusor effort history forum??

Post by Richard Hull » Mon Feb 17, 2020 6:05 am

Recently a few of the "elders" here have floated among us a notion that it might be a nice thing to throw up a forum dealing specifically with the intimate history of the Farnsworth ITT fusion effort. It is certain that were it not for this effort, the amateur fusion effort would not be here today.

Recent findings, collections and information have come to light. In addition many older direct, in person, live interviews have been re-examined. Such in person-to-person interviews were video taped and audio taped. In addition, numerous past phone calls were audio taped or notes taken during them. All such data and information comes directly from the actual direct, living participants in the ITT fusion effort.

Currently there are a number of posts in this vein already in the "fusion past, present, future forum". I, personally, and I might venture to speak for a few others, will ask all here if such a singularly historical forum revolving around this narrow, yet seminal program, might be warranted or even desired here. I feel that while historical in nature, a lot of science and experiment might be examined and revealed.

Well, is there enough curiosity here to warrant such a forum? If such a forum comes into being, many posts in the general forum extant might be transferred by the authors for the sake of putting all such postings in one place. If no such forum is forthcoming I will continue to post my Farnsworth team historical knowledge in the extant past, present future forum.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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Nicolas Krause
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Re: A Farnsworth fusor effort history forum??

Post by Nicolas Krause » Tue Feb 18, 2020 9:50 pm

I would love to read/see any and all information from the past. Those recent threads with different grid designs have been fascinating to read and a source of quality information. Organizing that information in a single spot makes it much easier to follow and find and hopefully provides a focal point for it to be collected as well.

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Re: A Farnsworth fusor effort history forum??

Post by Richard Hull » Tue Feb 18, 2020 9:57 pm

Thanks Nicoalas. You are the lone responder, thus far. I doubt this will push hard for a new forum. I can always use the more nebulous forum already extant, should there be little clamor for the separate one.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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Re: A Farnsworth fusor effort history forum??

Post by John Futter » Wed Feb 19, 2020 2:01 am

Richard
Yes
But with a caveat
only moderators to post in it
Not even senior users like myself


This to keep it squeaky clean
Ie no people answering /adding/ giving opinion.

Any body wanting to put info into this forum will have post elsewhere on Fusor net board asking a moderator to post for them
TTFN

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Re: A Farnsworth fusor effort history forum??

Post by JoeBallantyne » Wed Feb 19, 2020 2:46 am

I think there should be a history forum on the site. Or if not a forum, a place where data of historical relevance can be found, and downloaded if desired. I agree with John, that if it is made its own forum, that posts from regular users not be allowed in the same way they are in other forums.

I have taken several thousand pictures of lab notebooks and other information from documents available at the UofU Marriott library, that I think should be available on fusor.net.

Perhaps not as individual raw JPEG images, but certainly as downloadable PDF documents made from said images.

There are notebooks from Hirsch, Meeks, Farnsworth and Bain which IMO should all be on the site.

Furthermore I think it would be good if all of the recordings that Richard has made many years ago with the people who were involved in the original effort, could be digitized and also placed on the site.

I for one, would very much like to be able to listen to said recordings, and view any available video as well.

Joe.

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Re: A Farnsworth fusor effort history forum??

Post by Nicolas Krause » Wed Feb 19, 2020 6:53 pm

Would it be possible to put up the photos as some sort of .zip archive? Surely not all have to be posted in threads, but particularly interesting photos could be uploaded to the history forum Richard suggested.

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Re: A Farnsworth fusor effort history forum??

Post by Frank Sanns » Wed Feb 19, 2020 7:59 pm

It seems like there is good interest in putting up a historical section (maybe adjacent to our member bio section which we are still waiting for nominated and invited people to fill in).

I have two concerns. One is location and size of the photos and files that would populate that area. Hosting them off site is not good because links can be broken. Hosting them onsite means we eat up our hosting space and then some. The current archive that we have on Farnsworth is somewhere on the order of a large fraction of a terabyte. Our hosting is only at 90 GB. The costs start to become a significant factor if we even post 10% of what we have.

Then we have to get permission from Jonathan to post them. The invitation that we had to go look at the archive and the devices was confidential for the short term. Paul and Jonathan are going to have to be the last word in this one as I will not violate the confidentiality that was requested of us.

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Re: A Farnsworth fusor effort history forum??

Post by John Futter » Wed Feb 19, 2020 8:36 pm

Yes Frank
Over pictures this then allows the moderator to corrctly resample /resize to minimise storage problems
Maybe this sub forum needs a sandbox attached for users to upload to ----that auto deletes files and photos itself monthly

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Re: A Farnsworth fusor effort history forum??

Post by Richard Hull » Thu Feb 20, 2020 5:41 am

640 X 480 postings of images are good enough to view and enlarge to double at home. Their size is always around 100-200K. (10 pix in a megabyte)
VGA at 1240 X 768 is only a half meg or less and are fabulous. (10 pix in 4-5 megabytes)
Huge files are not needed to just see what was done.

Who owns the images and a lesson in 20th century photography

I have many photos given to me on Polaroids which are singularly unique by members of the team and written permission by them to use as I see fit. The images taken At ITT by the Fusor team were a large percentage Polaroids, no negative produced, no owner beyond possibly ITT who bought the film. As they are each singularly unique positive prints, no one owns the rights to them save the original positive Polaroid holder. George Bain was the sole controller of the ITT owned, large 4X5 Speed Graphic supplied to the team. This had a Polaroid film back on it. The team members would take however many pictures they needed of the same thing for their various notebooks and private retention. George would often lend the camera to Meeks, Hirsch, Blaising and others to take images as needed. George noted to me in a filmed, person to person interview that he had to watch over the film carefully as it was used at a prodigious rate. As all images produced by a Polaroid are single, unique, positives with no usable negative, all rights to these are held by the individual holder, Unless ITT wishes to claim broad and exclusive rights which, to my knowledge, is not the case. Polaroid photos demanded that the person taking the photo rather quickly use the film pack supplied, chemically wet squeegee to wipe it across the finished damp photo to "Fix" the image and also apply a protective coating. If this was not done or not done very well, the entire photo would turn golden brown or have brownish streaks set in within a year or two. I have seen this on many of the ITT Polaroids. While the image is not ruined, it is not a good quality photo.

In some instances, careful copying to 35mm film of the Polaroids have been done to produce much larger clean prints. The Graflex lenses were razor sharp Wollensaks on compur shutters. Provided the user focused well, amazingly sharp Polaroids would result! These were far better than the simple consumer grade Polaroid cameras could produce. Thus, making rather sharp 35mm copies at a later date possible. Who really owns these images? The individual holder of the original Polaroid! If there are 5 images of the same thing on 5 Polaroid photos owned by 5 different people, 5 people own it. If one wishes to get nasty about it.

I received all of George Bain's Polaroid photos in 1999 as well as many Polaroid photos from Fred Haak, Gene Meeks, and Steve Blaising through subsequent visits and mailings to me. Based on my holdings alone, George must have torn his hair out ordering 4 X 5 Polaroid film packs (10) to a pack, normally. I bet ITT bought them by the case lot load!!! I know of about 2 or 3 other sources who have received and hold original Polaroid photos gifted to them from the principals working at ITT fusor effort.

How does Richard know all of these details?

Photography was a major hobby of mine from about the age of 12, but became a real avocation during my service in Vietnam with cheap Japanese Nikons, Canon's and Yashicas to be had about $200 cheaper than in the states. Add to this that even in the war, every Air Force base had a fully equipped base photo hobby shop where you could buy film, paper and use one of three enlarger stations in the darkrooms along with free chemicals to develop your film and print your own photos. Once I returned home I started collecting older large format "press" cameras like 4 x 5 Speed Graphics. Any one could have a Nikon 35mm, but hauling around a big 4 X 5 press camera got you in places others could not go. I did a lot of model/glamour photography in the late 70's into the early 90's and had my own dark room where my current scientific library now resides.

I own and have collected and used 3 Graflex - 4X5 Speed Graphics - I Graflex 4X5 Crown Graphic - 1 Graflex 2.25 X 3.25 Speed Graphic. All of these used cut film sheets in double sided holders in normal operation. These were the classic newspaper photographer's lugable with large flash arm seen in movies of the 30's through the 50's. Most Newspapers still used these into the 1960's and limped into the 1970's with them.

The backs on these cameras could be swapped out easily. The 4 X 5 could use an accessory Polaroid back. These were used mostly in an industrial and scientific record keeping venue where no time consuming and expensive developing and printing was needed. The 2 and a quarter by 3 and a quarter could take an accessory "roll back" that could use readily available old Kodak "Brownie" box camera, 616 verichrome pan roll film. I currently own both of these rare film backs for my Graflex cameras. I know these intimately as I used them into the 1980's.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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Re: A Farnsworth fusor effort history forum??

Post by Frank Sanns » Thu Feb 20, 2020 9:40 am

Thank you Richard and the rest of you for your thoughts and solutions on the matter. I will create an area on the site to do that. It will take some work to batch convert files to a reasonable size but I agree that it can and should be done. Give me a day to think about the location and how to structure it on the forum and find some time to get it done.

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