First-Hand:Electronics and Industrial Engineering

Submitted by Edgar W. Van Winkle

There were no openings when I graduated in June of 1936, but through Rutgers University placement, I was offered a position at the Best Manufacturing Company in Irvington, New Jersey, designing loud speakers. I started at fifty cents per hour. I was raised to twenty-seven dollars and eighty cents per week when they found I was making forty to fifty dollars per week at the fifty cents per hour rate.

While there I gained a knowledge of loud speakers, production test equipment and assembly line production procedure. I enjoyed the work there, I ended up as a production supervisor for over two hundred people. We went through a vicious strike and it was exciting times but I felt it wasn’t engineering.

Then I was offered a position as electrical engineer designing and testing electronic equipment at Western Electric (WE) in 1937. However, the depression of 1938 caused WE to terminate all engineers who had started in 1937 or later. This was two weeks before I was due to be married and I had no advance notice.

I was fortunate to find placement as an electrical engineer in the Department of Labor of New Jersey. A thorough knowledge of electrical problems in industry and the experience of working with hundreds of different types of industry was gained here. The opportunity to compare them was afforded me while I was obtaining my Master of Science degree in industrial engineering with a minor in electronics.

Shortly after I received my degree in June of 1943, I was offered a position at the Allen B. DuMont Lab., Inc., at 100 Main Ave., Passaic, New Jersey. I was hired in 1943 to organize and set up a Standard's Laboratory.

My retirement lasted until January, 1979 when I worked as a consultant for Bendix doing heat transfer analysis for a gyro on a rocket assembly until I had earned the maximum allowed by social security. To meet additional consulting demands, I formed the EMPAC Corp. to receive the funds. Then I went back to Conrac in May, 1979 on a consulting basis through October. The main clients of EMPAC were Conrac, Lear Siegler and Simmonds Precision. Computer programs were also written and sold. Three times I was called back to instruct new customers in the use and maintenance of the E2C Air Data computer. (The main interests of the EMPAC Corp. at present are artificial intelligence and robotics.)