Zenith

Zenith

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Post 32B

The time has  indeed come--

--to end the story of Zenith told by this weblog. This will be the last of the Posts, and from now on  it will be excelsior! --on to finish the forthcoming  book about Zenith.  The title will be-- 

         Zenith!  The Rise and Fall of a Great American Company.

Also,  let's now tell of the last of Zenith's engineering triumphs: the making of the finest Zenith computer color monitor  ever created, one with a the flat tension mask and a  flat face-plate!  

But before telling that happy/sad story, let's first pay tribute to another of Zenith's "products,"--those employees those whose careers were fostered and promoted by their employment by Zenith.  In the prior Post, we listed Eugene Cummings, Norman Kidder, and William Krucks.  To those names, let us now add to the list of another of the Zenith "alumni"--patent attorney Raiford "Ray" Blackstone, Jr., who tells of his career with Zenith--
Raiford Blackstone, Jr. 
"Zenith was very helpful and important for my career in patent law.  I attended the University of Cincinnati ("UC"), College of Engineering, in the early 1960's, receiving the BSEE degree in 1965.  I attended UC on a "Co-op" (work/study) basis.  One of my co-op employers was Motorola, and I worked in their consumer electronics engineering department in Franklin Park.  I was impressed by their buying a Zenith color TV whenever a new model went on the market.  They would examine it very carefully, and take copious notes.

"During my senior year at UC, I received an offer for a full-time engineering position in Motorola's color TV department.  I also received a much better one from Zenith!   Not only was it from the leader in color TV at that time, but it also offered a 25% higher salary!  So I accepted it.

"When I first started at Zenith, I learned that I was hired to fill the color TV engineering position vacated by Gene Cummings when he transferred to Zenith's Patent Law department.  About a year later, Jerry
Hosier  left Zenith's Patent Law department to join a prominent patent law firm in the "Loop."  With Gene's strong encouragement, I applied for the position vacated by ­Hosier.  Fortunately, I was accepted and Zenith thereby changed my career for life.  Eventually--with Hosier's strong encouragement--I joined a prominent patent law firm in the Loop, and enjoyed a very interesting and successful, career in patent law.

"Thus Zenith, and two of its employees--Gene Cummings and Jerry Hosier-- were very positively influential in my career.”  -- Raiford Blackstone, Jr.   

* * * * * * *

Now we go on to the story of the revolutionary  FTM--flat tension mask television picture tube—

While working in the Zenith Department, I (the author of this blog) had written some of the patent applications for the FTM project, but had a view of only a small part of the total. So (years later!) I queried Charles “Chuck” Prazak whom I knew had been active in the project,  to tell more about it.  Here is his email response--

Chuck Prazak 
12:12 PM 
to LangeJarosz, me
  
“This [the FTM] was a major project started by Kaz Palac who worked at the CRT Research department in Glenview.

  Many of the original engineers on the project have passed on to meet their creators.

   Among the living who would remember the details and history are myself, Howard Lange, John Jarosz,  and Norm Gioia.   Konrad Schieke developed the monitor.  

  It was so long ago, that I am having trouble remembering all of the names involved.

   I could write a book about the program myself, which would take quite a long time.

  The goal of the project was to economically produce a perfectly  flat- faced, high-resolution color CRT display monitor, with a non-glare screen.  We succeeded with  first, a 14- inch diagonal 640x480 pixel display computer monitor and later,  with a 16- inch 1024x768 pixel monitor

    We  also successfully developed a 20- inch display produced with an interchangeable shadow mask process. Revolutionary developments in CRT glass manufacture (e.g. the use of float glass for the face-plate), and CRT processing were required, and most were patented.

I still have working 14- inch monitor at my summer home and  a non-working 16-inch monitor in my home work shop.
  
I have copied this reply to Howard and John.  They might have more to add.

Good Luck! 

--Chuck Prazak
Prazak  also notes that the federal  government was interested in the FTM tube, and that Zenith received grants from DARPA—the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for development of a monitor tube.   As a result, Zenith built a 20-inch monitor for DARPA.
(DARPA  was the agency created  when the Russian “Sputnik” took to the heavens, and the U.S.  decided that we had better “get with it” in developing advanced space projects. It is a fascinating organization now interested especially in promoting robotics.)
 SO!-- the goal was for Zenith to develop a superior television picture tube, one  with a perfectly flat distortion-free faceplate, and of course, a greatly  improved color picture.  The development was at first intended for computer monitors, but it was planned to make it 27-inch tube size for the best-selling 27- inch picture tube set, and in all of the larger sets.    
Such was the intention, and let’s see how it all came out. If it came out well, it just might save Zenith, for Zenith was struggling, and needed a major breakthrough in the technology.  And if it succeeded, sales of Zenith television sets would be far ahead of the competition      
                                Here is the result--
                           

--the 14Vflat tension mask (FTM) high-resolution color
computer picture tube--


Features of the 14V Flat Tension Mask FTM High-Resolution Color Monitor Tube
·        Brightest Color CRT in its category
·        Up to 40 percent higher performance  efficiency
·        More than three times the power-handling capacity
·        Anti-glare coating of glass  enables low specular reflectivity and low diffused reflectivity
·        Planar (“flat”) screen geometry assures optimum convergence
      A flat tube face eliminates spherical mirror effect, which reduces quantity and intensity of unwanted reflective images.

In summary, CRT offers up to 80 percent greater brightness and 70 percent greater contrast , and picture images that are sharper and with greater detail.  A bonus is a reduction of reflections.
   

 
The components of the faceplate assembly  are positioned very close together, as indicated above, and the mask is pulled to a  very high tension to eliminate  movement of the mask under beam bombardment.  The result?--registration of the mask holes with the respective color phosphors is maintained, ensuring color purity.

A completely flat faceplate and one without any aberrations was required.  This  goal was accomplished by utilizing float glass, which is made by floating molten glass on  a bath of molten tin.  To resist the  pressure of the atmosphere,  the panel has to be relatively  thick. The glass is also infused with lead to shield the viewer from the x-rays produced by the electron beams.  Further, because the additional brightness of the image achieved, an extra-dark screen glass can be used, which absorbs ambient light, and increases image contrast.

 
Now let’s see the results--

 

                                                              


Here  is a side-by-side comparison of the performance of two television displays, with the greatly improved FTM image display on the left, and on the right, the  display of a standard television.  The image on the left display is undistorted and brighter, the blacks are denser, and there is no “glare” from reflections of ambient light. The picture on the right displays all the faults corrected in the left  display: a  distorted image obscured by ambient light reflections,  and in general, a  “washed out” image with little detail.

 

As noted previously, Zenith planned to “scale up” the FTM tube for use in the best-selling 27-inch television set—

  

--and to adapt the FTM tube to  Zenith’s complete line of monitors and television sets.  Zenith pinned all of its hopes on such an adaptation, for it was in sore need of a product that was far better than that offered by the competition! And here it was!
                                         * * * * * * *
Now let’s pause  in the story of the FTM tube to pay a brief tribute to the Zenith engineers who created this remarkable color monitor. (Such tributes have been customary throughout this weblog!) 

 

Chuck Prazak was one of the engineers, of course, and Kaz Palac for the initial concept; Wayne Chiodi and Norm Gioia for project management; Konrad Schieke for developing the monitor; and Howard Lange, and John Jarosz.

Those  who created the FTM tube were members of the engineering staff of the Rauland Picture Tube  Plant in Melrose Park, Illinois. When the Plant was closed, they and other employees of Rauland, formed  a club known as The Raulanders. The Raulanders meet monthly.  Here is a photo of those who attended the October meeting:
                                                              
                         
Those in attendance were (starting at the left, and around to the right)— Ed Dvorsky, Tom Remec, Lowell Cordingly, Jerry Mclean, Tom Holmes, Ray Capek,  Lou Jean Simmons , Chuck Prazak,  and Arlyne Dvorsky.

The next meeting of The Raulanders will be held at Russell’s Barbecue  in Elmwood Park on December 3.   Why not drop by!  The Raulanders meet at one o’clock. You will meet some fascinating people, and enjoy the best barbecue ever!

Zenith’s Rauland picture tube plant in Melrose Park that  made the FTM was an engineering and mass-production  wonder.  In addition to its superlative engineering staff, thousands of American workers operated in four shifts during a 24-hour period manufacturing  three-and-a half million picture tubes a year. I recall walking down the main corridor in the factory they called “Broadway.”  On one side you could see the pick-and-place machine operating around the clock, depositing on and removing faceplates on funnels, and all over the plant, those thousands of workers processing picture tubes.  It was a very busy place.   

* * * * * * * *

 

As noted previously,  Zenith planned to “scale up” its  superior television tube  for use in all of its consumer product sets such as in the best-selling 27-inch model.    It would have been a winner as it would have far outperformed the competition. But fate intervened in that a long-sought technological advance popularly called the  “picture-on-the-wall television” appeared in the market place. It is the “television panel display” often termed “flat panel television,”--a misnomer, because a panel is by definition, flat.

 

There are two basic types of panel television :  liquid crystal and fluorescent (and many others!) , but let’s not go into that except to state that Zenith Bob Adler’s group had an active research program in fluorescent panels, but it was one of the “babies  thrown out with the bath water” when the Zenith research department was dumped.  So Zenith nothing to offer in panel displays. 

 

 It was no contest! Panel TV is so far superior to the television picture tube that panel screens captured the market very quickly.  Within four years, the CRT picture tube had virtually disappeared. So Zenith’s new flat panel picture tube had no chance  to succeed.  

 

Let us count the ways for the  total acceptance of the panel television display by the consumer:                                                           

                                        

1.       A CRT  television set requires that a box be built around that big, fragile tube to protect it (and the customer) from the high voltage of the tube, and to contain the tube and its circuit in case of fire. Panels don’t need a box.

 

2.    The cost were lower because it was not necessary to pay for the expensive furniture that comprised the “box.”

 

3.    Panels are not subject to the nemesis of the picture tube—atmospheric pressure.  Since there are no electron beams, there is no need for a high vacuum.


4.    The CRT picture tube was limited as to the width of the image that  could show. The panel television provides for a wide landscape view. 


5.     The panel television display was just that –a panel that could be hung on a wall, or be free-standing on a small  pedestal, as most of them are. And it can be  placed on a low table at eye level, unlike the standard television set in its box that sits on the floor.  

 

6.    The  much lighter weight and shape of the panel made it much  less expensive to ship to the marketplace, and from there to the customer.

 

7.     The panel operates  at relatively low voltage, unlike the picture tube which required dangerous voltages in the 30,000 volt range and above to operate.


8.    A low operating  voltage made it far less vulnerable to catching fire and much safer for technicians to repair. 

 

9.   Simplification of circuitry because of a low voltage, and most of all-

 

10.      Women loved panel television!--no big clumsy cabinet to clutter up    the living room, and the panel  could be fitted into almost any décor!


This last feature was probably the coupe d’grace  to the old picture tube and its humungous box!

 

In comparison to the CRT picture tube image,  here is a 49-inch television panel (diagonal measure) made by LG Electronics.   Its width is 65 inches. 

                                                                 

            

 When the cathode ray television tube picture image  is compared to this beauty, there is simply no contest.

 

And of course, there are the computer monitor panels—

 

 

--and  many other type such as the touch-screen monitor used in cash registers, surveillance panels , Ipads, Galazy tablets, Amazon’s Fire tablets, and not the least, the billions of touch pad monitors used in the cell phones.  The CRT television tube with its big back end could not have been used for any of these.  


The disappearance  from the market place of television sets with the cathode ray picture tube was so complete that it is impossible  to find one today, except  perhaps in a museum. 

 

So Zenith's  FTM cathode ray tube for which there were such bright hopes became a non-starter, and Zenith was left with  “no skin in the game”--that is, no panel  television to offer its customers.      

 

And worse, Zenith no longer had the money to “buy into” the technology, as it had done with the purchase of a Heath computer system.  For Zenith was going bankrupt.  

 

Let us not go into the sad details of Zenith’s bankruptcy, and its attempts to reorganize. 

 

And so we come to the end of Zenith as we knew it—knew it as Zenith Radio Corporation, and later, as Zenith Electronics Corporation.  Even the name “Zenith” has no special significance now other than its dictionary definition as the ultimate (which our Zenith was!).   

 

The Millennials have appeared—a new generation.   They do not know the name Zenith, except perhaps for  a dim memory that  their grandparents had a Zenith.

 

Let’s not dwell on the sad facts of Zenith bankruptcy and its attempts to reorganize. Let’s say  the Zenith that we all knew puts us in mind of  King Arthur’s Camelotthe shining city on the hill.

 

 

Do not forget

That once there as a spot,

For one brief, shining moment,

That was known as Camelot.* 

 

Zenith had its brief shining moment but, Alas--for such short a time!


And with that, it is time to bid farewell to my readers and say for one last time

 

MIZPAH!

 

        Ralph Clarke        

                                                              

                                                    

*The verse is from the musical Camelot, by Lerner and Lowe. Quoted from Wikipedia.

 

But wait!  Don’t go away yet! Don’t forget that this Weblog will be recreated  in the form of a book  with the title—

               Zenith! The Rise and Fall of a Great American Company

You, faithful readers, will be sure to know of its publication, and where and how to get a copy! 


Now, Farewell again! (For a time . . .)  































 FN 32B rough                               Location:  desktop


POST 32B

The time has  indeed come--

--to end the story of Zenith told by this weblog. This will be the last of the Posts, and from now on  it will be excelsior! --on to finish the forthcoming Zenith book.  The title will be-- 

         Zenith:  The Rise and Fall of a Great American Company.

Also,  let's now tell of the last of Zenith's engineering triumphs: the making of the finest Zenith computer color monitor  ever created, one with a the flat tension mask and a  flat face-plate!  

But before telling that happy/sad story, let's first pay tribute to another of Zenith's "products,"--those employees those whose careers were fostered and promoted by their employment by Zenith.  In the prior Post, we listed Eugene Cummings, Norman Kidder, and William Krucks.  To those names, let us now add to the list of another of the Zenith "alumni"--patent attorney Raiford "Ray" Blackstone, Jr., who tells of his career with Zenith--
                                                

"Zenith was very helpful and important for my career in patent law.  I attended the University of Cincinnati ("UC"), College of Engineering, in the early 1960's --  receiving the BSEE degree in 1965.  I attended UC on a "Co-op" (work/study) basis.  One of my co-op employers was Motorola, and I worked in their consumer electronics engineering department in Franklin Park.  I was impressed by their buying a Zenith color TV whenever a new model went on the market.  They would examine it very carefully, and take copious notes.
"During my senior year at UC, I received an offer for a full-time engineering position in Motorola's color TV department.  I also received a much better one from Zenith!   Not only was it from the leader in color TV at that time, but it also offered a 25% higher salary!  So I accepted it.

"When I first started at Zenith, I learned that I was hired to fill the color TV engineering position vacated by Gene Cummings when he transferred to Zenith's Patent Law department.  About a year later, Jerry
Hosier   left Zenith's Patent Law department to join a prominent patent law firm in the "Loop".  With Gene's strong encouragement, I applied for the position vacated by ­Hosier.  Fortunately, I was accepted and Zenith thereby changed my career for life.  Eventually--with Hosier's strong encouragement--I joined a prominent patent law firm in the Loop, and enjoyed a very interesting, and successful, career in patent law.

"Thus Zenith, and two of its employees--Gene Cummings and Jerry Hosier-- were very positively influential in my career.”  -- Raiford Blackstone, Jr.   

* * * * * * *

Now we go on to the story of the revolutionary  FTM--flat tension mask television picture tube—

While working in the Zenith Department, I (the author of this blog) had written some of the patent applications for the FTM project, but had a view of only a small part of the total. So (years later!) I queried Charles “Chuck” Prazak whom I knew had been active in the project,  to tell more about it.  Here is his email response--

Chuck Prazak 
12:12 PM (22 hours ago)
to LangeJarosz, me
  
“This [the FTM] was a major project started by Kaz Palac who worked at the CRT Research department in Glenview.

  Many of the original engineers on the project have passed on to meet their creators.
   Among the living who would remember the details and history are myself, Howard Lange, John Jarosz,  and Norm Gioia.   Konrad Schieke developed the monitor.  There should be plenty of documentation in the patents. 

  It was so long ago, that I am having trouble remembering all of the names involved.

   I could write a book about the program myself, which would take quite a long time.

  The goal of the project was to economically produce a perfectly  flat- faced, high-resolution color CRT display monitor, with a non-glare screen.  We succeeded with  first, a 14- inch diagonal 640x480 pixel display computer monitor and later,  with a 16- inch 1024x768 pixel monitor

    We  also successfully developed a 20- inch display produced with an interchangeable shadow mask process. Revolutionary developments in CRT glass manufacture (e.g. the use of float glass for the face-plate), and CRT processing were required, and most were patented.

I still have working 14- inch monitor at my summer home and  a non-working 16-inch monitor in my home work shop.
  
I have copied this reply to Howard and John.  They might have more to add.
Good Luck! 

--Chuck Prazak
Prazak  also notes that the federal  government was interested in the FTM tube, and that Zenith received grants from DARPA—the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for development of a monitor tube.   As a result, Zenith built a 20-inch monitor for DARPA.
(DARPA  was the agency created  when the Russian “Sputnik” took to the heavens, and the U.S.  decided that we had better “get with it” in developing advanced space projects. It is a fascinating organization now interested especially in promoting robotics.)
 SO!-- the goal was for Zenith to develop a superior television picture tube, one  with a perfectly flat distortion-free faceplate, and of course, a greatly  improved color picture.  The development was at first intended for computer monitors, but it was planned to make it 27-inch tube size for the best-selling 27- inch picture tube set, and in all of the larger sets.    
Such was the intention, and let’s see how it all came out. If it came out well, it just might save Zenith, for Zenith was struggling, and needed a major breakthrough in the technology.  And if it succeeded, sales of Zenith television sets would be far ahead of the competition      
                                Here is the result--
                             

--the 14Vflat tension mask (FTM) high-resolution color
computer picture tube--
Features of the 14V Flat Tension Mask FTM High-Resolution Color Monitor Tube
·        Brightest Color CRT in its category
·        Up to 40 percent higher performance  efficiency
·        More than three times the power-handling capacity
·        Anti-glare coating of glass  enables low specular reflectivity and low diffused reflectivity
·        Planar (“flat”) screen geometry assures optimum convergence
·        A flat tube face eliminates spherical mirror effect, which reduces quantity and intensity of unwanted reflective images.

In summary, CRT offers up to 80 percent greater brightness and 70 percent greater contrast , and picture images that are sharper and with greater detail.  A bonus is a reduction of reflections.

                                                                           


The components of the faceplate assembly  are positioned very close together, as indicated above, and the mask is pulled to a  very high tension to eliminate  movement of the mask under beam bombardment.  The result?--registration of the mask holes with the respective color phosphors is maintained, ensuring color purity.

A completely flat faceplate and one without any aberrations was required.  This  goal was accomplished by utilizing float glass, which is made by floating molten glass on  a bath of molten tin.  To resist the  pressure of the atmosphere,  the panel has to be relatively  thick. The glass is also infused with lead to shield the viewer from the x-rays produced by the electron beams.  Further, because the additional brightness of the image achieved, an extra-dark screen glass can be used, which absorbs ambient light, and increases image contrast.

 
Now let’s see the results--

 

                   

Here  is a side-by-side comparison of the performance of two television displays, with the greatly improved FTM image display on the left, and on the right, a display of a standard television.  The image on the left display is undistorted and brighter, the blacks are denser, and there is no “glare” from reflections of ambient light. The picture on the right displays all the faults corrected in the left  display: a  distorted image obscured by ambient light reflections,  and in general, a  “washed out” image with little detail.

 

As noted previously, Zenith planned to “scale up” the FTM tube for use in the best-selling 27-inch television set—

 

                              

--and to adapt the FTM tube to  Zenith’s complete line of monitors and television sets.  Zenith pinned all of its hopes on such an adaptation, for it was in sore need of a product that was far better than that offered by the competition!
                                         * * * * * * *
Now let’s pause  in the story of the FTM tube to pay a brief tribute to the Zenith engineers who created this remarkable color monitor. (Such tributes have been customary throughout this weblog!) 

 

Chuck Prazak was one of the engineers, of course, and Kaz Palac for the initial concept; Wayne Chiodi for project management; Konrad Schieke for developing the monitor; and Howard Lange, John Jarosz, and Normal Gioia,

Those  who created the FTM tube were members of the engineering staff of the Rauland Picture Tube  Plant in Melrose Park, Illinois. When the Plant was closed, they and other employees of Rauland, formed  a club known as The Raulanders. The Raulanders meet monthly.  Here is a photo of those who attended the October meeting:
                                                                                       
Those in attendance were (starting at the left, and around to the right)— Ed Dvorsky, Tom Remec, Lowell Cordingly, Jerry Mclean, Tom Holmes, Ray Capek,  Lou Jean Simmons , Chuck Prazak,  and Arlyne Dvorsky. (Chuck Prazak is seen at the upper right corner of the photo!)
The next meeting of The Raulanders will be held at Russell’s Barbecue  in Elmwood Park on December 3.   Why not drop by!  The Raulanders meet at one o’clock. You will meet some fascinating people, and enjoy the best barbecue ever!
Zenith’s Rauland picture tube plant in Melrose Park that  made the FTM was a wonder.  In addition to its superlative engineering staff, thousands of American workers operated in four shifts during a 24-hour period manufacturing  three-and-a half million picture tubes a year. I recall walking down the main corridor in the factory they called “Broadway.”  On one side you could see the pick-and-place machine operating around the clock, depositing on and removing faceplates on funnels, and all over the plant  side, those thousands of workers processing picture tubes.  It was a very busy place.   
* * * * * * * *

 

As noted previously,  Zenith planned to “scale up” its  superior television tube  for use in all of its consumer product sets such as in the best-selling 27-inch model.    It would have been a winner as it would have far outperformed the competition. But fate intervened in that a long-sought technological advance popularly called the  “picture-on-the-wall television” appeared in the market place. It was the “television panel display” often termed “flat panel television,”--a misnomer, because a panel is by definition, flat.

 

There are two basic types of panel television :  liquid crystal and fluorescent (and many others!) , but let’s not go into that except to state that Zenith Bob Adler’s group had an active research program in fluorescent panels, but it was one of the “babies  thrown out with the bath water” when the Zenith research department was dumped.  So Zenith nothing to offer in panel displays. 

 

 It was no contest! Panel TV is so far superior to the television picture tube that panel screens captured the market very quickly.  Within four years, the CRT picture tube had virtually disappeared. So Zenith’s new flat panel picture tube had no chance  to succeed.  

 

Let us count the way for the  total acceptance of the panel television display by the consumer:                                                           

                                        

1.       A CRT  television set requires that a box be built around that big, fragile tube to protect it (and the customer) from the high voltage of the tube, and to contain the tube and its circuit in case of fire. Panels don’t need a box.

 

2.    The cost were lower because it was not necessary to pay for the expensive furniture that comprised the “box.”

 

3.    Panels are not subject to the nemesis of the picture tube—atmospheric pressure.  Since there are no electron beams, there is no need for a high vacuum.


4.    The CRT picture tube was limited as to the width of the image that  could show. The panel television provides for a landscape view. 


5.     The panel television display was just that –a panel that could be hung on a wall, or be free-standing on a small  pedestal, as most of them are. And it can be  located at eye level, unlike the standard television set in its box that sits on the floor.  

 

6.    The  much lighter weight and shape of the panel made it much  less expensive to ship to the marketplace, and from there to the customer.

 

7.     The panel operates  at relatively low voltage, unlike the picture tube which required dangerous voltages in the 30,000 volt range and above to operate.


8.    A low operating  voltage made it far less vulnerable to catching fire and much safer for technicians to repair. 

 

9.   Simplification of circuitry because of a low voltage, and most of all-

 

10.      Women loved panel television!--no big clumsy cabinet to clutter up    the living room, and it could be fitted into almost any décor!


This last feature was probably the coupe d’grace  to the old picture tube and its humungous box!

 

In comparison to the CRT picture tube image,  here is a 49-inch television panel (diagonal measure) made by LG Electronics.   Its width is 65 inches. 

 

            

 

When the cathode ray television tube picture image  is compared to this beauty, there I simply no contest.

 

And of course, there are the computer monitor panels—

 

                           

 

--and  many other type such as the touch-screen monitor used in cash registers, surveillance panels , Ipads, Galazy tablets, Amazon’s Fire tablets, and not the least, the billions of touch pad monitors used in the cell phones.  The CRT television tube with its big back end could not have been used for any of these.   

 

The disappearance  from the market place of television sets with the cathode ray picture tube was so complete that it is impossible  to find one today, except  perhaps in a museum. 

 

So the FTM cathode ray tube for which there were such bright hopes became a non-starter, and Zenith was left with  “no skin in the game”--that is, no panel  television to offer its customers.      

 

And worse, Zenith no longer had the money to “buy into” the technology, as it had done with the purchase of a Heath computer system.  For Zenith was going bankrupt.  

 

Let us not go into the sad details of Zenith’s bankruptcy, and its attempts to reorganize. 

 

And so we come to the end of Zenith as we knew it—knew it as Zenith Radio Corporation, and later, as Zenith Electronics Corporation.  Even the name “Zenith” has no special significance now other than its dictionary definition as the ultimate (which it was!).   

 

The Millennia’s have appeared—a new generation.   They do not know the name Zenith, except perhaps for  a dim memory that  their grandparents had a Zenith.

 

So let’s not dwell on the sad facts of Zenith bankruptcy and its attempts to reorganize. Let’s say  the Zenith that we all knew was like  King Arthur’s Camelotthe shining city on the hill.

 

 

Do not forget

That once there as a spot,

For one brief, shining moment,

That was known as Camelot.* 

 

And with that, it is time to bid farewell to my readers and say for one last time—

 

MIZPAH!

 

        Ralph Clarke

                                                              

                                                    

*The verse is from the musical Camelot, by Lerner and Lowe. Quoted from Wikipedia.

 

But wait!  Don’t go away yet! Don’t forget that this Weblog will be recreated  in the form of a book  with the title—

               Zenith! The Rise and Fall of a Great American Company

You, faithful readers, will be sure to know of its publication, and where and how to get a copy! 


Now, Farewell again! (For a time . . .)  































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