That was when Bowen, who then was overseer of the watch company as part of his Marketing Department, put in Chuck Sindelar to head up the watch company, and I took over the international department.”
*Le Locle is a municipality in the Le Locle district in the Canton of Nujchatel in Switzerland, and a center of watch development and manufacture since the 16th Century.
One of the most promising of the products that could have helped Zenith survive is the Zenith Paging System.
A paging system comprises little devices called “pagers” that carried in the pocket, and which notify the carrier that a return call is required. They may “beep” to notify the carrier, and so they are also called “beepers.” And they may also vibrate in the pocket*. They are obviously predecessors to the cell phone, and you may even have carried one yourself.
*An aside: The existence of the "pocket vibrator" was classified TOP SECRET during World War II. The vibrators were radar set detectors carried by spies who searched neighborhoods for concealed radar sets. When the detector vibrated, it meant a radar set was concealed nearby. The spy notified his spymaster, and an aircraft soon appeared carrying a Shrike missile, which was designed to follow the radar beam to its source. Instantly--no radar set. Now the pocket vibrator is no longer a secret--in addition to pagers, cell phones offer this facility.)
Here is a typical pager, one from Motorola. Note the pocket clip—
“Paging Systems?” you may ask. “Aren’t pagers obsolete-- a part of history.” The answer is NO! Pagers are still in use in spite of the universality of the cell phone. As recently as 2008, the paging systems were a $2 billion business in the United States, a dollar amount tapering off now because of the cell phone. However in Canada, there are more than 150,000 pager users, with more than $18 million in value.
The primary users of pagers are the “first responders” who react to emergencies -- volunteer fire fighters and the police, Very simply, pagers will “work” when other services such as the telephone and the cell phone, and radio and television broadcasts may fail because of call overload or the collapse of the electrical grid. Other users are found in hospitals—especially doctors such as surgeons--who can’t be bothered to answer a cellphone while they are busy saving a life, yet rely on the pager for message notification.
You may have even used a pager recently yourself in a restaurant such a Panera Breads. When your order is placed, you are handed a gizmo that buzzes when your order is ready for pick-up. That’s a “pager” in its simplest form .
The project engineer for the Zenith paging system was Alfred “Al” Ditthardt, whom many of you will remember—
Al is shown holding the Zenith pager. In coming installments, Al will tell the story of the Zenith paging system, and how Zenith engineers designed a paging system that Motorola engineers had declared to be "impossible.”
So—look forward to Installment Two of the Zenith Paging System.
To read more about Pagers-- Wikipedia of course: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pager
Zenith Ventures Into Medical Electronics
"Some external units, known as automated external defibrillators (AEDs), automate the diagnosis of treatable rhythms." Meaning that lay responders or bystanders are able to use them successfully with relatively training.
(Note: If you click on in of those underlined topics, you will get a detailed explanation of the topic. (Thank you, Wikipedia! You are irreplaceable!)
[Author's note: Some fine day, I may learn how to make type in the Google blog all the same size. It varies from 9 point to 12 point at will, but not my will.
Below is a Japanese free-standing defibrillator unit , an "AED"--automatic external defibrillator--made available in railway terminals, with railway personnel trained in its use. Because of their high-pressure life style, and the endless dedication to their professions, the Japanese in general experience a higher incidence of heart-related medical problems.
The upshot was that Zenith cancelled the medical electronics product line, and sold even the hearing aid line, although it is unlikely that a hearing aid would have killed anyone.
It is just like Jerry to acknowledge the contribution of others to his accomplishments!
You may have seen Jerry at the Zenith Reunion where he often addressed the meetings. Here is Jerry as shown in the Carl Campisi video of the Tenth Reunion of the Zenith pioneers:
LG and Zenith Radio Corporation has carried on the Zenith tradition of research and development of new products. Open--
* * * * * * *
Mystery One: Production engineers have a kind of a fellowship wherein they visit each other’s factories and share production ideas. Japanese production engineers visited Zenith factory one day and shared more than just ideas –they left with a complete set of production plans for the Zenith Chromacolor picture tube. Having these plans enabled the Japanese get into production of the Chromacolor tube a year and a half sooner, and thus to become competitive with Zenith that much sooner. The cost to Zenith?—several million dollar$ in lost profit.
Who was it at Zenith that was so generous? No one knows—at least no one admitted to doing it.
And there ends this Post 26. In the next Post--Post 27--the Second Installment of Al Ditthardt's paging system story will appear, and with more information about the Zenith Watch Company. Also, more information about other products that Zenith management hoped would become sellers equal to that of television . . . and the story of how Commander McDonald first promoted Zenith by becoming an arctic explorer. Of special note is the first installment of the story "Zenith and the Information Age" as told by Walt Ciccora.
It will be necessary to skip the scheduled date of April 15 for Post 27!
The writer needs time to prepared his income tax, and to write some promotional material for the weblog and to lay plans for the forthcoming book about Zenith which is titled:
A Requiem for Zenith: The Rise and Fall of a Great American Company, and the Lessons To Be Learned From Its Fall.
SO. . . watch for the next Post--Post 27-- to arrive in your in-box on April 30!