The History Of Kollmorgen 1916–2016 100 Years Of

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The History of Kollmorgen1916–2016100 Years of Innovation

Dear Kollmorgen Associates,2016 marks Kollmorgen’s 100th anniversary. Withvery few organizations able to accomplish this typeof milestone, I find it truly an honor and privilege towork here – and with all of you, the 1389 team!The company’s longevity and innovation success demonstrates adeep commitment to our global associates and customers over avery long time.We are building great people and our people are building a greatbusiness – in that order. Your efforts each day are appreciated.Thank you for helping us realize our vision: Enabling Innovatorsto Make the World a Better Place.Congratulations and thank you for helping us achieve thissuccess!My best,Dan St. Martin2

Table of ContentsThe Founder, Chapter I4Hugo & Otto, Chapter II14Industrial Drives Division (IDD) & Electro-Optical Division (EOD), Chapter III 26Mergers, Moves, & Acquisitions, Chapter IV32Exploring New Frontiers, Chapter V49Timeline, Chapter VI58Credits603

The Founder, Chapter IThe two military veterans exchanged barbs and banter, each manboastfully proclaiming their branch superior, as they made their way throughthe Military Museum in Central New York’s Sampson State Park. Theyreached the center of the building, where a Kollmorgen periscope risesthrough the roof of the museum. The younger man rolled the wheelchair upto the periscope’s eyepiece, allowing the WWII vet a view of Seneca Lake.The elder is taken back to his tour of duty in the Pacific Ocean.Kollmorgen Type C periscopes on USS K-8,circa 1917Dr. hedthe U.S. Navy’sstandard forperiscopes intothe modernday.The essential function of a periscope is to give an officer conning asubmarine a view of the surrounding horizon while his vessel remainssubmerged. To accomplish this, the periscope needs to be long enough toextend beyond the surface, and also to deflect rays of light, first downward,and then horizontally. In addition, the part of the periscope that is to beabove water must be as inconspicuous and streamlined as possible; for thisreason the periscope is made in the form of a long narrow tube.The periscope has been the cornerstone of our success at Kollmorgen.From World War I up until the government’s single-sourcing policy changedin 1958, Kollmorgen remained the preeminent designer and supplier ofsubmarine periscopes to the U.S. Navy. Dr. Friedrich Kollmorgen’s twotelescope design established the standard for periscopes into the modernday.What inspired Dr. Kollmorgen to rise above the challenges before himto create a better life for himself, his family, and the world around him?Was he compelled by Thomas Edison’s words, “Vision without execution ishallucination.” Or, was he fascinated with one of the major and necessaryfigures in his life the sea?Friedrich Ludwig Georg Kollmorgan (genealogy records use the a) wasborn in Stettin, Pommern, Prussia, Germany on September 16, 1871. Situatedon the southern Baltic Coast, the maritime province of Pomerania, orPommern, translates from Slavic to mean Land at the Sea. The seventh ofnine children, Friedrich’s parents buried two of their children before he waseven born. In 1875, they buried two more.The Stettin area was impacted by the Industrial Revolution, causing manyPomeranians to emigrate, primarily to Berlin. This included the Kollmorgenfamily. They were living in Berlin in 1879 when Friedrich’s father died at4

Dr. Friedrich KollmorgenDr. Kollmorgen’s Workbook5

The Founder, Chapter Ithe age of 43. The personal and political turmoilFriedrich and his family endured was certain tohave influenced his desire to travel, navigateoceans, and design solutions to help influenceworld peace.He married an English woman, Agnes ElizabethHunt, in Italy in April of 1896. The couple movedto Perlin, Ritteramt Wittenburg, Germany in 1900,then to London. Their first child, a son namedErnest Otto, was born in 1901 in Vienna, Austria.In the 1900s, the number and comfort ofocean liners increased substantially, makingtransatlantic passageways affordable. This madeit possible for Friedrich to depart from Liverpool,England to start a new life for his family inAmerica. He arrived in New York City on October4, 1905. Friedrich and Agnes would travel backand forth across the ocean until the entire familycould be together. Ernest Otto arrived in New Yorkin November 1907, daughter Hildegard was bornin Austria in 1903 and arrived in the states in 1910.Three-month-old Dorthea arrived in November of1914.A strong German-American National Alliance,originally founded in Philadelphia during the19th century, warmly welcomed Friedrich uponhis arrival in the new country. In fact, between1820 and 1870, over seven and a half millionWilhelm J. D. Keuffel and Herman EsserK&E Transit Scope6

German immigrants came to the United States –more than doubling the entire population of thecountry. Pushed out of Europe due to shortagesof land and religious or political oppression, manyarrived seeking freedom, others for economicopportunities greater than those in Europe, andstill others for the chance to start fresh in theNew World.Two other German émigrés, Wilhelm J. D.Keuffel and Herman Esser, who were activewithin New York’s German-American community,started The Keuffel & Esser Co., the first Americancompany solely devoted to drawing and draftingmaterials in 1867. The firm was successfuland continually expanded, tentatively startingmanufacture in 1870, opening a retail store in1872, moving to 127 Fulton Street in 1878, andconstructing a factory in Hoboken, N.J., in 188081. In fact, the Fulton Street building, whichremained in use by Keuffel & Esser for nearlyseven decades, is one of the best preserved anddistinguished of the smaller late-19th-centuryoffice buildings in lower Manhattan today.Friedrich’s optic skills proved to be a nice fit forthe firm.In 1911, Friedrich proposed the introduction oftwo telescopes into the periscope, instead of aseries of lenses or prisms. Eliminating the need“ In fact, theFulton Streetbuilding, whichremained in useby Keuffel &Esser for nearlyseven decades,is one of the bestpreserved anddistinguishedof the smallerlate-19thcentury officebuildings inlower Manhattantoday.”Photo credit Google Maps7

The Founder, Chapter Ifor prisms at the opening, or a series of lensesthroughout. The new periscope could be builtat a variety of lengths and the opening abovethe surface could be much smaller and moreinconspicuous. This resulted in his first U.S.periscope patent.By 1916, with World War I looming, the U.S.Navy asked Keuffel & Esser to design and buildperiscopes for the U.S. submarine fleet, but thecompany declined the offer. Friedrich saw a clearopportunity to attack an emerging market. Heused his knowledge and imported French opticalglass to develop the best periscope optical setsin the United States. He partnered with severalprinciples from Eastern Optical Company andstarted his own company building periscopesdestined for the K Class submarines. Theirfirst contract was from the U.S. Navy for twoperiscopes.According to reference material from BuildingAmerican Submarines, 1914–1940, by Weir andAllard, “The magnitude of wartime demand andscarcity of qualified contractors presented aperpetual problem.” In essence, only Kollmorgen,Keuffel & Esser, and Bausch & Lomb had thetechnical competence to build periscopeoptics. The U.S. Navy placed a request for bidfor periscopes for the S-18 through S-41 build.Bausch & Lomb decided to no-bid due to limitedcapacity and other obligations. This left onlyKollmorgen and Keuffel & Esser, who were latecomers to the periscope market. “Although theKeuffel & Esser price fell 92,400 below that ofKollmorgen, the latter could produce instrumentsof much higher quality,” cites Weir and Allard.8Lowering periscopes to East 32ndStreet, Manhattan, in front of theKollmorgen plant in 1916.

Kollmorgen Optical Corp. was incorporated inNew York on March 22, 1916. The large demandfor periscopes and other optical instrumentscontinued as World War I raged on, forcing thecompany to move into a larger facility in Brooklyn.Soon after the war ended, Navy requirementsfor periscopes and sighting instruments droppedsharply. Friedrich, an expert of optics, beganlooking for opportunities in other markets. Filmswere really starting to blossom at the start of the20s. In the U.S., film was being produced in ornear Hollywood, California, in New Jersey, and inAstoria on Long Island (Paramount).By the mid-1920s, movies were big businessand Friedrich was able to engage with severalfilmmakers. By the end of the decade, therewere 20 Hollywood studios, and the demand forfilms was greater than ever. In fact, according tothe American Movie Classics (AMC) Company,the greatest output of feature films in the U.S.occurred during the 1920s and 1930s, averagingabout 800 film releases in a year. This turned outto be the “bee’s knees” for Kollmorgen, with manystudios in high demand for quality projectionlenses.“Friedrich saw aclear opportunityto attack anemerging market.He used hisknowledge andimported Frenchoptical glass todevelop the bestperiscope opticalsets in the UnitedStates.”U. S. Submarine “K-8” at restDecember 1, 19149

The Founder, Chapter IThen the downturn of the Great Depression hitand, by 1933, some 13 to 15 million Americanswere unemployed and nearly half of the country’sbanks had failed. Ever resourceful, Kollmorgentook rejected lenses and turned them intoashtrays to keep his machines running and ahandful of people employed. It would take U.S.engagement in World War II for the economy andAmerican industry to kick back into high gear –and when it did, government-funded developmentwork ramped up quickly at Kollmorgen, withorders for driftmeters, bombsights, andsophisticated navigation instruments, as well assubmarine periscopes.Kollmorgen also designed the first opticalinstruments using anti-reflective coating onlenses and was granted a U.S. patent in 1941for making dies for molding contact lenses.According to historians, the idea behind contactlenses dates all the way back to Leonardo daVinci. The Smithsonian notes, “in a 1509 manual,da Vinci wrote that he could alter his vision bysticking his face in a bowl of water.” During thenext few centuries, inventors sketched ideas suchas “tubes held snug to the eyelids” and “capsulesfilled with animal jelly,” but the contact lenswasn’t actually manufactured until 1887.A proud day for Kollmorgenworkmen, as they pose with theirfirst American-made periscope.Photo credit or caption10

In the 1930s, prior to Dr. Kollmorgen’s invention,contact lenses were made by molding a plasticmass, with “readily hardening character,” directlyto the eyeball. This process was expensive andresulted in a cast that could only be used once.The lenses also rested on the sensitive parts ofthe eye, including the cornea and limbus, makingthem uncomfortable. Dr. Kollmorgen’s inventionsimplified and improved the die-making process,which brought down the costs and made the moldre-usable for future duplication. It also reducedwearer discomfort by avoiding putting pressureon the sensitive parts of the eye.In 1940, submarine operators realized themajor threat aircraft posed to submarines andconvinced the Bureau of Ships to develop a newtype of periscope that eventually became the“needle nose” Type 1 attack design. Kollmorgenoffered a modified Type 1 periscope, dubbedthe Type 2, that featured a tube tapered at itshead which reduced the surface wake. The Type2’s field-of-view extended to 90.5 degrees ofelevation, allowing the attack periscope to coverthe entire sky, and it became known for superboptics and minimal wake. Although design tweakswould be made to enhance its depth, optics,and photo capabilities throughout the next fewdecades, the Type 2 periscope design remaineda valuable asset into the 1990s. Another majorinnovation during this period was the advent ofquality periscope photography.“Precision” brazingsystems for the Norden bombsight and alsodesigned and built remote viewing devices for the“Manhattan Project.”When the war was over, business was thriving,and in 1946, Friedrich’s son, Otto, was readyto take over as President of the company at 45years old. In 1951, the company moved fromBrooklyn, NY to North Hampton, MA. The fatherand son survived two World Wars and the GreatDepression by focusing on their core talents inoptics. They shifted with changing markets andcame through the turmoil as a strong business.The company grew rapidly from just over 60employees to more than 600 in a span of just fiveyears. Kollmorgen collaborated on the optical11

Kollmorgen designed the firstoptical instruments usinganti-reflective coating onlenses and also made the firstcontact lenses in the U.S.12

Both Presidents DwightEisenhower and John Kennedyadmire the Kollmorgenperiscopes of the day.13

Hugo & Otto, Chapter IIand became a part of the German community inNew York City. Hugo was able to finish high schooland pay for two years of college while workingas a repairman at an X-Ray company. He rentedan apartment in Queens with his cousin, WalterRothman.He began to find his niche manufacturingvarious motors at Arnesen Electrical Company outof New York. Hugo was quite successful and asWWII pushed Arnesen to expand, Hugo becamepresident of a subsidiary plant that manufacturedaircraft motor generator sets in New Jersey(Ellacraft). He would move with his family to theborough of Harrington Park in New Jersey.Hugo UnruhWhile Kollmorgen Optical Company continuedto grow, another immigrant, Hugo Unruh, wasgrowing up under the harsh conditions of postWWI Germany. Born in Dresden, Germany, in 1905,Hugo’s family wished for him a better life andmore opportunities. His parents knew he had bigdreams and loved to experiment. When he was ayoung boy, he was always busy building things,including paper airplanes. In one experiment, hedipped cotton balls in alcohol and mounted themto the front of his airplane. He then lit the cottonball and sent it soaring out his window, where itlanded on the neighbor’s roof and started a fire!The conditions in Germany were so difficult thatHugo’s family encouraged him to emigrate to theUnited States, despite the fact that he needed tofinish his education. He arrived in America in 192414After the war, business dropped sharply, forcingthe closing of the New Jersey plant. Hugo waspulled back into the parent company as a generalmanager. Soon thereafter, the original ownerdied and disagreements with the new owners leftHugo unemployed at the age of 42. Though his networth was approximately 4000, it was alwaysHugo’s dream to have his own business and hequickly saw an opportunity to purchase the usedequipment and material from the remnants ofEllacraft to start his own company. He formed apartnership with Lewis Renaldi and the two menpooled their money to begin this new businessventure.The name “Inland Motor” derived from Hugomoving from being close to the ocean, living inLong Island in Queens, New York when he arrivedin the U.S. and working close to the New Yorkharbor for many years, and now his new companywas landlocked “inland.”

The duo’s one big problem was finding anavailable facility, so in 1948, Inland Motor startedoperations out of Hugo and Lewis’ basements,garages, and even the kitchens. Hugo’s wifewound the first armatures and baked theirinsulation in the kitchen stove. The company’sfirst employee, Tom Bain, described conditions as“quite crude.”Fortunately for the Unruh and Renaldi families,Inland Motor grew quickly, forcing production tomove to an expanded garage in Pearl River, NewYork in 1949. Operating on a shoestring budgetwith no room for financial error, Hugo sharpenedhis already considerable skill at estimatingproduction costs for specialty motors. Decadeslater, Hugo would be remembered posthumouslyas the best estimator in the business.In his past job, Hugo had built generators andgyro spin motors for the MIT InstrumentationLaboratory. The laboratory continued to rely onHugo at Inland, calling on his services to helpaddress special rotating machine problems,such as those encountered in the early inertialguidance systems for missiles and spacevehicles. The gimbal drives on these systemsrequired an entirely new kind of motor. This ledto the first “frameless torquers” designed byHugo. The first stellar inertial navigation systemdeveloped by Dr. Charles Stark Draper, withInland torque motors inside, are on display at theSmithsonian today. These revolutionary framelesstorquers, would, in time, be available in hundredsof different shapes and sizes and become thefastest growing, most important part of Inland’sbusiness. In fact, by 1957, sales of framelessHugo designed the first“frameless torquers” usedon early intertial guidancesystems for missiles and spacevehicles.15

Hugo & Otto, Chapter IItorquers had increased and the Pearl River shopwas bursting at the seams with 60 employees.Hugo and Lewis began to search even fartherinland in hopes of reducing their operating coststhrough lower interest rates, building costs, anda facility able to accommodate the expandingbusiness.Although many cities offered to build a plant,Hugo was attracted to the city of Radford, Virginia.According to historical sources, Radford, or atleast the train station area, was called CentralDepot because of its central location halfwaybetween Lynchburg and Bristol, Virginia of theoriginal railroad, the Virginia and TennesseeRailroad (later the Norfolk and Western Railway).In addition to the railroad, Radford offered goodhighway connections and several trucking lines.Two area colleges would also provide a goodsource for technical people. Best of all, spacewas readily available – a city-owned buildingformerly occupied by Century Ribbon Mills.An article in the Radford News Journal reportedthe completion of the agreement between cityofficials and Lewis P. Renaldi, vice-president,secretary, and treasurer of Inland MotorCorporation on August 8, 1958. While legend hasit that Hugo was able to secure the lease forthe vacant mill at a rate of 1 a year, the initialcontract was actually for an annual rental of 7000, with an option to purchase the buildingPHOTO1950’s Inland Motor building inPearl River, NY. The building isstill standing and in use today.16

at the end of the lease. Hugo Unruh was in townthe week prior to meet with Councilmen, RadfordChamber-of-Commerce representatives, the StateChamber, industrial development director and anAppalachian Power Co. official.On November 1, 1958, an advance party of sixemployees from the Pearl River plant, includingHugo, set up shop on 501 First Street.During the period of 1948 to 1960, Inland Motoraccomplished more than a dozen “firsts” in theindustry. They ranged from direct drive DC torquemotors and movie theatre projection motors tosubmarine periscope drive motors, electric drives,and Curtis Wright electric brake coils.E. Otto KollmorgenDespite their success, Hugo thought the newRadford facility was too large for their needs.Little did he know that in just four years, thecompany would need all of the building’s space,plus even more for administrative offices. By theend of 1960, all of Inland Motor was in Radford.Inland Motor began to build torquers forperiscopes and Kollmorgen was one of theirbest customers. Otto Kollmorgen, who was nowpresident of the company, and Hugo had formeda nice friendship. A chief engineer at Kollmorgen,Herb Torberg, recalls, “In the late 1950s,Kollmorgen was very busy updating submarineperiscope feature capabilities. As submarinesbegan to delve deeper, faster, the periscope’s17

Hugo & Otto, Chapter IIPhoto taken with 1990’s eraType 8B PeriscopeWWII Periscope photorole greatly expanded to include capturingclearer photographs, sextant navigation, passiveelectronic countermeasure, and easier turningfor the operator. The company had three separatecont

The History of Kollmorgen 1916–2016 100 Years of Innovation. 2 Dear Kollmorgen Associates, 2016 marks Kollmorgen’s 100th anniversary. With . Lowering periscopes to East 32nd Street, Manhattan, in front o

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