Re: {Collins} Serial # Range - 75S-3B SB1?

Building 407 here in Richardson was called "corporate headquarters" when I was employed by Collins starting in 1967.  It was also called "Camelot" for "King Arthur's palace"!  For a number of years Building 407 was the tallest structure in Richardson.  Of course, nowadays, you can't even see it from Collins Blvd!

Since Art moved to Dallas, and moved his main office to Richardson, the "brains" of the company was definitely in Texas.  Almost every day there were executives flying into Addison Airport from Cedar Rapids and Newport Beach, occasionally Toronto.  The corporate aircraft made 2 trips daily between Cedar Rapids and Addison and 2 per week from Newport Beach.   International sales and civil aviation sales were definitely moved to Dallas.

Again, according to the sales persons that I knew, the serial numbers were scrambled.  However, if, or not, they were "scrambled" that was 50 years ago. Both of the people who told me this are dead and there is no way that their information can be verified.  But, I knew both of them very well and I have no reason at all to even doubt their word.

As for the divisions having an "Art project", that was definitely true.  The "Art project" for the Process Division was "CCCS Marine", a.k.a. "the boat".  However, there were very little charges made to the EP.  An edict came down from Harry Passman to close every EP to which no charges had been made within a year and my secretary was the person chosen to close the EPs.  When it became known that "CCCS Marine" was no longer a valid EP the "you know what hit the fan".  Since my secretary was only following orders, she did not get in any trouble.  It would have been much easier just to open a new EP but Art did not want to "learn" a new number.  So, the old EP was reopened.

Art was a brilliant engineer and designer.  However, like many engineers, he was not that good a businessman.  Fortunately, he did have some very talented managers who brought the company good fortune.

An example of one of Art's misguided directions was when they were having problems in the CCCS buildings, 406 and 408.  Basically, the temperature kept going above the desired range and to try to keep the temperatures down in those buildings he ordered the chilled water to be diverted from Building 402 (where the chillers were located) and from Building 401.  Basically, this cut off the air conditioning to those buildings.  Unfortunately, this was during July and August and in Texas this means days of over 100 degrees!  Working conditions in 402 and 401 were unbearable.  My office was on the 2nd floor of 402!

Art Collins was a pioneer in the radio communications arena.  Collins Radio Company produced some of the finest radio communications equipment around (amateur, commercial, and military).  However, Art had his faults and in some ways these did hamper the company.  I only met him a few times during the period I worked for the company.  After he sold out to Rockwell International I did get to know him a little better.  I definitely respect his contributions to electronics.  But, I also recognize his faults.

Glen, K9STH


--- On Mon, 6/6/11, jim <jonesjames@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> From: jim <jonesjames@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Subject: Re: {Collins} Serial # Range - 75S-3B SB1?
> To: "Glen Zook" <gzook@xxxxxxxxx>, collins@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Date: Monday, June 6, 2011, 9:08 PM
> Had coffee with some engineers from
> the S-line era on Saturday; included was the project
> engineer for the 75S-1.  None of them were aware of any
> scrambling with regard to serial numbers.
> Assigning blocks of serial numbers to specific contracts
> and the many dash numbers could certainly have the
> appearance of "scrambling", but everyone involved that I
> have talked to, thinks everything was done sequentially.
> The Saturday crew thought that it would be unlikely Mr
> Collins would have made that sort of decision anyway; his
> son was closely involved with details related to the S-line
> and is credited with filling the holes vacated in the front
> panel with screws during the changeover from winged to round
> emblem.
> My concern is that this story paints Mr Collins and the
> company as a poorly managed operation.   I'm
> sure someone will point out the C-System "fiasco" as
> additional evidence that he was misguided.  The
> C-System proved to be very key to getting the company back
> on its feet after the Rockwell takeover, both from customer
> sales and internal manufacturing controls as well as
> providing the basis for lots of avionics innovation.
> The WSJ reference is typical of what the east coast
> establishment had to say about Collins;  they just
> could not believe that a startup out here in the corn fields
> of Iowa could  compete with the old established
> companies like RCA.  (Where are they
> now?)   I refer to area this as Silly Corn
> Valley.
> The old timers were also amused at the "new corporate
> headquarters" in Dallas.  None of there were aware that
> headquarters had ever moved from Cedar Rapids to
> Dallas.  It was well known that Mr. Collins liked the
> longer antenna building season in Dallas and there were
> rumors that he was considering making the move, but as far
> as we can tell, it never happened. Some of the systems
> groups were headquartered in Dallas, but Corporate remained
> here in Cedar Rapids.  There has always been
> competition between Dallas and Cedar for projects and
> funding, and it was not always friendly.
> Rockwell Collins thrives today because of Arthur Collins
> not in spite of him; many of the values and systems he
> introduced decades ago survive in some form.
> Jim, w0nkn

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