Re: {Collins} S-Line styling Question for Collins Historians

After reading the excellent book, "A Pictorial History of Collins Amateur Radio Equipment" by Jay Miller, KK5IM, I would have to say that the S line styling was a direct result of Gene Senti's original development of the first mobile SSB rig, the KWM-1 in 1956. The KWM-1 was "boxy" with squared corners and a plain gray faceplate but yet the enclosure was compact. It had to be since it was designed as a mobile rig. According to the book Collins engineer Ernie Pappenfus was in overall charge of Collins' SSB development which itself was also a direct result of the success of the KWM-1. Gene Senti was the lead for groups organized just for amateur products. One of these groups, which included members of the KWM-1 development team, then began to create the next generation of amateur equipment....a transmitter and receiver which were the offspring of KWM-1 technology and resulted in the first S line, the 75S-1 and 32S-1 in 1958. The book does not mention a single person in this group responsible for the updated stying of the S line so it was most likely a "team effort." The new rigs orginally had plain gray face plates but Art wanted something more luxourious and rich looking. He brought in his Leica (some know it as a Hasselblad) camera and had the model shop etch the leather grain pattern of the camera onto a thin aluminum sheet for the faceplates of the engineering models of the rigs. What a brilliant idea. To me, along with the rounded compact enclosures, this really sets off the S line gear. The compactness of S lines when introduced in 1958 can also be attributed to the compact enclosure of the KWM-1. In short, the whole process was just a matter of evolution. Jay's book is a joy to read and has many, many excellent pictures with some really good close-ups of various Collins equipment. I think the book is now out of print but if you can latch onto one, by all means do so.

73 to all

Don  K8KSM  AC08-12219
Columbus Ohio

----- Original Message ----- From: "Chris Codella, W2PA" <w2pa@xxxxxxxx>
To: <collins@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Sunday, June 26, 2011 12:37
Subject: Re: {Collins} S-Line Question for Collins Historians

I have to agree with you, Bob. Aside from the S/Line's technical merits, it's always been one of my favorite designs, visually. I don't know who was responsible either, but it set the tone for many rigs that followed the trend to a smaller sizes.

In fact, it's interesting to take a look at the Collins ads from the early 1960s because some of them emphasized the S/Line's visual aesthetics (check them out on WA3KEY's site here: My favorite is the one originally published in February 1962 QST showing a smiling, approving XYL, apparently thrilled that days of the big, heavy, black boxes were over ( The S/Line is "stylish and blends with the decor of any room," says the ad. I'm dubious, however, about how many XYLs actually allowed the ham shack to be set up in the family room (unless, of course, they too were hams).

Chris, W2PA

On 6/23/2011 7:41 PM, W3YY wrote:
Who can we thank for the physical design of the S-Line?  Since it's
introduction, I've found it to be the most attractive and inviting piece of
amateur radio equipment I've ever seen.

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