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

----- Original Message ----- From: "Don Fuhr" <k8ksm@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: "Collins Reflector" <collins@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Sunday, June 26, 2011 6:44 PM
Subject: 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

I don;t have any S-line stuff to look at but do have two ancient Leicas. These are IIIC versions, probably just post war. The covering is slightly different on the two. I am pretty sure the covering is the original grained rubber. Leica did not use leather. One has a sort of pebbled surface, which is what I remember the S-line has, the other has more of a brushed look (I can't think of the right word to describe it). I have not had a Hassy in my hands for a long time and don't remember what the surface of the covering looks like. I think its pebbled leather similar to that used on Rolleiflexes. That also resembles the S-line finish. The pebbled surface gives the panels some visual richness but is also probably more resistant to certain kinds of damage. My favorite panel finish is the genuine crackle used by General Radio for decades. This is a complicated finish to produce needing at least two coatings and baking.

Richard Knoppow
Los Angeles

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