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Elmer B Myers Biographical Information (Tyne 13/1/1950)

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Forum » Manufacturer's / brands history » MANUFACTURERS and TRADE NAMES (present in the museum) » Elmer B Myers Biographical Information (Tyne 13/1/1950)
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Biographical Information taken from Testimony of Myers in suit of Federal Trade Commission vs General Electric Co., et al. (Gerald F. J. Tyne 13th January 1950)

"Elmer B. Myers started in the wireless field in 1907 as an amateur and continued thus for about a year. In 1908 he entered the employ of Poulsen Wireless Telegraph and Telephone Company in San Francisco with whom he stayed for two years. He then went back east and engaged in "independant research  work"  in radiotelephony. In 1912 he entered the employ of de Forest at Highbridge, where he was engaged in tube development and manufacture. This continued until 1915 when he was sent to take charge of the "Pacific Coast Division" of the de Forest Company, in the introduction and installation of de Forest commercial apparatus on ships.

He left the de Forest Company in the fall of 1915 to engage in vacuum tube manufacture and development. This tube he called a "radiotron". One of his first sales was a batch of 12 tubes he sold to Mr. Elmer T. Cunningham of the Haller-Cunningham Company, makers and vendors of wireless apparatus, which was located on Market Street in San Francisco. This was Cunningham's first experience with a vacuum tube. Later O. B. Moorhead worked with Cunningham and continued to produce these tubes which Cunnungham sold under the name of 'Audiotron".

Myers worked with Cunningham for about seven months (see Note 1) and then, early in 1916 went back to work for de Forest, staying with him until early in 1918 (see Note 2). Then he left de Forest and was employed by the General Electric Company for vacuum tube work at the Harrison, N.J. plant. Leaving G.E., he worked for a year for the Western Electric Eng. Dept. at 463 West Street, where, to quote his testimony he did "organization work in the introduction of production and shrinkage methods in the manufacture of tubes for the Army and Navy."

Leaving the Western Electric Company in 1920, he became associated with the Radio Lamp Corporation of Verona, N.J. and a sister corporation the Radio Audion Company of 90 Oakland Avenue, Jersey City, N. J. (see Note 3). They were making to Myers design a tube which was advertised and sold as the "RAC-3 Audion". They had de Forest's agreement not to procecute them for infringement, hence advertisements stated that the tubes were being made under the de Forest patents. This was a sort of back door attempt of de Forest to grant a license, since he had sold an exclusive license to A. T. & T. They needed some sort of license since Myers was under injunction.

The RAC-3 was advertised on page 896 of the December 1920 "Science and Invention", on page 97 of theJuly 1921 issue of QST and on page 906 of the March 1922 issue of Radio News. These are the dates of the first appearance in the various periodicals.

RCA and A.T.&T prosecuted the Radio Audion Co. and succeeded in closing them up. Myers then went to Canada and set up the company "E. B. Myers, Ltd. , 251 Craig Street, Montreal". He claimed to have no financial interest in this company, other than royalty payments he received for permitting them to manufacture under "his Canadian patents". Myers tubes were advertised for sale by mail from canada. Such advertisements appeared in all through 1924 in "Popular Radio" and as late as the March 1925 issue. There were at least two types of such tubes designated as the "Dry Cell" type" and  "Universal" type, similar in appearance to the RAC-3 (it has now been established that there was a third type - a "Hi-Mu" -- on manufacturers literature found in 2009).

Note 1 - While making tubes for Cunningham, he was notified that he was infringing the de Forest    patents, hence he stopped and submitted to a personal injunction

Note 2 - While in the employ of de Forest in 1916, Myers broke into the Belmar station of the Marconi Co to secure evidence of Marconi infringement of de Forest patents. He obtained tubes which were in commercial use, and operator's log books showing use. He was arrested, indicted, tried and convicted. He was fined $150 and put on probation for a year.

Many of these tubes bore labels warning that they were sold for use only as amplifiers and oscillators, and should not be used as detectors. Apparently this was the result of legal action taken by RCA under the Fleming patent.

After the expiration of the de Forest and Fleming patents, the Canadian Company moved to Cleveland, Ohio - becoming the Myers Radio Tube Corporation, but Myers was no longer associated with them. This concern was sued by RCA for infringement, and by Myers (presumably for the use of his name). The company went bankrupt as a result of these suits.

After setting up E. B. Myers Ltd, Myers went to work as a development engineer with the Music Master Corp of Philadelphia where he stayed on until they discontinued business in 1926.

Concerning his later activities, I have no other information (Gerald F. J. Tyne)

Note 3 - Radio Audion Co. was a Delaware corporation, organized to make it necessary for RCA to sue in the Third Circuit Court, whereas Radio Lamp Corporation was a New York corporation, and could be sued under the Second District Court. Myers was "chief engineer" and William Pelzer was "Business Manager" of the Radio Audion Company."