[time-nuts] Interesting Patent

John Day johnday at wordsnimages.com
Tue May 16 15:33:58 EDT 2006

>Hmm... strange... these applications are no match for the Phantastron divider,
>which Frederic Calland Williams invented in 1941. It did 1/5, 1/6 or 1/10 with
>a triode and a diode if memory serves me right. My oldest HP counter is
>virtually loaded with it, and it has a nice trimmer in the back for trimming
>the power grid frequency division for 1/6 or 1/5 to get the 10 Hz reference
>counter. However, mine is the de luxe variant with builtin timebase 
>in the form
>of a 100 kHz crystal oscillator (whoa!) and then the phantastron is set for
>1/10 division and is preceeded with 4 phantastrons to divide down from 100 kHz
>in nice 1/10 steps. Naturally there is two more for the 1 Hz and 0.1 Hz
>frequencies being used for gating time, so that one has 0.1 s, 1 s and 10 s
>gating time. Needless to say, it works splendid still today!

So that was a 524A? I thought the 524A always came with the crystal oscillator.

My first counter was a 524B as I recall - the plug-in version of the 
524A. It still had the column of neons indicators, but I can recall 
if it had the meters at the top end. Eventually I got a 524C (or D?) 
and a selection of plug-ins. I had a couple of video amplifier 
plug-ins and ripped the guts out of one to put a 150MHz prescaler in 
there as I recall.

I was playing a lot with 10-12GHz at the time and I had a 540B 
transfer oscillator as well. That and the 851/8551B spectrum analyser 
ensured that I had a well warmed, and very noisy, lab.

Eventually I got a 5245L and a Dymec 2590B which was supplanted for 
my uses when I got the 5257 (I think it was, 18GHz transfer 
oscillator). A 431C and a 434A along with the 600 series monstrous 
klystron generators rounded out the lab..

It was truly wonderful when the 141T system, the 5345A and the 432C 
came along! Especially with the 8600 generators including of course 
the 8640B. Thanks for the reminiscences guys!


>Oh, my counter is so old that it doesn't have those novelties usually referred
>to as "Nixie-tubes". Oh no, we talk good old neon lamps lighting up for 0 to 9
>for each digit. You see how it counts as the numbers ripples. ;O)
>BTW, patent databases are wonderfull ways of learning the history, especially
>if one recalls that alot of things happend outside of the patent offices too.
>time-nuts mailing list
>time-nuts at febo.com

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