Early Television
Early Television
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John S. Vansant

Early Television

Electron Gun Encased in Plastic

The following is from Susan Vansant Bartz:

I have just read Mark Flomenhoft’s interesting account of his early work experience and Transvision. I was especially interested that he started out at Lansdale Tube Company in PA, as that is where my father also worked as an electronic engineer, from 1938 till 1968.  I suspect that my father knew Mark and may have even worked with him. 

I have no idea how my father originally got the job at Lansdale, but it’s interesting that he grew up in New Rochelle, where his father was a successful banker. I am wondering if Herb might even have been a family acquaintance!

My dad helped design and develop the “electron gun”, used in early TV tubes. I recently went through some of the items left in his estate (he died in 2002), and this was one prized item presented to him at one point in recognition of his work. This is now considered a family heirloom of considerable sentimental value.

My father was John S. Vansant, (1913-2002). He grew up in New Rochelle and loved sailing on the Sound, as it was so near his house. He went to Rensselaer where he was the first person to measure the speed of light in a laboratory (I have an old news article about this). He graduated with a degree in physics in 1936, married his high school sweetheart, and got the job at Lansdale. By the time he retired, Philco had been bought by Ford, and my dad was manager of the big new Lansdale plant that made the Philco color TV, called Magicolor. I don’t know what happened to that plant, as I had married by then and my parents moved to Maine a few years after he retired.

In my home we always had a television. My dad had great hopes for TV as a resource for learning, and fortunately there are still some stations where that is available. He would be astounded, and perhaps a little disconcerted, at the size of the huge screens and wall-to-wall entertainment centers that house the TV’s of today.