Standing on the shoulders of giants - Ponders End Middlesex

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martinw
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Standing on the shoulders of giants - Ponders End Middlesex

Post by martinw » Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:38 am

I've been on a journey, a bit of a cliche, but I have :P

I'm an electronic engineer by trade and am currently working on an app. (I'm still not sure about the name app.) that I'm developing on my Android tablet using Bluetooth Low Energy communication.
IMG_7336.JPG
I started collecting old electronic "stuff" in a similar way to the way someone looks into their ancestral past (starting with Acorn computers (which I'd used in my past)), looking for key "things" that led us to where we are today, a bit of a historical study if you like.

I have finally (after a considerable amount of time and money (mostly spent on EBay)) come to a bit of a conclusion, Ponders End in Middlesex is a key place in the story of "electronics".

For those of you who don't know a gentleman from the North of England (from roughly where I originate (roughly :))) called Swan invented the "modern day" incandescent bulb and started mass production here ...
IMG_7334.JPG
Another gentleman called Fleming invented the first ever diode here, in what looked to all intents and purposes like a bulb with an extra filament in it!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fleming_valve

I realised the significance of this when I bought some really early valves from the start of the 1900s with "pip" tops that looked just like really early bulbs.
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An American gentleman called Lee de Forest put two diodes together (roughly) to create a valve, but fleming called his invention a valve first because it acted like a valve in the heart, allowing flow only one way. He didn't like the word diode and de Forest didn't like the word valve.

So my journey of collecting all this stuff (I have a lot of old calculators and computers (as many of the pople on here do) too) has led me here.
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It also occurred to me the first diode (like the Western Electric one I have) came before the first transistors in a similar way.

Swan and Fleming were some of the original giants (of course there are some before and a lot more afterwards) that I stand on the shoulders of today while I work and earn a living, as I'm sure a lot of us do, if only they knew what they had started, they would NOT have believed it, Android apps. on tablets, mobile phones with 7nm ICs in them, neural networks, A.I. etc!

The reverse of the Ponders End photo/post card also has some interesting text written on it.
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It's from 1909 and sounds like a young man has sent it to his mother referring to his father and buying some bulbs etc.

There was a gentleman called Joseph (it seems like everybody was called Joseph back then) Lobley at about that time who designed a theatre in Stoke on Trent.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_ ... e-on-Trent

I know they were trying to get away from gas lamps in theatres and I was thinking it could have been for this ... or maybe his house if he was a rich man, I suppose.

The journey continues, as all good journeys do :)

Maybe I should have been a historian instead of an electronic engineer?

Maybe not :)

Just thought I'd share ... lest we forget!

What's next!!!!!!

Martin
Last edited by martinw on Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:59 pm, edited 9 times in total.

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Re: Standing on the shoulders of giants - Ponders End Middlesex

Post by martinw » Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:56 am

Jackpot :D

w. l. a. g. l.

Is probably With Love Alfred G Lobley (aged 21 years).
Alfred G Lobley.jpg
Martin

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Re: Standing on the shoulders of giants - Ponders End Middlesex

Post by martinw » Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:27 pm

I think I've just realised he's (Alfred) actually working at Ponders End ... talking about the lab, dinner hour and discounts, and why would you send a postcard ... excellent =D>

Martin

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Re: Standing on the shoulders of giants - Ponders End Middlesex

Post by tricky » Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:36 pm

Beautiful collection, wonderful history. =D>

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Re: Standing on the shoulders of giants - Ponders End Middlesex

Post by martinw » Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:42 pm

tricky wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:36 pm
Beautiful collection, wonderful history. =D>
Cheers Tricky :D

Martin

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Re: Standing on the shoulders of giants - Ponders End Middlesex

Post by Coeus » Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:35 pm

Interesting collection and story. It reminds me of the story in the the thread "Thermionic Valve" about the wartime, Phillips and Mullard. It was clearly no accident that a large manufacturer of lamp bulbs ended up making radio valves too.

The "standing on the shoulders of giants" concept is very important to get across to children when they say "People in the past must have been stupid - how could they not know..." Very few breakthroughs come out of the blue. Look before many and there is something similar but not quite ready. There is a lot more evolution than revolution and based on the work of those who went before.

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Re: Standing on the shoulders of giants - Ponders End Middlesex

Post by 1024MAK » Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:23 pm

Hi Martin

Funny that your picture shows a ZX Spectrum box on the top shelf. As the term "Shoulder of Giants" reminds me of Geoff Wearmouth's ZX-81 "Shoulder of Giants" ROM.

This is a customized ZX81 ROM variant by Geoff Wearmouth for the Sinclair ZX81 which uses space-saving techniques to make way for Newton's square root calculation, improved decimal number input and consistent output to the screen and printer of floating point numbers.

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20150501015 ... .uk/sg.htm

Mark

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Re: Standing on the shoulders of giants - Ponders End Middlesex

Post by 1024MAK » Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:45 pm

Coeus wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:35 pm
Interesting collection and story. It reminds me of the story in the the thread "Thermionic Valve" about the wartime, Phillips and Mullard. It was clearly no accident that a large manufacturer of lamp bulbs ended up making radio valves too.

The "standing on the shoulders of giants" concept is very important to get across to children when they say "People in the past must have been stupid - how could they not know..." Very few breakthroughs come out of the blue. Look before many and there is something similar but not quite ready. There is a lot more evolution than revolution and based on the work of those who went before.
Yep, there has been hell of a lot of development of electrical and electronic systems and technology over the last 140 years.

For example:
wrote:The first street to be lit by an incandescent lightbulb was Mosley Street, in Newcastle upon Tyne. The street was lit by Joseph Swan's incandescent lamp on 3 February 1879.
Integrated circuits were developed during the 1950s, but it was some time before practical mass production became possible.

Heck, as we know here, even in 1981, large amounts of RAM was bulky and very expensive (and that was for 64K bytes). [I'm assuming that some of you have seen photos of "high capacity" RAM cards built out of rows and rows of 16K x 1 bit DRAM chips...]

And of course, before powerful "personal" computers became available, development had to mostly be documented on paper. None of this fancy development environments with auto this and auto that...

But it always appears to be fairly common that a lot of the younger generation (and to be fair, a lot of the older generation) take modern technology for granted. How many people think about the work required to power, make, broadcast and transmit a television news programme?

I always find it amusing to overhear peoples conversations when there is a power cut. These days, it appears that the world stops when the power goes out.

Mark

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Re: Standing on the shoulders of giants - Ponders End Middlesex

Post by martinw » Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:48 pm

Coeus wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:35 pm
Interesting collection and story. It reminds me of the story in the the thread "Thermionic Valve" about the wartime, Phillips and Mullard. It was clearly no accident that a large manufacturer of lamp bulbs ended up making radio valves too.

The "standing on the shoulders of giants" concept is very important to get across to children when they say "People in the past must have been stupid - how could they not know..." Very few breakthroughs come out of the blue. Look before many and there is something similar but not quite ready. There is a lot more evolution than revolution and based on the work of those who went before.
I agree completely, evolution is key, and if you do it right the rewards can be considerable ... here’s my latest reward for my 50th year on the planet!
40CB67D3-BDA2-41D7-92FF-518FD7D8219A.jpeg
If you’re adding enough value you can definitely make ends meet :lol:

Martin
Last edited by martinw on Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Standing on the shoulders of giants - Ponders End Middlesex

Post by martinw » Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:53 pm

1024MAK wrote:
Fri Sep 14, 2018 7:23 pm
Hi Martin

Funny that your picture shows a ZX Spectrum box on the top shelf. As the term "Shoulder of Giants" reminds me of Geoff Wearmouth's ZX-81 "Shoulder of Giants" ROM.

This is a customized ZX81 ROM variant by Geoff Wearmouth for the Sinclair ZX81 which uses space-saving techniques to make way for Newton's square root calculation, improved decimal number input and consistent output to the screen and printer of floating point numbers.

Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20150501015 ... .uk/sg.htm

Mark
Hi Mark,

That’s interesting, I love the phrase.

I can’t believe what I’m able to achieve (on the back of other people’s work).

The internet has accelerated my achievements too.

Kids don’t know how good they’ve got it.

Martin
Last edited by martinw on Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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