Author Topic: Western Electric Omaha Works medallion key chain  (Read 1616 times)

unbeldi

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Western Electric Omaha Works medallion key chain
« on: November 20, 2016, 04:29:07 PM »
Is there any knowledge on the Forum about the occasion for which WECo made these keychains for the Omaha Works ?

Construction for the Omaha Works started in 1956 in Southwest Omaha, Nebraska for the manufacture of cables, crossbar and PBX equipment, relays, and other central office parts. The works opened in 1958, passed through the various AT&T successors, and were finally closed a few years ago.

These key chains were clearly made after 1969, but other than that I have not found a reference to them.  There is a lot of material available for the Omaha plant, even union newspapers and such, including The Westerner, but the volume is simply too large to download and read it all in an evening, or 50.  I have checked however the years that might be suspects for major anniversaries.

I don't remember exactly where I got this from, but I recently rediscovered it with a key on it that I thought had got lost. I am sure I was thinking that such a key chain would be a safe place for keeping the key.

Western Electric is known for making similar key chains for other occasions.  For example, I have some that were issued for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the company in 1869.  It could be of course that this (1969) was the year these were made too.

« Last Edit: November 20, 2016, 06:46:48 PM by unbeldi »

Offline Babybearjs

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Re: Western Electric Omaha Works medallion key chain
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2016, 11:18:28 PM »
reminds me of something the employees got at Christmas. something to include with their bonuses....
John

Offline Jim Stettler

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Re: Western Electric Omaha Works medallion key chain
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2016, 09:56:58 AM »
 The center emblem reminds me of an early "fiber" emblem.  Did they produce fiber optic cable at the Omaha works?

Jim S.
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unbeldi

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Re: Western Electric Omaha Works medallion key chain
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2016, 11:30:21 AM »
The center emblem reminds me of an early "fiber" emblem.  Did they produce fiber optic cable at the Omaha works?

Jim S.

I have not found any evidence of that. The center of the medallion surely resembles some kind of cabling. Cabling was a major sector of manufactuing at Omaha, in addition to crossbar frames, and wire-spring relays.

Perhaps it is possible that some of the early manufacturing preparations were conducted there for fiber before the Atlanta Works were converted to produce fiber (around 1980?).  I think it was only in the mid 1970s, when they (at WECo) started experiments in optical transmission.

I had the joy of participating in an in-depth tour of the fiber plant in Atlanta in ca. 1988 or 89, so I know first hand that it was the designated place for fiber.  I believe they claimed that it was the largest fiber plant in the world at the time.

But since it appears that it was not a major product at Omaha, I wouldn't think it to be likely to have been emphasized on the medallion. On the other hand if it was connected with the development of fiber optics, it might state so on the medallion.  But perhaps this was a symbol of all cable operations, and in that case it might have been used at Atlanta as well.  I don't recall and I don't have any literature anymore from that event, unfortunately.

 

Offline AE_Collector

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Re: Western Electric Omaha Works medallion key chain
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2016, 12:22:15 PM »
I think it was only in the mid 1970s, when they (at WECo) started experiments in optical transmission.

Just to narrow this down a little more I would suspect that WECo experimentation must have been at least closer to the early part of the mid 70's (if that makes sense). I was working at our (BC Tel) "HEmlock" CO in Vancouver in early (March-April) 1979 when BC Tel's first fibre optic installation was turned up to see how it performed. It was CO trunking between HEmlock CO (SxS and a #1 EAX) in Vancouver and CYpress (SxS) CO a few miles North East in Burnaby.

Terry

Offline Jim Stettler

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Re: Western Electric Omaha Works medallion key chain
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2016, 12:54:34 PM »
You might try contacting this website and asking.

http://www.omahaworks.net/index.html

Jim S.
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unbeldi

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Re: Western Electric Omaha Works medallion key chain
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2016, 01:48:41 PM »
You might try contacting this website and asking.

http://www.omahaworks.net/index.html

Jim S.

Yes, I have thought of that possibility.  The site contains many documents and is the source of The Westerner.

Offline Jim Stettler

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Re: Western Electric Omaha Works medallion key chain
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2016, 02:05:32 PM »
I was thinking just email and ask.
JMO,
Jim S.
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unbeldi

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Re: Western Electric Omaha Works medallion key chain
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2016, 02:40:17 PM »
Just to narrow this down a little more I would suspect that WECo experimentation must have been at least closer to the early part of the mid 70's (if that makes sense). I was working at our (BC Tel) "HEmlock" CO in Vancouver in early (March-April) 1979 when BC Tel's first fibre optic installation was turned up to see how it performed. It was CO trunking between HEmlock CO (SxS and a #1 EAX) in Vancouver and CYpress (SxS) CO a few miles North East in Burnaby.

Terry

Quite possibly so.

Volume 2 (Facilities) of "Telecommunications Transmission Engineering" published in 1977, only briefly mentions optical transmission in the Section entitled "Digital Systems":

The flexibility that has been provided in the digital h ierarchy permits
future expansion to include higher transmission rates and a
number of other features. For example, an experimental coder-decoder
( codec ) has been developed to permit the translation from an analog
to digital (and digital to analog) format of 720 telephone channels.
This digital mastergroup signal is transmitted at the DS3 rate [ 1 ] .
The mastergroup and other broadband codecs will permit the efficient
use of new technology such as waveguide and optical fiber ( lightwave )
communications systems by providing economical means for interconnecting
these and existing analog systems.


"Engineering and Operations in the Bell System" (2n ed.) stated in 1983:

Compared with metallic Tl, the FT3 lightwave system employs a
smaller cable, requires no intermediate repeaters, and has- greater growth
capability. The FT3C system, introduced in 1983, operates at 90 Mbps
and provides twice the capacity of FT3 by transmitting two 44.7-Mbps
signals over the same fiber.


And finally, I am now looking at my copy of 'Transmission Technology (1925-1975)" of the series A History of Engineering and Science in the Bell System. It was first published in 1985.

- In 1970, Bell Labs first achieved continuous operation of a semiconductor laser at room temperature.
- In 1972, at Corning Glass, transmission losses as low as 4dB per kilometer were achieved with wavelength of ca. 1 µm.
- In 1974, at Bell Labs, a significant advance was the use of chemical vapor deposition to make tubular glass preforms.
- By the mid-1970s, fibers drawn from such preforms produced losses of 1 dB per kilometer.  By mid-1980s the losses had been
   reduced to 0.16 dB.

Ok, here is the apparent root of the effort, in chapter  5.5 The First Systems Work—The Atlanta Experiment.:

By 1974, personnel were transferred from research to the transmission systems area of Bell Laboratories, where they joined forces with engineers skilled in digital transmission systems, to investigate the characteristics and features required in commercial light-wave systems.
...
In 1974, planning began for a complete light-wave system experiment at the 45-megabit rate. ....   The experiment was implemented in late 1975 at the joint Western Electric-Bell Laboratories facility in Atlanta, Georgia, where the fiber and cable was made and underground ducts typical of those in metropolitan areas were available.
...

5.6 Post-1975
The success at Atlanta spurred further work....
... a successful trial of similar nature but with a smaller cable (24 fibers) was held in 1977 in the urban environment of downtown Chicago.



So, no mentioning of Omaha in all those developments.

« Last Edit: November 26, 2016, 02:43:06 PM by unbeldi »

Offline Jim Stettler

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Re: Western Electric Omaha Works medallion key chain
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2016, 06:47:31 PM »
The Lucent's "Bell Labs Innovations"  video show them laying fiber. it is @ 3:38
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFfdnFOiXUU&t=309s

Jim S.
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You die, you forget it all.

Offline AE_Collector

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Re: Western Electric Omaha Works medallion key chain
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2016, 07:07:01 PM »
I had started to say in my previous post that "we were never on the cutting edge of very much here" after saying that our first fibre CO trunking experiment was in early 1979 but then I decided not to say that. Probably because it wasn't all together fair to put it that way. GTE likely was behind the Bell System on almost everything but within GTE, BC Tel was GTE's largest single operating company and thus we likely got to be the first within GTE in many instances. We did the first field trial on AE Canada's first electronic CO, the "C1 EAX" in the late 1960's a couple of years or more before AE's #1EAX was ready for service.

If WECo's first real world fibre experiment was in Chicago in 1977, our first experiment in early 1979 wasn't too much "old news" by then.

Terry


unbeldi

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Re: Western Electric Omaha Works medallion key chain
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2016, 07:48:10 PM »
I had started to say in my previous post that "we were never on the cutting edge of very much here" after saying that our first fibre CO trunking experiment was in early 1979 but then I decided not to say that. Probably because it wasn't all together fair to put it that way. GTE likely was behind the Bell System on almost everything but within GTE, BC Tel was GTE's largest single operating company and thus we likely got to be the first within GTE in many instances. We did the first field trial on AE Canada's first electronic CO, the "C1 EAX" in the late 1960's a couple of years or more before AE's #1EAX was ready for service.

If WECo's first real world fibre experiment was in Chicago in 1977, our first experiment in early 1979 wasn't too much "old news" by then.

Terry

The fiber developments were very competitive and happened around the world. Only some key milestone came from Bell Labs. So it is entirely possibly that GTE did not have to rely on Bell technology to make that happen.   Do you know where the fiber came from ?

Offline AE_Collector

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Re: Western Electric Omaha Works medallion key chain
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2016, 09:53:17 PM »
No I haven't a clue but we did have quite a few cable manufacturers in Canada then but not certain if one if them geared up to produce the fibre or if it came from the US at the time. Could have been Nortel cable and electronics as well.

Terry

unbeldi

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Re: Western Electric Omaha Works medallion key chain
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2016, 07:49:20 AM »
No I haven't a clue but we did have quite a few cable manufacturers in Canada then but not certain if one if them geared up to produce the fibre or if it came from the US at the time. Could have been Nortel cable and electronics as well.

Terry

It probably could have come from several other places.  I believe the first prominent manufacturer in N.A. was Corning Glass.