October 1957 Popular Electronics
Table of Contents
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles
published October 1954 - April 1985. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged.
Ribbon cable has been around and familiar to most of us for as long
as we can remember. The advent of personal computers in the 1980s
brought ribbon cable into the homes of millions of people in the
form of the interface to disk drives. In 1957, however, when this
news story appeared in Popular Electronics, ribbon cable, known
initially as "tape cable." was just being introduced to industry.
There was also a story on what might have been the first flat panel
display screen, the "Sylvatron," developed by Sylvania. Finally,
we have a report on bouncing radio signals off the moon for calibrating
newly commissioned satellite tracking stations, which, at the time
the story was written, was waiting for the world's first artificial
Sputnik I, to launch.
Getting the Picture
"Sylvatron," a system of producing images on flat panels, is
a development of Sylvania. It combines the principles of electroluminescence
and photoconductance in glass panels with control layers excited
by electrical or optical signals and a power source. Able to reproduce
moving pictures (above), and having the ability to store "tracks"
and moving pips, the system is expected to prove useful in air and
harbor traffic control.
A minor revolution in electronics design seems in the making
with the introduction of "Tape Cable," a new concept in current
carriers. Developed by Tape Cable Corp., Rochester, N. Y., it is
a ribbon-like, flexible film in which are imbedded flat, copper
conductors lying side by side. It comes packaged in roils of varying
widths, and can be dispensed like tape. The flat construction allows
simultaneous stripping of all conductors (left). Major labor savings
are seen since all conductors can be dip-soldered simultaneously
to a printed chassis or plug (left, with Elco connectors). The polyester
insulation is resistant to many chemicals and to boiling and freezing.
Flex strength is unusually high. The price is about the same as
that of ordinary cable but is expected to go down.
The Signal Corps' Diana moon radar antenna (above) is being used
to bounce signals off the moon in order to calibrate equipment in
the Minitrack stations which are being prepared to track the earth
satellite. Echoes are picked up at a Maryland station.
Posted April 3, 2014