ELCAN Texas Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Source: ELCAN Optical Technologies

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January 1, 2007 marked the 50th anniversary of ELCAN's operations in Texas. On that day in 1957, the WIlliam I. Mann Company of Monrovia, California, which had been purchased by Texas Instruments in 1956, officially became the TI Optics Division. In honor of the occasion, several of the early employees were present at the 50th Anniversary party on December 9th, 2006. In attendance was John Bealle, an original Mann employee who moved with the business from California in 1957. Bill Wilson, TI optics engineer and manager from 1965 through 1978, and Charlie Anderson and Leon Zellars, employees who joined the organization in the 1960's, were also in attendance.

In May of 1957, TI published a special edition of the Texins newsletter dedicated to the new division. Shown here is the core group of opticians that gave the company talent and experience right from the start. Many of them remained with the organization for the rest of their careers. In the 1957 newsletter, a recent meeting in Monrovia with the group of German opticians from Leitz in Wetzlar was described. This marked the first meeting of what eventually became ELCAN Canada and ELCAN Texas.

The TI Lemmon Avenue Plant in Dallas was the home of the Optics Division until 1982. By this time, the organization was purely internally focused. The main products were lenses and prisms for military products including Shrike, Paveway, TOW and TTS; and NASA programs such as Viking, Mariner and Voyager. Shown here is a block of prisms being inspected by Sherman Bible, and bell jar coaters being operated by Doyle Beach.

Production for Common Modular FLIR products grew rapidly in the early 1980's. The Optics Manufacturing department tripled in size. Operations were moved to the new TI Forest Lane Plant in 1982. An additional shop was set up in Colorado Springs for visible optics work. The TTS Tank Thermal Sight, TOW Missile and Common Modular Airborne FLIRs were the main products in the initial years at Forest Lane. The TI Optics Manufacturing organization was an early pioneer in Diamond Point Turning, which grew rapidly during the Forest Lane years. Some of the parts of what was to become ELCAN were located in other TI buildings at that time, including the S/C Building and North Building at the Expressway site, and operations at the McKinney and Spring Creek sites. These operations included optical system design, optical material, components and systems research and development as well as the Digital Display business.

The diverse groups reorganized into a single business entity, which it had not been since 1970. Production has evolved from mainly components to include assemblies and complete systems. An increasing volume of our own branded products such as DigitalHunter, SpecterIR, Phantom and Scorpion are expanding the brand into markets around the world.

With the acquisition of TI's defense businesses by Raytheon, the operations were consolidated into the present Richardson ELCAN site in 1998 - 1999.

SOURCE: ELCAN Optical Technologies