Oral history interview with Willis Humphreys

Oral history interview with Willis Humphreys

  • 2002-Mar-07

Willis Humphreys begins the interview by describing how he came to work at National Technical Laboratories [NTL] on 31 March 1938. Before joining NTL, Humphreys worked for a small company in Pasadena, California, but was laid off due to lack of work. He was referred to the position at NTL and began there lacing cables. The company was still quite small at the time; Humphreys could recall only about 15 employees working there. Humphreys had little day-to-day contact with the management of NTL, including Arnold O. Beckman and Howard Cary, but what contact he had was positive. Humphreys worked on the electronics for many of the company's instruments including the Helipot, Model R pH meter, and others and remained with the company during its moves to new facilities in South Pasadena, and then Irvine, California.

The need for instruments during World War II led to an increase in production and the development of new instruments. Although Humphreys was eligible for the draft, company executives helped him to get a deferment by arguing that he was doing work essential to the war effort. Humphreys remained with the company throughout his career. Although he did rise to supervisory positions, he surmises that he may have risen further if his interest in working hands-on with electronics had not distracted him from office politics. Humphreys concludes the interview by reflecting back on his career and the changes in electronics technology.

Interviewee
Interviewer
Place of interview
Format
Original file type PDF, MP3
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Extent
  • 26 pages
Language
Subject
Rights In Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted
Rights holder
  • Science History Institute
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Credit line
  • Courtesy of Science History Institute

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Cite as

Willis Humphreys, interviewed by David C. Brock in Fullerton, California on March 7, 2002. Philadelphia: Science History Institute, n.d. Oral History Transcript 0238. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/c821gk936.

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Transcript (Published Version)

The published version of the transcript may diverge from the interview audio due to edits to the transcript made by staff of the Center for Oral History, often at the request of the interviewee, during the transcript review process.

Complete Interview Audio File Web-quality download

3 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads