This advertisement for Helipot's new series 5200 potentiometer boasts of its toughness and durability, qualities apparently shared by an armored, medieval knight.
Potentiometers regulate the flow of electricity, like the volume dial on a radio. In 1940, Arnold O. Beckman was unsatisfied with dials on the market, so he designed his own helical potentiometers, or helipots, for use in his popular pH meter. The precision of this dial caught the eye of the MIT Radiation Laboratory’s secret radar project during World War II. Beckman redesigned the helipot to meet the needs of the United States military and set up a separate company, also called Helipot, to keep up with the demand for these knobs. In the 1950s, Helipot was reincorporated into Beckman Instruments as the Helipot Division and continued to make potentiometers and other electrical components for decades, those tiny dials becoming staples of the electronics manufacturing industry.
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Beckman Instruments. “This Pot's Tough and We Can Prove It!,” 1960–1969. Beckman Historical Collection, Box 49, Folder 28. Science History Institute. Philadelphia. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/fn106z75r.
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