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Lockport, Illinois

b. 1936

The coolest summer job in the universe

My job at Caterpillar in the summer of 1956 was a good experience. However, now that I was majoring in EE, I decided as the next summer approached that I should look for a job where Ohmís Law played a part. In those days the Hammond B3 was an extremely popular keyboard instrument and it was electric, so I applied to Hammond Organ for a summer job.

The Hammond Organ Company, located in Chicago, was close to home---well, not that close, as it turned out. So when I was hired for the summer, I had to figure out how to get there and back. The plant was located in the 2900 N. block of Western Avenue on the east side of the street, just south of the bridge over the Chicago River. Riverview Park was just north of that bridge on the west side of the street.

It was not easy. I took the train into Chicago, then the Milwaukee Avenue subway to Western Avenue where I hopped the northbound bus to the Hammond plant. In the evening I did it all in reverse.

Hereís what I remember about that summer:

 · Chief engineer John Hanert discussing over lunch the pros and cons of implementing stop tabs in addition to drawbars. Engineering, I think, was in favor. Marketing, however, wasnít so sure since they were used to promoting the Hammond drawbars.

 · Spending most of my time testing resistors (they're the "R" in the Ohm's Law equation: E = I*R). Iíd bake them and measure them again and again. The point was to determine quality and reliability. My supervisorís name was Bob White. I remember feeling that Hammond focused too much on making the organ a nickel cheaper and not enough on making it sound better. Itís funny how strong your opinions can be when youíre 21.

 · Being called into the next room to play a test organ while Mr. Hanert and Mr. Hammond wandered around the room listening. They were developing the next version of the spring reverb unit. It was pretty awesome to get to play for Mr. Hammond.

This was my last summer job. I spent the next summer (1958) working on Freddie Mitchell things, and the following summer, after graduating, I had a year-around job at Hughes Aircraft in Fullerton, California.