The Smell of the Rosin; The Roar of the Amplifier

A Fathers Day tribute at the intersection of personal and professional.

I read a HubSpot blog post called “How Do You Balance Personal and Professional on Social Media?”  I keep my personal and professional lives separated online by using Facebook for personal and LinkedIn and Twitter for professional as I’ve posted before.  But today’s post is at the intersection of personal and professional.

As Fathers Day approaches, I was thinking about my father’s contributions to my becoming an engineer.  My father was a blue collar, union guy.  He installed and maintained two-way radios in vehicles at the Ravenna Arsenal.  When radios were transitioning from tubes to transistors the company sent him to school to learn the new technology.  So when my curiosity about solid state devices was aroused, he drew and explained PNP and NPN transistors.  I was twelve.  My parents allowed me to order a series of science kits, probably from an ad in Popular Science.  Every month or so a new kit would arrive; they always built on earlier kits.  I most remember the electronics and optics kits.  The optics kits included prisms and lenses.  The lenses, being of uniform sizes could be assembled and reassembled in black cardboard tubes.  The electronics kits included parts for oscillators and amplifiers… using tubes of course.  My dad taught me how to solder the components properly: trim the leads, crimp them on the solder lugs, and heat the work not the solder.  The smell of rosin from rosin-core solder always reminds me of this lesson.  I learned so well that when he got the Allied Electronics amplifier kit (transistor-based) for our home stereo system, I was entrusted to do some of the assembly.  I’m proud to say it worked when we finished!

From there it was on to computers, but I already blogged about that.  (Be sure to click through to the ad to see a picture.)

Dedicated to my father: C. Glenn Henning Sr., 1920-2004