It turns out that over the years, the Fusor.net forums have accumulated quite a bit of material that revisits the events that transpired at the ITT/Farnsworth laboratory in Fort Wayne, Indiana during the years when the Fusor was first introduced and developed (ca. 1959-1967).
That lab was located on Pontiac Street in Fort Wayne, so a search of the forums using just the word “Pontiac” delivers 40 results. Almost (?) all of these posts start with something Richard Hull shares from the investigations and interviews he conducted with the Farnsworth fusion team back in the early ‘aughts. I accompanied Richard on one of those expeditions in 2001 – the most pertinent results of those interviews (from my perspective, anyway) were included in my Farnsworth bio, The Boy Who Invented Television.
The full search results can be found here, and here are a few of the more choice threads:
- found this interesting info in the P.T Farnsworth patent section – interesting observations about the role of tritium in the Farnsworth’s labs biggest numbers, subsequent experiments at UofW of UofI, and the difficulty of using Tritium nowadays;
- Yet more Horrors in the fusion story – offers some accounts of the very first fusor construction and some discussion of the role of electron multipacting in the evolution of the fusor;
- ITT fusor team tid-bits…The team was marginally a team – details the bifurcation of the lab in the latter stages, between “the pit” crew and “the cave” crew.
- What we’re missing – wherein Richard debunks the “apocryphal” reports of “runaway, self-sustained” nuclear fusion in the Farnsworth labs.
- Gene Meeks – In Memorium – I call the device we build is the “Hirsch/Meeks Variation” of the Farnsworth fusor; Robert L. Hirsch is still very much among the living, but namesake Gene Meeks passed away in 2006. Richard posted a
That’s just a sample of what can be found by running a search for ‘Pontiac’ in the forums. If you’re relatively new here, it’s worth taking some time to drill through the links and hear some stories… it will give you a much better sense of the trail we are trying to follow, the footsteps we are trying to fill, and the legend that we’re trying to make sense of.