Category Archives: ETC Program News

Universe of Instrumention Unit 2 Production Begins

February marked the start of video production for part two of the Universe of Instrumentation – a program highlighting tools (instruments) used by electrical engineers.

Better measurement technology leads to better technology in general:

The Edison Tech Center’s learning program entitled Universe of Instrumentation was first started in 2015 with help from the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society. The program allows young people to learn about how we measure electricity, time, light energy and other basics.  These basics are the building blocks of all technology as better ways of measuring things leads to better technology. The program audience consists of tech-minded young people and features interviews with engineers as well as talks on historical instruments.

In alignment with the Edison Tech Center’s overall goal, the program promotes an understanding of the full continuum of electrical technology from the 1840s to today.

1940s oscilloscopes, 1980s computers (Atari) and 2020 cutting edge are joined to show the progression of measurement technology, and in Unit II we are focusing on time measurement.

Corporate and Government participation:

We’d like to thank the following corporations for allowing us access to experts in various fields:

  • Ball Aerospace
  • Seagate Technologies
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology

Time measurement in Unit II

For computers, phones, GPS and other technology we need to establish standards of timing. Whether its measuring wavelengths of star light or having computers communicate precise time measurement is needed. So where is the “clock” in your electronics? We examine a cross-section of devices and talk about how crystals, optics, mechanical devices, and atomic clocks keep time.

In unit one we covered how electricity is measured, and in unit two you will see how time measurement was combined with electric meters to make AC power possible.

Reaching our audience:

The Universe of Instrumentation project has reached over 95,000 people since we released unit one, now we look to expand our videos and written web content in unit two.

Universe of Instrumentation Course >

The Edison Tech Center Has Moved

The Edison Tech Center has moved to the Gazette building in Schenectady from its former location on North Broadway (2001-2019).

Online reach has exceeded our walk-in visitors since the online programs began in 2007. Our niche audience of just a few million  are spread out across the US and globe, so when it came time to scale down and keep overhead lower we moved to a location that is better suited for long-term operation. The Edison Tech Center and its tens of thousands of technological artifacts are still in use for video productions and research projects.

Gathering together technology from our archives to shoot the new Universe of Instrumentation videos in 2020.

Digital Reach of the Edison Tech Center

The organization as of February 2020 has over 71,000 video subscribers and 13 million views in the online video distribution network. Our two websites reach tens of thousands of students and engineers each month through more than 200 pages on technology history. Our main website EdisonTechCenter.org is undergoing updates so some information on our organization may be out of date.  EdisonTC.org is our news and blog page as well as home of certain programs such as the Universe of Instrumentation.

233+ videos online:

https://www.youtube.com/user/EdisonTechCenter/videos

See our articles by subject below:

AC Power History articles – the surprising history of the electric power grid and its many innovators >
Electric Light History Pages – the 13 major categories of electric light >
Universe of Instrumentation Program – on instruments used by engineers >

Edwin D. Reilly at the Edison Tech Center

“Edwin D. Reilly”

Edwin D. Reilly, a long serving Board Member of the Edison Tech Center, passed away on August 1st at the age of 87. While growing up in Troy, he often visited the General Electric Plant in Schenectady where his father was employed. It provided him with the opportunity to meet many pioneering scientists and engineers.

Ed Reilly
“Ed” has been a long standing board member at the Edison Tech Center and also an important leader at the Schenectady County Historical Society.

Ed was the 1950 class valedictorian at Troy’s Catholic Central High School. He continued as an ROTC member and graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. After starting his career at the General Electric R&D Center, he was called to active duty. He spent two years in Washington with the National Security Agency. It introduced him with the potential for computers. He returned to Schenectady to pioneer computing for nine years at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, while completing a PhD at Rensselaer. He joined the University at Albany in 1965 to establish the Computer Center and Chair the Computer Science Department. He co-edited “The Encyclopedia of Computer Science” and wrote text books.

Upon graduation from RPI, Ed had wed Jean, his childhood sweet heart. They would raise six children. Meanwhile he was elected the Niskayuna Town Supervisor. He served from 1970 to 1979 and again from 1989 to 1997. He oversaw the design and construction of the Niskayuna Town Hall. It has been posthumously renamed in his honor.

Ed was a frequent contributor to the Schenectady Daily Gazette with topics ranging from history, politics, industry, sports and science. Along with serving on the Board of the Edison Tech Center, Ed was President of the Schenectady County Historical Society. He served as a Trustee of the Schenectady County Library and was a leader within his church.

Edwin D. Reilly was truly a remarkable person and citizen. He was admired and will be missed by many.

Back to the Edison Tech Center blog

Carl Rosner Documentary now in HD

Eight years ago the Edison Tech Center premiered the award-winning documentary on engineer Carl H. Rosner at the Electric City Film Fest. Recently we have re-released the documentary in widescreen SD format for DVD and HD format online.

Ros-BuchBuild400pxlThis touching documentary features the life of entrepreneur and superconductor expert Carl Rosner as he survives wartime Germany, Buchenwald concentration camp and goes on to found a successful and innovative company which finds its niche in MRIs. This biography is part of the Wizards of Schenectady series and has renowned voice over artist Jack Aernecke take us through the story.

The newly released promo for the documentary below summarizes some of the story covered in this biography:

Carl Rosner documentary
The documentary features interviews with other great engineers like Pier Abetti, Howard Hart, Gary Morrow and more.

Mr. Rosner has been working with the Holocaust Friends and Survivors Education Center in Albany  to share his story again and again to  children and adults. This work is vital to preserving the memory and lessons learned from  the Holocaust and World War II. In addition to the story of  loss and deprivation is the story of hope and building a new life. Mr. Rosner has worked with some of the best engineers in superconducting technology history to create life-saving machines. The story of Intermagnetics General spinning off from General Electric is a great story as it was rare for a spin-off to survive and grow to become a power in industry.

If you live in the Albany-Schenectady region, we invite you to check out the Holocaust Survivors & Friends Education Center for film showings and other events. As the producer of the documentary and  a young person, I was moved by the experience of reviewing original films and testimony from the Holocaust. I believe that every young person from every ethnic background should learn about this history. Mr. Rosner’s documentary along with other films and presentations can help widen our horizon of understanding about  how hatred  can lead to genocide and the bravery of those who resisted and saved others.

Contact the Edison Tech Center to order DVDs of the documentary and full interviews between Ernie Tetrault and Mr. Rosner

Holocaust Survivors & Friends Education Center: 518-694-9984

Universe of Instrumentation Project Testing

The Edison Tech Center begins phase two of testing on the new Universe of Instrumentation project. We will be monitoring use over the next month to see how people are using the program and formulate how to improve it in the future.

In phase one of testing we published a few articles on Ammeters, Voltmeters, Oscilloscopes and other topics on our static site. We used our older long page format. In this current phase we broke content down into smaller chunks with a simple “previous” or “next” button so users can navigate through in the proper order.

Our mission is to tell the balanced story of innovation, and so naturally we’d like if users would progress from the most primitive technologies up to more recent devices. Even if many of our users are already engineers familiar with how the older technologies work, we usually provide unique information on back stories and the human side of the early devices. In the end each user finds a way to have our pages work for them, whether that is a quick look up of a name of fact, or an hour session researching the complete history.

You can check out the current state of our program here:

Universe of Instrumentation Program

Edison Tech Center opens up new program site

In the beginning of 2016 the Edison Tech Center launched a new site “EdisonTC.org” to host new program content. Many of our older program pages will continue to operate undisturbed in our former static site, but newer content well be published under our new framework.

Giving our own volunteers a voice:

The effort to launch the new site is a response to the growing needs of our users who need a more responsive design for mobile and smaller screens.  A great new feature however will be to streamline the publishing process and empower our volunteers to contribute more material. Our content contributors hold a passion for engineering and history and we want to make it easier for them to express themselves and share the lifetimes of knowledge they have worked hard for.

More Readers Helping Readers:

In addition to internal improvements EdisonTC.org will allow users to interact and give useful comments under articles. We will continue to enforce a standard for comments similar to the BBC News website: There will be no offensive or personal attack language permitted and comments that are political or promote conspiracy theory or personality cults will be removed. Overall our goal is to engineers to help comment on topics and contribute towards other readers understanding of the topic, and possibly refer them to other good articles on the subject.

We’ve started the new site with our latest project on engineering tools called “Universe of Instrumentation”.  You can check out the new UI program here.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook or subscribe to our YouTube channel.