THE HISTORY OF
REYNOLDS INDUSTRIES, INCORPORATED
REYNOLDS Over the years, many of our customers, suppliers and newer employees, have
expressed an interest in the history of Reynolds Industries.
George Sheridan, who joined Reynolds in 1961, played a major role in planning
INDUSTRIES INCORPORATED Reynolds diversification strategy, shaping the organization and selecting new fields of
endeavor. George served as Executive Vice President and General Manager for more
® than 20 years. He retired in 1988 and is a consultant to Reynolds.
In 1994, I asked George to assist me in designing a display of Reynolds products and
to compile its history. I hope the result of this effort will prove interesting to those who
view it and perhaps answer at least a few questions about the history of Reynolds
Chase L. Leavitt
Chase L. Leavitt George E. Sheridan
President Vice President and
Reynolds Industries, Incorporated General Manager, ret.
Getting Started 1948 1
In 1948, five men, with little more than vision, a loose plan and a little
money, founded Reynolds Industries, Incorporated. The photo on the
right includes nine of the total work force of 11 employees in 1948.
Harry Reynolds, (1), was the first President and namesake of the young
enterprise. He was also a mechanical genius and was responsible for
engineering, tooling and manufacturing. Bob Gordon, (2), came to the
company as an investor and watched over all aspects of financial
management and personnel administration. Larry Leavitt, (3), was truly
the entrepreneur and visionary of the group. He was responsible for
sales, customer relations and contracting. Larry, who previously had
worked for Northrop Aircraft, was experienced in aircraft manufactur-
ing processes and production planning and assisted Harry Reynolds in
the manufacturing operations. The other two founders, Milo Pollock, a Harry Reynolds Bob Gordon Larry Leavitt
manufacturing engineer and Asher Sanders, an expert in marketing President 1948-1952 President 1952-1965 President 1965-1989
commercial items to distributors, left the firm prior to 1955.
In early 1949, one half of this 10,000 square foot masonry building, located on
Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica, became available. By 1952 Reynolds had taken
over the entire building and was looking for yet more space in which to house the
Buildings for industrial use were hard to find in 1948. The owners considered themselves fortunate to growing business.
find two buildings in an un-paved alley near the Hughes Aircraft Company complex in Culver City.
There were no bathrooms and an arrangement was made to use the facilities of the chevron gas station
nearby. Visitors were probably not too impressed, especially in the rainy season, when they had to walk
on boards placed over the muddy, unpaved entrance area. Regardless, the company prospered and grew
and began the arduous task of finding a larger, more suitable facility.
The Job Shop Years 1949-1955
In 1948 there was honest disagreement among the owners about the direction the young
company should take. Harry Reynolds, who was a U.S. Navy Commander and a participant
in the Manhattan Project during WW II, favored the defense business as did Larry Leavitt. Above A packaged Buttonhole Binder. The retail price Above The Buttonbox sold retail for $1.29 and the large
Bob Gordon, who was the lead investor, wanted to manufacture a line of notions to be sold was $1.00 and Reynolds sold them to wholesalers for Bobinbox for $.69. Even at these prices sales dwindled to a
to large department stores and distributors. They decided to try and do both. half that amount. trickle by 1967 when the notion line was discontinued.
Above The Button box was also a button sorter. Simply load all size
Between designing and tooling several notion items and buying rights to others, they created buttons in the top right compartment, close the lid and while standing the
box on end, shake it. The smaller buttons fall into the lower compartments.
a product line which included a bobbin box, a button box , a tape marking device and a button
hole maker. Agents and distributors were set up across the country and in 1949 sales of
notions amounted to $113,000. Notions sales would never again reach this level. Right Reynolds was well equipped and staffed
to do military quality machining, grinding and
boring. They were also very good at designing
The defense business took the form of precision machining and finishing of aircraft parts used and fabricating fixtures for manufacturing and
in the assembly of military aircraft. Reynolds purchased the castings and performed the inspection. Shown are parts made from purchased
machining, milling and drilling operations in house. These job shop type contracts were castings and finished on in-house equipment. This
awarded to qualified suppliers almost entirely on a basis of price. The contracts, while not type work began to subside in 1952-1953 but
highly profitable, proved invaluable in establishing Reynolds as a supplier to the defense lasted long enough for the company to become
established in the plastic molding business.
industry with a reputation for quality products and a clean, orderly, well equipped facility. In
1949 the defense business totalled $50,000.
In 1950 and 1951, a plastic molding capability and a small mold shop were added to the
precision machining capability of Reynolds. This made it possible to manufacture plastic
molded parts in house including parts with metal details molded in place. At the same time,
the sales effort was expanded to include more states. Strong emphasis was placed on
becoming established as a supplier to the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) through the
AEC facilities at Sandia Corporation, Bendix and the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory
In 1951, the company shipped $581,000 in defense business and $100,000 in notion products.
The 3 year old company had earned $60,000 in pre-tax profit and had $33,000 cash-on-hand.
The company's course had beenset. Aerospace/Defense was the market place. A high quality,
well equipped job shop, specializing in precision plastic molding and machining operations,
was their product. A smell of success was in the air. In 1951, Harry Truman was President,
a new Ford was $1,600, rent on the Colorado Avenue facility was $300 a month and a first
class room at the Hotel Nicollet, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was $7.50.
Larry Leavitt loved to make deals. In 1952 he went to the Amphenol Connector Company
in Chicago, Illinois and entered the winning bid for the right to manufacture a line of coaxial
connectors which Amphenol wanted to unload. The deal included drawings, tooling,
processes and a substantial inventory of connectors and detail components. The connectors,
commonly known as Series ‘21’ and Series ‘31’, were designed and sold almost exclusively
to various AEC facilities for use on firing lines to test detonators used on nuclear warheads.
The transaction, which involved relatively little money, appeared to some to have no real
business significance. Larry, however, wisely and correctly envisioned that the connectors
would lead to the business of providing high voltage coaxial cable assemblies to the AEC
contractors. It was to be more than ten years before the deal in Chicago would have its full
impact on the future of the company and help lift it from the up and down business cycle of
a job shop, to a diversified firm with multiple, niche oriented, product lines.
Above By 1955 the company was well equipped to do injection, compression
and transfer molding, while holding tight tolerances. Detonator heads, for
example, need small electrodes molded in place with a typical spacing of .020
inch and a tolerance of .002 inch. At about this time the company began to
mold connector inserts and this capability was to lead them into the business
of manufacturing special connectors. Above Series 31 connector details being de-burred after machining.
This line of connectors was to become the basis for a product line of high
voltage coaxial connectors.
Incorporated, Logo Styles
The original logo was designed The ‘Rencrest’ logo was designed The current Reynolds Industries,
in early 1948. primarily for the notions products but Incorporated, logo, originated in
was also used on other literature. 1964, uses the shortened letter ‘I’
It first appeared in 1949. to represent ‘Incorporated.’
Special Connectors 1953-1961
During the job shop years, Reynolds began molding plastic insulators
for electrical connectors for customers in the defense industry. These
inserts had holes molded in place for the installation of contacts whose
number varied from several into the hundreds. In some cases, contacts
were molded into place, while in others the entire insulator was molded
into a metal housing. The customer performed the final assembly,
cabling and testing. Reynolds management seemed unaware that the
company was nibbling at becoming a connector manufacturer.
In 1953, Reynolds hired its first full time sales engineer which proved
to be highly successful and timely. General Dynamics, in Pomona, Above A special blind mating staging connector for
California, had just received an order to develop the Standard Missile Above A special breakaway connector manufactured use on the ‘Sprint’ ABM system. The Plug, shown
for the U.S. Navy. The missile required several connectors, and though for Sandia National Laboratory. One of the first above, and the receptacle are mounted on separate
Reynolds was not considered a connector manufacturer, they landed the connectors to use DAP as material for an insulator, sections of the missile. The connectors are self align-
contract for prototype connectors based on a Navy/General Dynamics the connector features a pin designed to break apart ing and become mated when the missile sections are
design. Reynolds went on to receive connector orders from Sandia when the connectors are separated , thereby creating fully engaged. The guide pins on the plug float on
Corporation and Sperry Utah, and, by 1958, was well established as a Above The A-1 Polaris Missile main umbilical con-
an electrical timing pulse. springs to compensate for mis-alignment.
‘Special’ connector supplier. The events of 1953- 1958, played a major nectors. The connectors measure 9" x 7" and weigh 8
role in defining the future course of Reynolds Industries. pounds. The 128 contacts provided electrical power
to the Missile while in the launch tube prior to lift
Another important event took place in 1958. Larry Leavitt, who never Left A special umbilical connector used on the off. The connectors also provided re-circulating
ceased searching for new materials, processes and equipment, learned Standard Missile, a U.S. Navy ship-to-air fleet de- coolant from the submarine to the missile through
of a new thermal-setting plastic called Diallyl Phthalate. DAP, as it came fense weapon. There are 23 soft tin alloy contacts two ports which have elastomer interface seals. The
to be known, was to a designer of plastic parts, what penicillin was to molded into a phenolic resin body. The contact insulators were molded of a filled DAP material. The
the medical profession. The material could be compression or transfer interface has a soft silicone rubber seal molded over use of DAP solved a nagging problem LMSC had
molded, had superior electrical properties, good mechanical strength the contacts. During the mating operation, the sharp experienced with insulators from a second source
and could withstand temperature extremes and humidity. The right pointed male contacts of the plug pierce the silicone concerning fissures and low insulation resistance
”stuff” for electrical connector insulators. Reynolds got the jump on membrane and imbed themselves into the soft alloy after exposure to humidity.
others by learning to transfer mold the material and hold tolerances not contacts. Upon withdrawal, the rubber recovers and
thought possible before the development of DAP. seals the interface against moisture. The membrane
seal is not shown in this photo.
Also in 1958, Lockheed Missiles and Space Company (LMSC), came
to Reynolds with a connector problem . The connector, which was used
on the Polaris program, was a printed circuit card connector that
exhibited cracks in the molding. Reynolds was asked to mold the
connector using DAP material. Reynolds performed very well. The
cracks went away and a foundation was laid for a long business Right A-1 Polaris Missile main
relationship with LMSC on the Fleet Ballistic Missile (FBM) program, umbilical connectors in final assem-
which included the Polaris, Poseidon and Trident Missiles. bly. Reynolds and an alternate source
competed to produce the connectors
In late 1959, LMSC asked Reynolds to enter a proposal to provide the from 1960 to 1965. A mated pair of
main umbilical connector on the A-1 Polaris missile, as a second source the connectors sold for about $3,000.
of supply. The first source was experiencing a problem with the Reynolds performed very well despite
electrical insulators in terms of humidity and minute fissures. Reynolds Above Reynolds first order with Lockheed Missiles and Space never having manufactured a product
chose DAP as the insulator material, and in 1960 delivered qualification Company (LMSC), was this multi-pin, printed circuit board so demanding in terms of tooling,
units which were successfully tested. Reynolds and the first source of connector for use on support equipment for the Polaris missile. inspection, testing and manufacturing
supply produced the connectors competitively until 1965. The previous supplier for this connector experienced cracking of planning.
the molded plastic body. Reynolds proposed using DAP, a new
The business relationship with LMSC, as established in 1958, is perhaps thermo-setting plastic material, to mold the body. The effort was
the single most significant event in the history of Reynolds Industries, highly successful and established Reynolds as a supplier to
Inc. LMSC. This relationship was long lasting and critical to
Reynolds future as a defense contractor.
1961 Series ‘31’ High Voltage Coaxial Connectors, Cable Assemblies and Adapters
Finding a Product Line 1961-1965
Above In 1961, Reynolds manufactured only the series 31 panel Above The customer required Adapters for
Reynolds learned early on that producing special connectors was like connector shown at the left and several configurations of detonator test various instrumentation circuits and the
operating an upscale job shop. Lots of responsibility and risk with little, fire cable assemblies. Shown is the most widely used cable assembly adapters added credibility to the concept of
if any, control. Even Reynolds largest customers were at the mercy of which has crimp lugs to terminate the wire leads of an Exploding Bridge a catalog product line. The adapters were
changes, delays and program cancellations. Congress, the pentagon and Wire detonator (EBW). These assemblies were 45 to 90 feet in length and previously made by the customer in a model
the customer could all order delays, push out the schedule or, worse yet, were usually destroyed or severely damaged when the detonator was shop or experimental machine shop. While
cancel a contract. An example is the Sprint ABM (anti-ballistic missile) fired. In 1962, a catalog product line of about 30 compatible series 31 the order sizes were never large, the adapter
program. Reynolds was heavily involved on this program and just products was designed and tooled. Many of the items were kept in stock business was justified by the higher prices
getting into production when SALT I was signed and the ABM program for quick delivery. The customers and the sales staff were pleased but the they commanded. Shown are 3 out of about
cancelled. A three year investment in engineering, tooling and testing by accountants were screaming. Meanwhile, plans were being made to add 20 adapters offered for sale.
Reynolds was lost resulting in layoffs and lean times for two years. elastomeric seals to provide an altitude capability.
Regardless, there was plenty of competition to supply special connec-
tors to the Defense/Aerospace industry. Firms like Bendix, Amphenol
& Cannon for example. These firms all had separate divisions for 1964 Series ‘600’ High Voltage Coaxial Connectors, Cable Assemblies and Adapters
special connectors. To them, special connectors was a niche business.
Their main business was high volume military standard connectors
which dwarfed the special connector business. Thus it was easier for Left Shown is a series 600 cable assembly, a panel connector
these companies to absorb a major program delay or cancellation of a and two adapters. The 600 series was introduced in 1964 as a
special connector order. miniature, 5 KVDC connector with a sea level rating for use in
EBW detonator firing circuits. In 1966 an altitude version rated
In late 1960, Reynolds hired a full time sales engineer to reside in the at 10 KVDC was added to the line and the connectors began to
San Francisco bay area. The idea was to have someone available at be used in a wide range of applications where size and weight
Lockheed in Sunnyvale to provide field support for the Polaris umbili- were critical. A receptacle with a ceramic insulator was devel-
cal connector which Reynolds was now delivering in production oped in 1980 for use on Laser Gyroscope systems.
quantities. The sales engineer operated from an office in Livermore,
California and in his spare time solicited business from Sandia Corpo-
ration and the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, both of which were
located in Livermore. This effort yielded sales for high voltage connec-
tors and cable assemblies using the series 31 cable connectors that Larry
Leavitt had bought the rights to nearly 10 years earlier. There was no
sales literature and sales were made using engineering top drawings.
There was only a plug and a mating receptacle (no adapters) available. 1965 Series ‘531’ High Voltage Coaxial Connectors and Cable Assemblies
The sales engineer proposed to his management that Reynolds design
a line of high voltage connectors, adapters and cable assemblies based
on the series 31 plug assembly and publish a catalog for distribution.
Reynolds President, Bob Gordon, was wary of the proposal because it
Above The series 531 connectors were designed primarily for power supplies for use at sea level
would involve financing a sizeable inventory. In the end he was won
although the connectors were rated for high altitude operation. The center contact of both the plug and
over and the product line was planned and a catalog printed in 1962.
receptacle were recessed sufficiently to allow the ground circuit to be made before the center contact was
However modest, Reynolds had created a viable, growing product line
engaged. The nose of the plug was slotted and slightly expanded, thereby creating a spring effect
of high voltage connectors and cable assemblies that was under their
designed to interfere with the inside wall of the receptacle to provide a continuous ground prior to the
control. More important, was the potential to expand an expertise in
center contact engagement.
high voltage to include other components they could call their own.
Also developed prior to 1970 were the series 310, 500 and 521 high voltage coaxial connectors. During
The series 31 connector was limited to about 5KVDC and would not
the period 1961 to 1969, Reynolds solved many of the problems associated with the design, production
operate above 7,500 feet altitude or in high humidity. It was later
and testing of high voltage connectors for use at altitudes up to 70,000 feet. In 1969, the war in Vietnam
improved for altitude operation and provided some common detail parts
was raging and Russian built surface-to-air missiles were becoming more sophisticated and deadly.
for new coaxial designs which could operate at voltages up to 20KVDC.
American pilots without the latest Electronic Countermeasure System (ECM) aboard were at risk. ECM
Other series of connectors soon followed. Reynolds was in the high
systems require numerous high voltage inter-connections for their transmitters but the ECM engineers
voltage connector business.
had little use for coaxial high voltage connectors. Reynolds had a lot to learn about ECM high voltage
connections and not much time.
The Evolution of RISI 1968
In the 1940’s, Dr. Luis Alvarez invented the Exploding Bridgewire
Detonator (EBW) as part of the Manhattan Project to develop an atomic
bomb. The EBW was held classified by the Atomic Energy Commission
(AEC) until the mid 1960’s when unclassified reports describing Above This complex has been home to the San Ramon facility of
EBW’s were written and released. EBW detonators have two unique Reynolds and RISI since 1971. It was originally built by Aerojet-
features: (A) accurate timing and (B) significant safety advantages over General to assist in the development of a nuclear powered aircraft Above An operator precision weighing explosive
normal low energy initiators such as blasting caps. engine. Reynolds purchased the building on a 3.5 acre site in 1973 powder prior to its pneumatic pressing against a
and added explosive storage and processing buildings to the site. bridged EBW header. Above Precision gold bridgewire welding to EBW
Reynolds recognized that a modest market for EBW detonators existed electrodes is critical to performance and high EBW
apart from the AEC nuclear programs. In 1968, Reynolds entered into system reliability.
an agreement with Physics International to jointly design, manufacture
and market EBW detonators and related explosive items using the EBW Photo 1 Photo 2 Photo 3 Photo 4
concept. Reynolds brought to the table an expertise in manufacturing
the inert portion of an EBW and an experienced component marketing
organization. Physics International had the facilities and trained person-
nel to handle, store and test explosives. The new enterprise was named
RI/PI and soon began manufacturing and marketing EBW initiators
similar to some used within the AEC. Within a year, RI/PI received a
contract from Lockheed Missile and Space Company to design and Above This firing of a Reynolds RP-501 catalog detonator was re-
develop an EBW for use on the Poseidon Missile. In late 1970, Reynolds corded on a high speed rotating mirror camera. The four photos were
bought out Physics International's interest in RI/PI and in 1971 moved taken in 4 microsecond increments with time running from left to right.
the operation to a rented facility owned by Aerojet- General in San Break out starts within 4 microseconds after the initial current pulse as
Ramon, California. In 1973 Reynolds purchased the facility and 3.5 shown in photo #2. If this were a standard low energy blasting cap,
acres of land. break out would not start for approximately an additional 1,000 micro-
seconds. Speed of detonation is critical in many military weapon appli-
The operation was named Reynolds Industries, San Ramon Facility cations and also in some commercial uses.
Above The RP80 series of EBW’s developed for general Above The FS 17 battery operated EBW firing system.
until 1984 when it became incorporated as Reynolds Industries Systems blasting applications. They are designed to detonate Det
Incorporated (RISI). In an effort to find a commercial market for With the remote module, this line of EBW firing system
Cord, duplicate the output of standard blasting caps and allows the functioning of EBW’s in the field over long
EBW's, a lower cost detonator, the RP-80, was developed along with a detonate any explosive including AMFO.
family of small battery powered firing systems rugged enough to endure distances from the control area.
field firing conditions. Over the next five years the commercial business
grew to be about 50% of the total San Ramon facility business. This
commercial business included mining, oil exploration, initiators for the
Forest Service explosive fire break systems, explosive welding, metal
forming and general blasting.
In about 1973, unclassified reports of a new and even safer explosive
initiator were being released by the U.S. Department of Energy. Dubbed
the ‘slapper’ detonator, the new device was invented by Mr. John Stroud
at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. RISI management
looked upon this device as a good extension to its line of EBW's and
defined the product as an Exploding Foil Initiator (EFI). EFI's allowed
the use of less sensitive and more heat stable explosives than those used
on EBW's. RISI invested heavily in optimizing the firing characteristics
of EFI's and developing the firing systems needed to initiate them.
Above Safety is a way of life at RISI and
Department of Defense weapons planners became interested in the EFI the message of safety is constantly put
because of its high shock impact capability and the use of HNS forth to employees and customers alike. A
explosive. RISI began working with SAAB Missiles AB in Sweden to periodical, “RISI Technical Topics”, often
Above The Safe, Arm & Fire unit and EFI detonators for the RBS 15
develop a Safe, Arming and Firing System (SA&F) for the RBS 15 ship- features safety articles and is widely
ship-to-ship missile built by Saab Missiles in Sweden. This was the first Above A selection of special EBW detonators. The upright
to- ship missile. The System was a success and went into production in distributed to customers. RISI also con-
missile in the world to use slapper detonators (EFI’s) with only HNS detonator in the center was used on the Poseidon Missile.
1982 becoming the first of its type in the world. EFI's are now produced ducts one day seminars from time to time
explosive in the initiator. The system was developed by RISI between An overvoltage spark gap manufactured by Reynolds Elec-
by several other companies engaged in the manufacture of SA&F in the proper use and handling of RISI's
1979 and 1982 and entered production in 1983. A special separation tronic Division is connected between the center contact and
systems for the munitions industry. products. There is no charge for the semi-
switch manufactured by Reynolds Electrical Connector Division , is a the positive side of the bridged header. The body is stain-
nars, which are held in San Ramon.
part of this ‘in-line’ ordnance system. less steel with a LASER beam weld for final closure.
Untitled-6 1 5/26/01, 1:24 PM
Right In the decade RIGHT New injection
of the 70's, Reynolds molding materials were
invested heavily in evaluated and some
computer controlled were incorporated into
test and inspection new connector designs.
® equipment to meet Shown is a computer
the stringent re- controlled press being
quirements of air- used to mold parts from
borne ECM systems. Ultem™ material.
Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) 1970 ABOVE In 1969 Reynolds moved its facilities from Shown is a Biddle™
Santa Monica to this new 73,000 square foot building corona detection
During 1969-1970, Reynolds developed an entirely new product line of located near Marina del Rey not far from Los Angeles system work station.
high voltage lead assemblies aimed at the fast growing business of International Airport. The building was expanded in
providing high voltage lead assemblies and connectors to the ECM 1989 to provide more engineering, administrative and
industry. Reynolds high voltage coaxial connectors simply could not laboratory space.
satisfy the high voltage connector needs of an airborne ECM system.
The operating voltage ranged from 8KVDC to 15 KVDC and higher.
But the killer requirement was the cold temperature of -55°C when Left In the 19th century, Paschen, a German scientist, conducted an experiment
combined with the need to operate at altitudes up to 70,000 feet. to determine electrical arc characteristics when ambient pressure changed. He
spaced two spherical shaped electrodes at a constant 3/8 inch (1cm.). He then
ECM systems employ a transmitter to send out microwave signals 10 reduced the ambient pressure in increments from sea level (760 mm Hg.) to
designed to counter enemy RADAR signals. The transmitter is gener- 1 CM ( APPROX. 3/8 INCH) 260,000 feet (0.01 mmHg.). At each selected pressure increment he increased the
ally in the form of a high power Travelling Wave Tube (TWT). The voltage across the electrodes until a low energy arc occurred.
TWT requires 8 to 15 KVDC to function. This high voltage is usually The curve on the chart tells the story. At sea level, about 30,000 VDC is required
supplied by a power supply within the ECM system. The TWT and the 1
to initiate an arc across the electrode gap. At 47,000 feet the arc level drops to
power supply are inter-connected with high voltage cable assemblies about 1200 VDC. According to Paschen, the worst altitude is150,000 feet where
and connectors. In 1970 these cable assemblies were called ‘Lead only about 300 VDC will arc across the electrodes. ECM systems aboard aircraft
Assemblies’ and were actually a length of silicone rubber wire with a 0.1 require high voltage connectors and cable assemblies to function at altitudes up
contact attached. A nose of silicone rubber was bonded or molded onto
to 70,000 feet with 8,000 to 15,000 volts applied. Missile borne ECM systems
the cable and a loose plastic coupling nut slid over the cable. In order to raise the requirement to 150,000 feet.
function at altitude, the interface of the lead assembly and the mating
NEAR HARD TYPICAL PASCHEN CURVE AMBIENT
connector on the power supply were filled with silicone dielectric VACCUUM FOR SPHERICAL ELECTRODES SEA LEVEL
grease. SPACED AT 1 CM (.393 INCHES)
ABOVE ‘Burn-In’, or the product
exposure to hot and cold temperature
Reynolds engineers set about to design a ‘dry’ or greaseless interface cycling at simulated altitude while
that would operate at altitude and cold. Their solution was to mold an applying high voltage, is often specified
annular ring onto the nose of the plug insulator that when mated would by the customer. These multi-pin con-
interfere and seal against the inner wall of the mating plastic or ceramic nectors for Ferranti/Scotland are ready
connector in the manner of an ‘O’ ring. At the same time, the coupling to load into a test chamber.
ring was re-designed to provide a method of retaining the ring in place.
These changes were made more difficult by the self imposed mandate
that Reynolds connectors and lead assemblies be interchangeable with Left The cover of a catalog Left An example of a lead assembly for sea level, high
connectors and/or cable assemblies already in the field. ‘Series 700’ was issued in 1970 for ‘700’ series voltage applications where low unit cost is the major con-
selected to identify this new line of connectors and a catalog was issued lead assemblies, panel connec- sideration. Applications are typically ground based CRT
with a full line of adapters to complement the lead assemblies and panel tors and adapters. The target displays, RADAR power supplies and TWT's. The units are
connectors. market was ECM, RADAR, and reliable for such applications but do not receive the strenu-
TWT manufacturers. ous testing performed on the airborne series ‘700’ units.
In early 1970, both Sanders in Nashua, New Hampshire and Raytheon
in Andover, Massachusetts, were developing ECM systems. The Sand-
ers ALQ 126 system and the Raytheon Patriot Missile both used
connectors from the Series 700 line. The TWT suppliers, Hughes
Electrodynamics Division, ITT, Litton, Teledyne MEC and Varian, also
became users of these connectors. During this period, Reynolds devel-
Right Seven pin plug and re-
oped a reliable method of bonding fluorocarbon FEP wire to rubber and
ceptacle cable assemblies de-
most plastics. Later, a manufacturing procedure was developed to
signed and produced for Right A selection of products from the
continuously etch and coat FEP wire with a very thin layer of silicone
Ferranti in Scotland for use on original series ‘700’ catalog. These prod-
rubber which could then be potted or bonded with silicone rubber
the RADAR power supply in- ucts all have the annular seal on the nose
compounds by the TWT or ECM system manufacturer. Thus, for the
stalled on the Multi Role Com- of the plug assembly for altitude sealing.
first time ever, small high voltage interconnection systems that would
bat Aircraft deployed by NATO The voltage ratings ranged from 6 KVDC
perform reliably at high altitude and cold temperatures, were available
and the Northrop ALQ 135 for to 25 KVDC. Also shown is a ceramic,
to ECM systems designers and TWT manufacturers in the U.S., Europe,
use on the F-15 Aircraft. These hermetic sealed receptacle. Reynolds ‘700’
and Great Britain.
assemblies received perhaps the series products could be interchanged with
most exhaustive acceptance products manufactured by other connector
Small as these connectors were, they needed to be even smaller. Much
testing of any high voltage suppliers and were used extensively on the
smaller. Reynolds management challenged its engineers to do just that.
connectors ever manufactured U.S. Navy ALQ 126 ‘Pride’ ECM system
by Reynolds. manufactured by Sanders.
LEFT A transportable Military field LEFT A high density hybrid
Command, Control and Communica- protection package designed
REYNOLDS tion shelter. Manufactured by Raytheon, for Plessey in Great Britain.
Protection circuits are
INDUSTRIES INCORPORATED the shelter receives data and communi-
cations input from remote land lines mounted on circuit boards
Electronic Products with input and output edge
connected to panels on the shelter.
Santa Maria, California Each circuit is protected against light- mounted connectors.
ing and EMP transients by modules
manufactured by the Electronic Prod-
ucts Division. Each module contains
Electronic Products 1976 electronic circuitry which includes
In 1977, Reynolds hired an electrical engineer with prior management spark gaps designed to preclude dam-
experience in the design and marketing of transient protection systems. aging transient currents from entering Left Over voltage gas
He was given the responsibility to establish Reynolds as a supplier of the shelter. tubes are ruggedly con-
transient protection systems and components primarily for military During U.S. Army Signal Corp testing structed with high tem-
applications. Reynolds also wished to manufacture over voltage spark at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, a shelter perature brazed, ceramic-
gaps for use in Transient Protection Systems (TPS) and its EBW was actually struck by lighting and the to-metal seals to prevent
detonators and related ordnance hardware. About 2,500 square feet of protection modules performed exactly long term leakage of the
space was squeezed out of the Los Angeles facility and special equip- as designed much to the delight of gas fill.
ment ordered for brazing ceramic-to-metal gas filled tubes. Raytheon and the military observers.
Several major programs were landed between 1977 and 1982 including
the TPS system for the Tri-Services Military Command, Control and
Communications System under contract with Raytheon, a TPS for a
British Communications System from Plessey in England and a field
generator TPS for Litton. During this time period, equipment to wind
high voltage capacitors was purchased and the development of a line of
high voltage capacitors using an inert liquid dielectric was begun. In
1983, the division was moved to a small facility in Santa Maria,
California and was moved again in 1985 when a larger facility became
available near the Santa Maria airport. Above Monobloc describes a monolithic
structure comprising several capacitors
The liquid filled capacitors were not competitive with mica paper manufactured simultaneously. The dia-
capacitors and in 1984 the division began making small quantities of gram above depicts a Micaplier with
high voltage mica capacitors. The division had also started packaging Monobloc construction.
sub-assembly modules of ECM high voltage components that could be
inter-connected without cables by using Reynolds Advanced Series
“Pee- Wee”connectors. This business fell prey to post-cold war defense
cut backs and never became a significant source of business
By 1989, laboratory experimentation and development of prototype
quantities of high current/high voltage/high vacuum arc switch tubes
(VARC's) was showing promising results. An IVARC (Integrated
Vacuum Arc) version of the VARC was developed and applications for
Above This Multi-spindle capacitor roll winding Above Less than 2 inches wide, this Micaplier,
its use in Safe, Arming and Firing Systems (SA&F) were numerous.
machine was fabricated to meet the rigid tension with a Pee-Wee high voltage output connector,
IVARC's were being considered for several tactical munitions weapons
and alignment requirements for high reliability puts out 5 KVDC. It is used in the focus power
such as ATACMS, Hellfire, Javelin, Dragon and Patriot, among others.
mica capacitors . supply of an aircraft cockpit CRT display.
Limited production quantities of IVARC's were manufactured in Santa
Maria and in 1992 IVARC production was transferred to Reynolds
Ceramic Products Division in Los Angeles.
In 1990 a full scale reliability program was launched to assess and LEFT This high voltage
improve the reliability of Reynolds high voltage capacitors. This highly multiplier (Micaplier), known
successful program led to a design that integrated several mica capaci- as the ‘Tower of Power’ for
tors into one monolithic structure. This design, named Monobloc, was its conical geometry, has an
used to design high voltage multipliers by adding individual Monoblocs output of 160,000 volts with a
to attain higher and higher voltages in the manner of building blocks. maximum current of 10 milli-
These assemblies, called Micapliers, can produce voltages in the X-Ray amperes. The unit supplies the
spectrum and are used in baggage X-Ray systems. One system, “The anode and filament voltages
Tower of Power,” produces 160,000 volts and is used for non-destruc- for an X-ray tube which is
tive X-Ray inspection of aircraft landing gear in a portable X-Ray part of a portable system to
system. Micapliers are also used as a major high voltage component for perform non-destructive
use in power supplies for aircraft Electronic Flight Instrumentation testing of aircraft landing
Systems to provide high voltage for the anode and focus elements of gear. The packaged unit is 12 Above Micapliers for use in baggage X-Ray systems.
Cathode Ray Tubes. inches tall and 5.25 inches in When interconnected, the above units are capable of
diameter. producing 160 KVDC continuously.
(3) Left The ‘Advanced’ interface sealing sys-
tem: (1) The one piece molded silicone seal.
(2) (2) The seal in section shows a thin wall and
inner and outer redundant seals. (3) A hard
(4) plastic or ceramic receptacle with a male
contact. (4) The receptacle with the seal slid
into place. (5) The hard plastic nose plug
Advanced Connectors 1981 with a female contact. (6) The plastic nose
In 1981, Reynolds engineers began an effort to reduce the size of the engages and seals against both inner seal Above Reynolds developed a Above Shown are CRT anode
‘700’ series connectors and to increase the reliability of the connectors protrusions while causing the outer protru- product line of silicone rubber lead assemblies using Ad-
at cold temperature and 70,00 feet. About the same time, FEP wire was sions of the seal to expand and seal against coated FEP wire for use on the vanced series ‘Max’ connec-
being evaluated by Reynolds as a replacement for silicone rubber wire. the hard, smooth surface of the receptacle ‘Max’ series Advanced connectors, tors, FEP wire and silicone
Silicone wire had a lot going for it. Excellent dielectric strength, flexible inner wall thereby preventing electrical the Pee-Wee miniature series and molded CRT anode caps
and easy to route and most silicone based potting materials bonded to current from finding an arc path. the JR micro-miniature series. manufactured by Reynolds.
it very well. Its biggest drawback was size. Silicone wire rated at 20
KVDC was .280 inch in diameter. FEP wire at the same voltage rating
was only 0.60 inch diameter. The limitation on the use of FEP was that
it was not possible to achieve a reliable dielectric bond to rubber or
anything else. Regardless, it made no sense to reduce the size of a
connector interface if the wire size was not proportionately reduced.
The state of the art for high voltage connector interfaces was to have a
one piece molded silicone rubber insulator for the plug or cable half and Above The Pee-Wee charac-
a hard plastic or ceramic receptacle with a male contact for the mating ter, being small and tough,
half. Reynolds had earlier improved on this by adding annular seals to represents the miniature line
the rubber nose of the plug insulator for altitude applications. of high voltage connectors
shown at the right. Pee-Wee
Reynolds designed a once piece, molded, membrane-like silicone connectors and cable assem-
rubber seal. The seal was stiff enough to be slid into the cavity of a series blies are used on the
‘700’ plastic or ceramic receptacle. The plug was re-designed to be all Northrop B-1 and ALQ 135
plastic. The seal had redundant inner and outer radial protrusions ECM Systems and the
molded as an integral part of the seal itself. These protrusions became Westinghouse/ITT ASPJ
energized when the hard plastic nose of the plug was properly mated to system among others.
Above An assemblage of Advanced connectors Above A six pin ‘JR’ shielded connector for use in
the receptacle. When mated, the seals essentially provided a solid
and cable assemblies showing the diverse range applications where EMI is a major concern. Small as
dielectric thereby giving the interface not only excellent high voltage
of designs possible when using the Advanced it is, the connector is rated at 6 KVDC for airborne
performance at cold and high altitude but also very good corona
interface sealing system. applications. A four pin version was used on the Mar-
characteristics under the same conditions. The Advanced connector had
tin-Marietta LANTERN program and saw action in the
just come into being.
Concurrent with the development of the Advanced connector, Reynolds
developed a process of routinely coating FEP wire with silicone rubber
ten thousandths of an inch thick. The wire could be bonded to the plastic
insulator with silicone adhesive providing a dielectric seal even better Avvion
than the interface seal. The wire could also be potted or encapsulated 36
using many of the common silicone potting materials.
In 1982 the advanced seal was greatly reduced in size and a family of
connectors containing single pin, multi-pin, adapters and cable assem- interface
Right Shown are connector/
blies was introduced by Reynolds. The engineer in charge of the project
cable assemblies from the
kept referring to the connectors as‘ Pee-Wee’. The name stuck, even
Avvion series mated to dif-
though it was not particularly popular within Reynolds.
ferent sizes of CRT display
tubes. Display manufactur-
Advanced series connectors were used in numerous ECM and RADAR
ers can connect and discon-
systems and to provide Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) anode lead assemblies
nect the gun end of the CRT
for use on ‘Heads-Up’ and ‘Heads-Down’ aircraft cockpit display Right Hi/Mate allows the user of MIL-C-38999 connectors
with this family of multi-pin,
systems. In 1989 the Avvion series was introduced as an even smaller to add as many as 19 high voltage contacts to series I, III
high voltage connectors.
advanced series to provide a multi-pin connector to interconnect the gun and IV connectors having a 12 guage, rear release, contact
Avvion uses a micro-minia-
end of a CRT to a power supply. retention system. Each Hi/Mate high voltage contact assem-
ture version of the Advanced
bly is rated at 13.5 KVDC to 70,000 feet and from -55 to
interface sealing system. The
In 1993 Hi/Mate was introduced. Hi/Mate is a miniature insertable/ +125°C. They can be inserted into, and removed from, 12
glass stems of these tubes
removable high voltage contact assembly which adds a high voltage guage cavities using standard contact insertion and removal
range in diameter from
capability to new or existing 38999 connectors. tools as shown. The contacts can be combined within inserts
10mm to 36mm.
having low voltage, fiber optic or coaxial pins.
Untitled-10 1 5/26/01, 1:27 PM
IQ UIP O
S IND U S TR
IN D U T RIE S
Left In 1991, Reynolds Industries, DS Left In 1991, Reynolds Indus-
REYNOLDS RIAB Inc., formed RIAB as a Swedish
tries Limited opened offices in
INDUSTRIES LIMITED corporation to market Reynolds prod- RILF France outside Paris. This office
RL INDUSTRIES LIMITED MICROWAVE PRODUCTS DIVISION ucts in Scandinavia. RIAB has offices Serving Europe serves as a marketing base for
ND in Stockholm and reports to Reynolds France and Western Europe.
v in ea
g S c a nd in Industries Limited in England. ra
e v e nt es F
Reynolds Industries Limited 1982
In 1971, Reynolds entered into an agency agreement with the British
importing firm, Aviquipo. Aviquipo was a well established importer and
distributor of aviation equipment to Great Britain and several countries
on the continent of Europe and in Asia. Sales were made to airlines,
aircraft manufacturers and British and European government agencies.
The firm had just been sold to a Lockheed Aircraft subsidiary and was Top Left RIL's first facility was lo-
busy forming a department to import electronic products. cated in Newbury in offices above a
dry cleaners at 5A The Broadway in Above By May 1983 the need for a produc- Above In 1989 RIL had a 25,000 square foot
Aviquipo produced results almost immediately and was able to have the fall of 1981. tion facility was apparent and a run down building erected on Canal View Road in
Reynolds products specified on two major defense programs: The Top Right By spring 1982, RIL had facility on Hambridge Lane, in Newbury, was Newbury. Ten years after incorporation, RIL
Foxhunter Radar and the ECM pod for the Tornado MRCA. Aviquipo three employees: Nick Bance, Paul leased. Ril's staff of 3 people refurbished the had grown from 1 employee and a £10,000
was also successful in selling high voltage connectors and cable Belsey and Yvonne Turner. Bottom facility and opened a production line for overdraft to a thriving, expanding and diversi-
assemblies to the manufacturers of ‘head up’ and ‘head down’ cockpit Right The traditional British brass Foxhunter and Skyshadow cable assemblies. fied enterprise with a turnover in excess of
display systems. Sales were brisk and Reynolds products were well plaque was proudly displayed at the In the fall of 1985, RIL posted its first £2,000,000 and 24 employees.
accepted in Britain with companies like Ferranti, Marconi, Plessey, entry of 5A The Broadway. £100,000 shipment month.
Ranks and Smiths Industries. As sales increased, Reynolds manage-
ment recognized that more testing and assembly needed to be performed
in the United Kingdom on Reynolds products imported by Aviquipo.
In 1982, talks were held concerning a possible Reynolds-Aviquipo joint
venture but in the end Reynolds decided to form its own company in the
U.K. In 1982 Reynolds Industries Limited (RIL) was formed as a Left These
wholly owned subsidiary of Reynolds Industries, Incorporated, with multi-pin
Nick Bance as Managing Director. The goals for the new firm were to high voltage
duplicate the major capabilities of Reynolds Industries in Los Angeles connectors
and to develop products of its own compatible with high voltage used on the
applications. A longer term goal was to become licensed by other U.S. Ferranti Above RIL's highly regarded expertise in encap-
firms to manufacture select products and to import , distribute and Foxhunter sulating high voltage connectors and components,
market these products in the U.K. and Europe. Offices were rented at 5A Radar, were
has led to a substantial volume of business of next
The Broadway in Newbury to be used for engineering, prototype the underpin-
assembly encapsulation. Shown is an 11 KVDC
fabrication and some testing. ning of RIL's
filter box for a RADAR satellite ground station
Above Cable assembly production area in the Canal View ready for encapsulation and subsequent testing.
In early 1983 the growing volume of orders made it apparent that a success.
production facility was needed and in May, 1983, RIL was moved to a Road factory. The factory is airy, spacious and well equipped
facility on Hambridge Lane in Newbury. Full in- house production of for the production of RIL's diversified products.
the Foxhunter and Skyshadow cable assemblies was begun and in 1985
the firm had its first £100,000 shipping month. In 1989, RIL had
outgrown the Hambridge Lane facility and moved into a new 25,000
square foot factory, owned by RIL, on Canal View Road in Newbury.
In 1990, as part of a long range plan to diversify the company, RIL Left RIL has been successful in implementing a
formed a Microwave Products Division to design, manufacture and strategy to diversify the company beyond high
market microwave cable products under license from Storm Products voltage related components and its near total
Company, a Chicago, Illinois firm. The high degree of success attained dependence on defense contracts. A product line
by this division in becoming a supplier of microwave components to the of microwave interconnection components for
European military and commercial tele-communications industry, is the military and commercial radar and tele-
due largely to a heavy investment in test equipment and the building of communications industries, led to the formation
a professional staff of highly qualified microwave engineers and tech- of RIL's Microwave Products Division. This
nicians. division has grown rapidly and represents a
substantial portion of RIL's annual turnover.
Shown is a group of flexible and semi-rigid
microwave cable assemblies using Storm Prod-
ucts Microporous cable.
Ceramic Products Division
Ceramic Products 1983
As Reynolds Advanced series connector business increased, requests
for hermetic, ceramic-to-metal sealed connectors became more fre-
quent. Reynolds had been procuring ceramic connectors from outside
suppliers with less than satisfactory results in terms of quality and
Above Virtually all ceramic brazed assemblies must be tested
delivery. The ceramic industry was a mixed bag of capabilities. Some Above Ceramic brazing and final assembly of com- Above A vacuum furnace with an on-line mass spectrometer, for minute leaks after hot and cold cycling. Shown are hot and
could compound the high alumina ceramic and machine to tight ponents such as connectors and vacuum switches is cryogenic contaminant trap, and a turbo-molecular pump for cold chambers and a mass spectrometer helium leak detector.
tolerances but could not metalize. Some could do both but wanted no capital intensive in terms of equipment and facility. brazing vacuum assemblies. This furnace is used to braze the
part of the risk involved in brazing expensive metal piece parts to the Shown are two computer controlled batch furnaces IVARC vacuum trigger switches produced by the Ceramic
metalized ceramic. In an attempt to create yet another niche business used in brazing connectors and passive components. Products Division.
and to possibly alleviate the existing delivery and quality problems,
Reynolds decided to get into the brazing business. The plan was to
procure metalized ceramic parts and join them with metal detail parts by
batch brazing in the latest computer controlled furnaces available. An
operating division was formed, equipment ordered and space allocated IVARC
within the Los Angeles Connector Division.
Ceramic bulkhead connectors are used primarily to maintain a differen-
tial pressure or to contain high pressure or gases. The Atomic weapons
designers were also concerned about the effect of radiation on plastic
connectors as well as outgassing of plastic over a long period of time.
Some ECM transmitters use liquid dielectrics or gases as an insulating VARC IVARC
medium and as a coolant. These dielectric media are difficult to contain
and become even more so where connectors are involved. Some even
attack silicone rubber seals.
The market, while not huge, proved to be substantial and by 1986 the
Ceramic Division was serving a diverse clientele including Bendix
Kansas City, Litton Industries, Rocket Research, Sandia Corporation Above The VARC is the basic furnace brazed vacuum trigger switch.
and many of the ECM and TWT manufacturers. The post-cold war IVARC's and EVARC's are advanced versions of VARC vacuum
down sizing of the defense industry in the early 1990's, which affected switches. IVARC's have an integral avalanche trigger gap. EVARC's
every Reynolds Industries organization, hit the Ceramics Division Above A manufacturing lot of VARC sub-assem- have added electronic components to aid in the triggering of the
especially hard. Numerous production contracts were severely reduced blies after brazing in a vacuum furnace. Extensive vacuum switch tube. One version, ‘Supervarc,’ is used as a crowbar
or cancelled and the outlook for new business was bleak. in -process testing will certify performance of these in CRT power supplies to shunt transient voltages.
vacuum switches under simulated environmental
In the late 1980's, Reynolds Electronic Products Division in Santa conditions specified by the customer.
Maria developed a series of vacuum trigger switches for use in Safe,
Arming & Firing Systems. The switches, known as IVARC's, were
designed mainly for use in explosive warheads using EFI initiators. The
U.S. Military planners were busy looking for warheads that could
survive the penetration of reactive armor on battlefield tanks as well as Above: Top A high voltage bulkhead
reinforced concrete walls and emplacements. These systems, known as connector manufactured for Rocket
Hard Target Munitions (HTM), became feasible with the advent of EFI's Research Company for use on satellite
and IVARC's. electric propulsion motors. Center A low
inductance, tri-axial, high voltage ce-
The IVARC's, which are made using a high alumina ceramic body and ramic-to-metal connector manufactured
metal electrodes brazed together in a vacuum furnace, were qualified as for Sandia Corporation and Bendix
part of SA&F's for use on several munition type weapons in 1991. In Right Ceramic -to-metal connectors are used within Kansas City. The connector was used on
1993 a production capability for IVARC's was completed within the high voltage power supplies and high vacuum assemblies Trident nuclear warheads. Bottom A
Ceramic Products Division and the IVARC product line moved from because of the need for long term hermetic stability. ceramic-to-metal series 310 feed through
Santa Maria to Los Angeles. Production of these devices is on-going and The ceramic-to-metal sealed connectors shown are ex- connector manufactured for Sandia
numbers in the tens of thousands annually. amples of various sizes and configurations designed and Corporation and used at the full scale
manufactured by the Ceramic Products Division. nuclear weapons test site in Nevada.