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Thread: The First Visible CW Laser

  1. #1
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    Default The First Visible CW Laser

    I recently bought an issue of Electronics World from December 1962 to see the article written in it about lasers. I just got it and wow, what a great article. There was even a very nice picture of my Hughes Model 200 ruby laser system. That's what I was hoping for!

    But as I thumbed through it, I came across the following page announcing the very first commercial laser with a visible CW beam! It's the Perkin Elmer / Spectra-Physics Model 110. I have one of these in my collection, but it's missing its cylindrical covers and the power supply. This is also the model laser borrowed by Leith & Upatnieks to make their first holograms with laser light the very month of this publication. It was actually available starting in May of '62.

    Only the head is visible in the picture of it here, but it included an in-line control with a start button and an RF control knob, and a power supply. John Eckstrand of SP, who's been there almost since that time, recently sent me a scanned copy of the owner's manual for it which showed the power supply. In all my searching, this is only the third picture of this laser I've found (the second being in the manual).

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	62.jpg 
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ID:	18201

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by robert hess View Post
    I recently bought an issue of Electronics World from December 1962 to see the article written in it about lasers. I just got it and wow, what a great article. There was even a very nice picture of my Hughes Model 200 ruby laser system. That's what I was hoping for!

    But as I thumbed through it, I came across the following page announcing the very first commercial laser with a visible CW beam! It's the Perkin Elmer / Spectra-Physics Model 110. I have one of these in my collection, but it's missing its cylindrical covers and the power supply. This is also the model laser borrowed by Leith & Upatnieks to make their first holograms with laser light the very month of this publication. It was actually available starting in May of '62.

    Only the head is visible in the picture of it here, but it included an in-line control with a start button and an RF control knob, and a power supply. John Eckstrand of SP, who's been there almost since that time, recently sent me a scanned copy of the owner's manual for it which showed the power supply. In all my searching, this is only the third picture of this laser I've found (the second being in the manual).

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	62.jpg 
Views:	47 
Size:	1.35 MB 
ID:	18201


    Very Cool Bob.

    I really like all the interesting historical stuff you post here. It's great seeing your findings and research. So, when does the "Hess Laser History Museum" open???

  3. #3
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    I wish someone would establish such a place, but lasers got real big & heavy real fast and i have neither the space, back nor budget for it. I could win the lottery .......

    I started off with the Hughes ruby and looking for something older that's still operational. Four years later and I'm still looking. In the process, I've identified 24 commercial laser models from 7 manufacturers that were available between Maiman's press release (July 1960) and the end of the Kennedy years (December 1963). I have 9 of them represented in my collection so far (counting the "Missing Link" laser described below). One of them is the Perkin Elmer Model 5200 He-Ne head we traded for. That was PE's first model laser after their deal with SP ended in July 1963, but the particular one we traded for was made in '68. I have another PE-5200 full system (from Sam Goldwasser) made in '66.
    Last edited by Eidetic; 07-10-2010 at 17:06.

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    6328 Angstroms is that = 632nm?

    Really cool article Robert, and thnx for sharing. These old mothers are really REALLY cool.

    If this was published in 1962, does this mean that the first CW laser with visable light was born the same year?

    thnx.
    /Rickard
    Last edited by rfourt; 07-11-2010 at 01:20.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by robert hess View Post
    I wish someone would establish such a place, but lasers got real big & heavy real fast and i have neither the space, back nor budget for it. I could win the lottery .......
    I think you can with a little bit of work. Just start a little non for profit and collect donations, equipment and literature,,,, For FREE. It can be done!


    Quote Originally Posted by rfourt View Post
    6328 Angstroms is that = 638nm?
    Also known as 0.6328um or around 475THz Angstroms were popular back in the 60's.

  6. #6
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    hehe..

    Angstroms sounds like a swedish or scandinavian name

    "Ängströms"

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    Angstrom is a Swedish name and refers to 0.1 nanometer

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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by 300EVIL View Post
    Angstroms were popular back in the 60's.
    ....until their popularity waned following a series of angstrom attacks. A name change was suggested by the wavelength club, but the federal government quickly enforced a compulsory neutering programme for all known angstroms.

    Sorry, it was a good party last night

    Good stuff Mr Hess
    http://img62.imageshack.us/img62/3985/laser.gif

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    Recklessly interfering with Darwin’s natural selection process, thereby extending the life cycle of dim-witted ignorami; thus perpetuating and magnifying the danger to us all, by enabling them to breed and walk amongst us, our children and loved ones.





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    A friend on another forum just did the calculation for inflation, and he said what cost $7,900 in 1962 would cost $55,421.36 in 2009. That's $18,474/mW for 3mW of red light. I just bought 1200mW of battery powered hand held blue laser light for $0.17/mW!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by robert hess View Post
    A friend on another forum just did the calculation for inflation, and he said what cost $7,900 in 1962 would cost $55,421.36 in 2009. That's $18,474/mW for 3mW of red light. I just bought 1200mW of battery powered hand held blue laser light for $0.17/mW!
    Interesting info on the 1st Visible Laser... Thanks for sharing..

    BTW.. may I ask which Laser that would be...
    Sounds like a bargain...


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