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Thread: Old He-Ne Laser Pointers

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Mesa, AZ
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    Default Old He-Ne Laser Pointers

    How does one know when a laser becomes a "laser pointer"? The first He-Ne that was shown being used for that application was the Spectra-Physics model 130. The ad below from 1963 shows Art Schawlow (at Stanford) and Earl Bell (of S-P) using one to point at a blackboard. Schawlow dismissed the laser in an oral history interview as too dim and the pic a publicity stunt, but the idea was there and the laser has a handle on top.

    People apparently used heads with handles and cylindrical He-Ne heads for the purpose until the late '70s when Bergen Expo Systems started selling their model LP-6 seen here. I don't know when exactly they started, but the earliest head I've seen is marked from 1978. Seen here is a complete system from March, 1979. I'd guess the tube and supply were made by Spectra-Physics. A mid-'70s OEM S-P model 136 is shown below as a reference. The three-pin connector is missing from it, but I've seem them of other S-P lasers. What really defines it as a pointer I think, is the controllable shutter on the side of the head. Every other pointer I've seen has a switch there. This one has a mechanical shutter! Also seen below is the same model pointer from the mid-'80s (1983 supply, 1985 head).

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Yorkshire, UK
    Posts
    4,585

    Default

    Great to see these Bob, thanks for posting.

    I have a rechargeable battery powered HeNe laser pointer kicking around somewhere...
    Quote: "There is a theory which states that if ever, for any reason, anyone discovers what exactly the Universe is for and why it is here it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another that states that this has already happened.... Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    mid michigan
    Posts
    792

    Default

    yeah thanks for the pics, I know my first "pointer" was a 5 mw HeNe in a small tool box with a rechargeable battery, that was in the late 1980's and still have it some place

    one time i used it to "point" out the bald spots on my teachers head lol
    Polk SDA SRS, Parasound HCA 3500, Luxman M117, Onkyo 504, 7.62X39, sometimes a ball on a string is the greatest of toys for us nonhuman types. oh and some lasers, lots of lasers

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