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Oral-History:Julian Z. Millar

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This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center.  
 
This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center.  
  
Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, 39 Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8538 USA. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.  
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Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, IEEE History Center at Stevens Institute of Technology, Castle Point on Hudson, Hoboken, NJ 07030 USA or ieee-history@ieee.org. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.  
  
 
It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:  
 
It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:  
  
Julian Z Millar, an oral history conducted in 1973 by Frank A. Polkinghorn, IEEE History Center, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.  
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Julian Z Millar, an oral history conducted in 1973 by Frank A. Polkinghorn, IEEE History Center, Hoboken, NJ, USA.  
  
 
== Interview  ==
 
== Interview  ==
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So that's about the story of my life. We have two children who are doing very well. Our daughter Barbara is associated with the American Telephone and Telegraph Company in New York. She is a publications supervisor for the Pioneer Association office but she has a lot of extra duties. My son Bill graduated from NYU in 1950 after an army standard four years and is associated with the avionics division of ITT at Nutley and he has been working up there on some very sophisticated electronic development programs. On May 1, he was transferred down to an ITT operation in Columbia, Maryland. We are in good health and try to get a little vacation from time to time and do a little travel, do a little yard work. That's the story.  
 
So that's about the story of my life. We have two children who are doing very well. Our daughter Barbara is associated with the American Telephone and Telegraph Company in New York. She is a publications supervisor for the Pioneer Association office but she has a lot of extra duties. My son Bill graduated from NYU in 1950 after an army standard four years and is associated with the avionics division of ITT at Nutley and he has been working up there on some very sophisticated electronic development programs. On May 1, he was transferred down to an ITT operation in Columbia, Maryland. We are in good health and try to get a little vacation from time to time and do a little travel, do a little yard work. That's the story.  
  
[[Category:People and organizations|Millar]] [[Category:Engineers|Millar]] [[Category:Inventors|Millar]] [[Category:Communications|Millar]] [[Category:Radio communication|Millar]] [[Category:Culture and society|Millar]] [[Category:Leisure|Millar]] [[Category:Leisure|Millar]] [[Category:Telegraphy|Millar]] [[Category:Defense & security|Millar]] [[Category:World War II|Millar]] [[Category:Fields, waves & electromagnetics|Millar]] [[Category:Microwave technology|Millar]] [[Category:News|Millar]]
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[[Category:People and organizations|Millar]] [[Category:Engineers|Millar]] [[Category:Inventors|Millar]] [[Category:Communications|Millar]] [[Category:Radio communication|Millar]] [[Category:Engineering and society|Millar]] [[Category:Leisure|Millar]] [[Category:Leisure|Millar]] [[Category:Telegraphy|Millar]] [[Category:Military applications|Millar]] [[Category:World War II|Millar]] [[Category:Fields, waves & electromagnetics|Millar]] [[Category:Microwave technology|Millar]] [[Category:News|Millar]]

Latest revision as of 16:46, 21 November 2014

Contents

About Julian Z. Millar

Julian Millar, a pioneer in electronics and the chief architect of Telex, became fascinated by amateur radio as a boy in high school. He taught himself Morse code and purchased his first radio set in 1915. Millar graduated from the University of Illinois in 1923, and despite his interest in talking movies, took a position with Western Union. Millar spent his entire career with Western Union, interrupted only by his service with the Signal Corps during WWII. After the war, Millar resumed his duties with Western Union in their Radio Research Division. He became assistant vice president in 1952 and retired from Western Union in 1965. Millar continued working as an independent consultant, and was still active in consulting work at the time of his interview.

The interview begins with Millar's early interest in amateur radio, his education at the University of Illinois, from which he graduated in 1923, and his first position with Western Union. Millar worked as assistant chief operator of Washington, D.C. until his transfer to the New York City operating department. He discusses his desire to go into engineering rather than operations and his eventual transfer to Western Union's experimental lab on Long Island. The interview continues with a discussion of his activity in amateur radio. He comments upon his invention of the "two-phase PSK." A large portion of the interview is devoted to a discussion of his experiences in the European theater during WWII. He was a Signal Corps officer on active duty from 1941 to 1945. In this capacity, he supervised the signal depots at Utah and Omaha Beaches, entered Paris with the Third Army, and served in Belgium after the Battle of the Bulge. The last section of the interview focuses on his work in research for Western Union after his war service. He was closely involved in the development of carrier operations, electronic switching, and the Telex project. In 1952, with his promotion to assistant vice president, his work for Western Union became more administrative. At the same time, he did extensive advisory work for the Defense Department, the NSA, and the Air Force. Millar concludes the interview with a discussion of various awards he has received, his activity with professional societies, and his extensive consulting work in international communications.

About the Interview

JULIAN Z. MILLAR: An Interview Conducted by Frank A. Polkinghorn, IEEE History Center, June 15, 1973

Interview # 012 for the IEEE History Center, The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.

Copyright Statement

This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center.

Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, IEEE History Center at Stevens Institute of Technology, Castle Point on Hudson, Hoboken, NJ 07030 USA or ieee-history@ieee.org. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.

It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:

Julian Z Millar, an oral history conducted in 1973 by Frank A. Polkinghorn, IEEE History Center, Hoboken, NJ, USA.

Interview

Interview: Julian Z. Millar Interviewer: Frank A. Polkinghorn Place: Summit, New Jersey Date: June 15, 1973

Amateur Experiences

Polkinghorn:

This is a recording of an interview made on June 16, 1973 with Julian Z. Millar, erstwhile of the Western Union Telegraph Company. The interview is made by Frank A. Polkinghorn with Ralph Lamar operating the recorder. Julian, you were an original amateur, I believe, in your early days. Can you tell us how you got started in electrical things?

Millar:

Well, yes. When I was in high school, I observed the local jeweler putting a large antenna between his rooftop and the courthouse tower. So, I stopped in to ask what it was all about and found out that he was going to receive the time-signal transmission from Arlington, Virginia. But the news and weather that followed were in code, so the jeweler permitted me to stop after the first morning session in high school and listen in to the transmission from Arlington. Before very long, I had learned the Continental Morse Code. This encouraged me to consider the possibility of acquiring an amateur radio set, a transmitter and receiver.

Polkinghorn:

What year would this be?

Millar:

That would be 1915 or thereabouts. I unloaded the attic of all of the papers that were up there and sold them to the junkman, and sold all the loose iron and the copper and everything like that. I had been doing some work when I was in high school. My first work assignment was with the Saline Electric Company in Duke Horn, Illinois. Between my freshman and sophomore years in high school I was in their plant and was a clerk at the office. I kept track of the ice production and the amount of cold grind they sold to the brewery and the ice cream plant next door, the amount of oil they used in the labor, and all of that. So, I had a little money and I spent the money for a three-quarter-inch spark set, which I bought from the Electro Importing Company up in the Boston area.

Polkinghorn:

New York.

Millar:

Was it New York?

Polkinghorn:

Yes.

Millar:

Well, I thought it was Boston, but it doesn't matter. The local hardware dealer in town had a radio set but his was a two-inch spark coil and I could hardly wait until I had made enough money to buy a two-inch spark set. So, we talked back and forth over a distance of about a mile and that was the beginning of my interest in ham radio. Of course, no one had to have a license at that time, and we always operated somewhere below 200 meters — not at any specific place, but somewhere down there. Of course, the war came along and everybody had to close down their radio sets, so that was the end of my two-inch spark coil set.

University of Illinois

Millar:

I had a good elementary education as a student at the Eastern Illinois State Model School, which is associated with the normal school at Charleston, Illinois. I didn't want to be a teacher, so I transferred to the Charleston High School in 1915 and took a regular high school course in preparation for college. I had a very good background as a student and took a competitive examination and won a complete scholarship at the University of Illinois for four years. That included matriculation, fees, laboratory fees, and all expenses for four years. In September of 1919, I went to the University and intended to go into the student army training corps. But it was closed down right in my face. They offered me a substitute, which was the R.O.T.C. So, I joined that and drill was at the south campus two days a week after the 4:30 class.

Time went on and I had a sports car that I had bought by working two more years in the car business at Dukehorn, one year as a meter tester and electrician on the secondary service repairs and installations and another summer working at the Vern Ash Mine and also in Harrisburg for the car company, doing an inventory and various electrical jobs that a high school kid could take care of. I had bought this E.M.F. that had no top. It had two bucket seats and no fenders, an old gas tank, and a triangular tool box on the back. I traded this car for a one kilowatt Thardesen radio set, complete. Of course, the receivers in those days were always just crystal receivers. No one even had an audio amplifier to put on the output, but I went on the air with this set and since this was after the war, I had to have a license, which was "W9DAK." I kept it all the time I was in college. The only reason I ever got rid it was that vacuum tubes came along and spark sets were then obsolete.

When I was in college, I had a liking for broadcasting and used to turn to KDKA at Pittsburgh and listen on headphones. Ambition overtook me and I decided to build a super heterodyne, which was quite an undertaking because I didn't have any IF transformers. I had to use repeaters coupling on the IF amplifier and put all of the tuning of the IF onto the head end of the IF I purchased a Western Electric audio amplifier, which had a real nice loudspeaker, a three-foot diameter cone loudspeaker — my pride and joy. This set did good service. There weren't too many broadcast stations on the air, so selectivity was adequate for the condition of operation. When I left college I was torn between going into the talking movies and going into communications.

Polkinghorn:

When did you graduate from college?

Millar:

In June of 1923.

Polkinghorn:

And that was the University of Illinois?

Film Sound

Millar:

Yes. The reason I was interested in talking movies was that I had done some paid work for a Professor Tikacheny. He was a Russian who had invented putting sounds on the film. He was having trouble getting the sound off of the film, and I was hired at fifty cent an hour to work in the laboratory of the University of Illinois Experiment Station to build him a pre-amplifier that would work. I soon discovered that adding a pre-amplifier didn't do any good because the ratio of the sound energy to the noise on the film was the limiting factor. I soon found an answer due to the fact that Professor Kunz over at the physics department had just invented the cesium-filled photocell. I borrowed one and brought it over to our lab and put it in the machine and it did materially better on the signal-to-noise ratio coming off the film primarily because it had less noise in the photocell. The film noise was adequately low. So, we had sound on movies. I had a friend who had gone with MGM out on the coast, and he wanted me to come out there and work.

Western Union

But I finally decided to go with Western Union because they offered me a two-year study program in Washington D.C. The pay was good; it was enough that we could get married and move to Washington and live there. So, I accepted the offer of Western Union. I went to George Washington University for two hours a day and worked at the company for six hours a day for two years. Then they made me the assistant chief operator of the city of Washington, a position I didn't like at all because it was in operations and I wanted technical work, I wanted engineering. Finally in September 1926, a position opened in New York, not in the engineering department but in the operating department. Nevertheless I thought we'd better take it, so we put our home on the market and my wife and our son Bill, who was just a baby at that time, went out to stay with her mother for a little while. I went to New York and sounded this job out. I had to rewrite the whole operating routine for the Western Union operators. I had no stomach for it so I put on the steam and did the job as quickly as possible and I said, "Now, give me something in engineering."

Well, it turned out that at that time the company had decided to open an experimental laboratory at Watermill, Long Island, which is about a hundred miles out of New York. I was invited for an interview and subsequently offered the position there to my great delight. I rented a place for us to live in, which my wife, Dolores, didn't see until she arrived. We got our goods up from the home in Washington and installed another establishment in South Hampton, Long Island. We were there for the next fifteen years, until spring of 1941.

Ham and Army Amateur Radio

Millar:

It was in that time period that I became a little more affluent in the ham business. I built a one-kilowatt vacuum tube set using General Electric carbon anode tubes, a pair of them in push-pull, and I had an RCA superheaded nine receiver for distant weak signals. I used a regenerator receiver with one stage of radio frequency amplification on it. That pulled in the Australians and the English and the Italians much better than my super heterodyne.

Polkinghorn:

This all in high frequencies.

Millar:

Well, yes. I operated on eighty meters, forty meters, and twenty meters, depending on the time of day and the distance I wanted to reach. But that set was a good set and I learned quite a little bit about newer types of antennas — the V antenna and what we called, "the folded dipole." It was omni directional, but it was a broadband antenna and we could use it to get nearby coverage for ordinary use. It didn't have much gain, so it was only used for local transmission. I was also in the army amateur radio. I was the NC2, meaning I was the "net control number 2" of the second core area net. Since WLN at Governor's Island was very seldom on the air, it became ideal to have a net almost every evening.

Polkinghorn:

Governor's Island was the primary, I take it?

Millar:

Yes. It was the headquarters of the second core area in the station there, which was WLN. I was WNO, operating around, not on amateur frequencies, but army frequencies, which were nearby, special frequencies. We used pistol control and all of that. That time period, from late 1926 until February 1941, were my formative years in electronics. This laboratory dealt in very advanced electronic research. We had the second duty of keeping track of everything other people were doing. I used to read a lot of the published literature and make reports on articles that had been posed. We used to keep a constant observation on the air to see what was going on, to see who had established new various circuits, where they were operating to, frequencies used, and all of that.

Western Union and Bell

Millar:

I was never much of an inventor, although I did invent a phase modulator carrier system, which I was always very proud of. We call it a "two-phase PSK" now, but the company didn't adopt it because even though it took less bandwidth and was a better performer than some of the other systems, they decided to adopt the FSK system that Mr. Brenthall and Butwood had developed, based quite a bit on the work that I had done. I mean by that that the phaseous system is not subject to level changes to the extent that an AM system would be. The fact that it required common equipment led the company to work for the frequency-modulated system, which later became known as FSK. But I was always proud that the company gave me credit for spark plugging the development, leading the thing into what I call a polar carrier. It was foreground of something good that came later on. But I was sort of a specialist running down trouble and keeping up with the advances made by other companies. We had a very close association with the Bell Telephone Laboratories, partly through the patent license agreement, which was a cross-license agreement that Western Union had with Western Electric. But also because of our good relations with the engineers at Bell Laboratories. As a matter of fact, Ralph Bown was one of my good friends, and he let me have the very first of the cathode ray tubes that he allowed to come out of the laboratory. I played with it and used it for balancing of cables between the United States and New York and the South American cables.

Polkinghorn:

This would have been what year?

Millar:

That would have been in the early 1930s. It was a tube in which you had to control the heater current to exactly one ampere. It used about a 150 volt accelerating potential, and we got a nice image on the screen. It was a capacitor-deflected type plus the magnetic deflection. It served in the laboratory for a lot of uses. But that was typical of the cooperation that we had. Of course, we were operating the AM-type frequency telegraph carrier equivalents that we had purchased from Western. There was a lot of engineering coordination always between the two companies. Those early days were days in which I still carried on my army activity. I was commissioned in June 1923 as a second lieutenant of the Signal Corps, but I'd had a little experience in radio for the Signal Corps in 1921 when we sent advanced students to Camp Alfred Vail, which later became Fort Monmouth, for six weeks of advanced training. After that was over I hired out as a radio operator on a Curtis Jenny and the SCR109 radio set was being tried out, the first of the airborne radios that I had ever known about. I think probably it was about the first one that had been used by the Signal Corps. Joe Morbourn, who was then a captain, was down in Washington for the Signal Corps. He was in charge of this project but he was not at Fort Monmouth or Camp Alfred Vale. But I worked on that job for something like seventy-five cents an hour for five weeks. When the project was completed they told me I could go home, so I went back to school — finished up. But Western Union never went into radio. They always found that the operating expense was greater than what they were having on the cable system, and they were not very progressive. I used to be somewhat concerned that they weren't taking advantage of the opportunities of radio, but this was in an era when a radio license was rather hard to negotiate. It wasn't until after the war that Western Union was able to negotiate a license agreement through RCA. Well, the war came along in Europe...

World War II

Signal Corps Reserve

Polkinghorn:

Now we are talking about World War II?

Millar:

That is right. I read the newspapers and was a captain in the Signal Corps Reserve at that time. I learned one day that they were considering ordering up the reserves for one year. So, it wasn't long until I got my little Valentine's Day card. It came on Valentine's Day, I remember, and I was called down to Fort Monmouth to be interviewed. I hopped in the car the next day and drove down to General Armstead, who was in command, and he interviewed me and said, "Well, you will receive orders to report to the Signal Corps Board." My orders came through in March of 1941; I believe that was the month. At any rate I went down to Fort Monmouth and became a member of the Signal Corps Board, which was an organization that dealt both in tactical systems for field use and in fixed-plan installations, which were used for general trunking communications. I was assigned to the early graveyard tests, the Northeast radar tests, so I worked with the 268 and the SCR 270 radars.

Polkinghorn:

Fort Hancock?

Millar:

One of them was located there. One was out in Long Island and several were up and down the northeast coast. We were making observations of flights that were out over the Atlantic and inland also. Right out of the clear sky on September 1, 1941, I was ordered out to Fort Leavenworth to take the command of General Stamp's school — a big surprise. My family had come down to Fort Monmouth to live, so we took the two youngsters out of school. They were both in high school at that time, and we packed four big trunks and went out to Leavenworth. Out there, there were no quarters available for families, so they lived in an apartment in the town of Fort Leavenworth and I took up quarters on the post with seven other officers in school. I was there three months and got my certificate on December 6, 1941. General Arnold came out to present the graduation certificates. After the graduation exercises we were heading back to Fort Monmouth, and at Springfield, Illinois, while having dinner on Sunday afternoon we heard a newsboy calling and went out and bought a paper. That was the first we had known of the Pearl Harbor attack. So, I got in the car and we drove all night and got into Fort Monmouth on Monday morning and reported for duty. I was ordered back to the Signal Corps Board. General Almstead said he had in mind putting me in charge of the Board as soon as it was possible to do so. So, I worked for another year and received my promotion from major to lieutenant colonel. Then, in June of 1942, I was made a full colonel and put in charge of the Board, which was a position I held for another year and a half or so.

Normandy

Millar:

We had a lot of very interesting technical projects, some 500 in number, but running in nature all the way from little gadgets that a pigeon could carry on its leg to hold messages to the most advanced communications that the Signal Corps was developing and purchasing under contract. I had a very interesting technical background there. Then early in March of 1944, as a matter of fact, I was ordered to the ETO and became the signal officer for the Base Section Number Two of the communications zone, which was actually the Normandy base. I was given the command of something like 20,000 signal troops. I went over to Normandy with the first army on D+4, took charge of the signal depots at Utah and Omaha Beaches. I built pole lines, installed switchboards, put in radio nets, and did everything that a signal officer has to do. I had a staff of twenty-six officers and 285 enlisted personnel in my office. We were in an old abbey and we slept out, we ate out, and we did our work in the field with the troop units. Late in August, the whole command was transferred to the interior of France in the Loire section. I was sent forward to the signal layout and we were pretty close up to the German armies because we were with the Third Army on its eastward drive.

Liberation of Paris

Millar:

As a matter of fact, I was in support of the Third Army as far as signal was concerned. We made our new headquarters at LeMans and I went into Paris with a French division under General Letrik.

Polkinghorn:

This was the first time they went in.

Millar:

Right. They were given the honor of liberating Paris. I had an officer who had been in World War I. Major Bean had married a French girl and had been forced to flee from France. But being an American national, he and his wife were allowed to come out by the German army when they invaded France. He left, joined the American army, and came back. I found him invaluable to have with me because he spoke French well and he knew the area. He worked for a radio firm in Paris and he knew his way around, having lived in France for some twenty years. He knew what to look for and what to avoid. He and I and Sergeant Hogan were in this army halftrack, and I wanted to preserve if I could the long lines building in the northeast part of Paris because we wanted to use that for Paris military communications headquarters. Bean, Hogan, and I got there and the manager of the station fell on their shoulders and wept. Then he told us there were seven Germans upstairs, setting the charges to blow the building down. One by one we took them out with our carbines and saved the building. We were happy and the manager was happy and I said, "Why aren't the operators working?" And they said, "No circuits."

So we went down to the basement. The Germans had chopped off all of the entrance cables even with the floor and had demolished the mainframes, so there were no circuits. We had the job of getting air hammers in and pulling up the stubs of the cables and putting our own cable stubs on, which didn't match at all. Then we had to rehabilitate the main cable that led into Paris from the west. There were over three hundred breaks in it, largely around St. Cyr, where the American armies were very heavy and where there was a railroad yard. But this was a large cable. It was a 193 quad armored cable about seven inches in diameter, two series of steel armor wire on it. We had no sleeves that size and nothing to work with, but we had to find all these breaks and repair them. To do this job, we didn't have adequate technical help, so I ordered over thirty cable splicers from the United States. I gave them equipment. I gave them K51 trucks and test equipment, and half were from the New York Company and half of them from the Virginia Company. These thirty guys really worked twenty-four hours a day and got that cable in service. It branched out into eighty-eight quads, one sector going out west in Brittany and the other going up north to Normandy. Getting that cable in operation meant we could obtain at least a hundred telephone channels, which were badly needed, and we had good service out of it.

Battle of the Bulge

Millar:

I was just beginning to settle down along about December 1, when the Battle of the Bulge came along. I was ordered up into Belgium to help restore the lateral communications between the two army groups — the British on the North and the American army group on the South. So, I was in Leaise Nemours and Amsterdam and slept out all the time, working to get cable circuits and microwave radio channels operating. In the beginning the only radio they had was the high-frequency radio channels, but we finally managed to get things hooked up in pretty good shape. I was then ordered over to the tenth replacement depot, in Wittfield in England because the three bases in France had been consolidated at that time into western France: the Normandy Base, the Brittany Base, and the Loire Section were all merged into what was known as Western Base. General Collins was being retired, so he and I wound up over at the depot and came home together. I waited for assignment to some other theater, but that didn't come about either. In April 1945, I was asked if I would object to release from active duty and I said, "No." I stayed in the reserve, but they released me from active duty. I reported to the company and had the big surprise of my life — I was transferred to New York.

Western Union's Radio Research Division

Polkinghorn:

You reported to Washington?

Millar:

I reported to New York City because I was working at the time at the Watermill Laboratory. So I reported to the vice president in New York, who was Mr. Ferdinand Dooley. He asked me to come back three days later. He had something that he wanted to talk to me about. I came back three days later and he offered me a transfer to New York City to be put in charge of a new division in the development research department known as "The Radio Research Division." I was to head it up. I went back home and Dolores and I talked all night, debating whether we should give up our lovely home in South Hampton and move to New York. What to do? Well, we had decided that if we wanted any future advancement, the thing to do was to come to New York. Anyhow, it was putting me in charge of an activity that would develop rather rapidly, namely the microwave radio relay operations. I accepted and came to New York. My first assistant in the new department was Mr. W.B. Silinger. I gathered together eight or ten other engineers who were interested in microwave work and we set up shop.

Microwave Systems

Millar:

That was the beginning of a two-year struggle to establish the first of the microwave systems that were to be used for telegraphy. We built a system from New York to Philadelphia first, consisting of two radio channels to try out in the operation over the system and that worked very well, so we extended the network to Washington. From Washington to Pittsburgh and from Pittsburgh back to New York. The outline of the activity was reported to the technical press in an article that I wrote for the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. There were other articles that were written for the Institute of Radio Engineers and for other technical publications. But those were very hectic days, never a dull moment. You always had to develop new apparatus items to work with the system that you had. For example, the Sperry people developed a three-cavity Klystron tube operating at 4,000 megahertz up to about ten watts. This was a big advance in the technology at the time because we wanted to use wave-guide fed antennas. We wanted ten watts of power; we wanted a wider bandwidth, something like 10% bandwidth so that there would be uniform modulation throughout the band. We wanted high gain, we wanted 20 db or so of gain, so Sperry came through with a beautiful tube for us. We had a quite a lot of work on receivers to do.

Of course, in those days we had to develop our own laboratory equipment, build our own wave-guide apparatus for measuring power and the ESWR on various types of antennas, wave-guide filters and whatnot. We actually had to develop a frequency meter that was a large cylindrical cavity in which we had inserted glossy elements at certain places to knock down the spurious resonances inside the cavity so that it would just respond to one frequency. We got a queue of about 30,000 that was excellent for a wave-meter. This went on from 1945 to 1949. In 1949 Mr. Demi, a previous vice president, retired, and Mr. H.B. Cortwith became the new vice president. I was elected director of research for the Western Union Company. This was a job of considerable responsibility because I had all of the activities of the development and research in the same department to look out after.

Electronic Switching and Telex

Millar:

There was a lot of work to be done in carrier developments. Electronic switching came along. We had been using relay type switches for private systems — mostly private systems. We had our own, our plan 21-22 system, which was relay operations automatic switching installed at fifteen large area centers in the United States. This was a tremendously large job in physical chemical research. We had radio research that was kept up, we had all the carrier work, and we had the facsimile. The facsimile was used primarily for local terminations. We called them "the death pack" and some fifty thousand of them were built.

It wasn't long before Western Union embarked on in its Telex program for domestic service. I was in on that from the very beginning. We were going to first set up international channels between Canada and the United States, which was done. I led the argument at the operating committee to convince Western Union to put in the Telex for domestic utility all over the United States. This took a lot of capital, but I thought it would be a strong competitor to the TWX of the Bell System. That turned out to be the case, and of course after my retirement several years ago the two systems were combined. Western Union purchased the TWX from the Bell System and merged the two systems. We were very much in the foreground on electronic switching for telegraph transmission. We had so many private systems to build for companies such as the General Electric Company and large firms of the private systems — United Airlines and others. I was head over heels developing these special systems for them and knew we had to get ahead with electronic switching. So, I played with the operating committee to get enough money to contract on the outside for a theoretical study, which took about a year and was done by High Con Eastern up in Cambridge. That was done by Mac Hubbard, Al Poteri, John DeTurk, and some other fellows that they had working up there. This was in 1950 or thereabouts, maybe 1952. I am not sure about the exact date.

I learned that the Air Force had a project known as "423L" and it was said to be in electronic switching. So I called up General Hogan, who was commanding Flag Field Detachment Number One, and asked him about it. He said, "Yes, we have such programs. We didn't know that Western Union had done any work on electronic switching." I said, "Well, we haven't publicized the work that we have done, but I will be glad to give you a briefing." He agreed. I went out to Rattsfield, took my flow charts and my book, and sat down to show him that we'd completed a theoretical study. We even had block diagrams and had done a lot of simulations models. They were quite excited about the work we had been doing and decided to cancel that part of the program which had to do with a two-year study and throw it open for bids to go right ahead and build a system. Of course, no one else had done any steady work and couldn't bid on it. So Western Union obtained the contract on a sole source basis and we went ahead with what was known as "Com Log Net" for the Air Force. It later became ODN for the Defense Department, the automatic digital network for the Defense Department. It is still in operation to this day. It's been augmented in Europe and other foreign countries. It is a worldwide system now, handling all of the defense requirements for digital transmission, including long serial bit streams of a classified nature.

Promotion to AVP and Defense Work

Millar:

Those were busy days. In 1953 I got a promotion to assistant vice president, which was more administrative and less technical. I was then required to work on budgets and figure out which systems would be the most economic, giving the best return on the capital funds invested. I handled a lot of personnel matters. It gave me time to take part in outside activities. I had a little background in that. Right after World War II I was asked to take a position in the Defense Department on the Safety Development Board. They put me in charge of the Radio Equipment Panel, and these panels are composed both of civilian and military representatives. I held that job for about three years. We monitored all the radio projects of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force. I want to say, "monitored” because I really mean that. We had the budget, technical meetings, and had to travel a lot to make sure that there was minimum duplication of everything and the maximum results achieved by the money spent. When General Eisenhower became president, they shuffled the Defense Department around a bit and abolished the Research and Development Board. John Quarrels, who was assistant secretary for research and development, asked me to join a special ad hoc group, known as "The Technical Advisory Panel on Electronics." I accepted and the first job I had was to become the head of the steering committee for Project 414, which was a fire-control system that was originally developed for ninety millimeter aircraft guns, but they wanted to swing it over and make it the fire-control system for the Nike weapon system. I spent a whole month getting oriented in that job and making final decisions. Of course, I had to work closely with the Martin Company of Baltimore, the Bell Telephone Laboratories, and the White Sands people. People were doing the testing all over. We finally got things starting out so that it became the missile master for the Nike battery controls. We had to integrate it with the old Sage system, which was the system for interceptor aircraft. The two had to be compatible, so we had to have some switches made in the transmission techniques and the format, and things like that and the programming for Sage.

At the end of that job, the company began to use me again for a little while. They threw another one at me. They had a data link problem. The General Electric Company had a contract for a frequency-division system and the Bell Laboratories had a contract for a time-division system. All these aircrafts were coming out of production lines and they still didn't have any data links. I was asked to settle the argument as to which system was the better. You just couldn't do this from a straight theoretical point of view: you had to make some field tests. I made pretty elaborate tests down at Florida, and I had some experts on this committee. We finally decided on the time-division system, so it became the basic system used in Sage. The frequency-division system suffered from doppler interference effects. It was all right when two transmitters were being received by one aircraft, but when three of them got into the picture the smear was pretty bad. It was the field test that proved the time division system.

In 1953 I was invited to go onto for the advisory board of the National Security Agency. They had three panels, a communications panel in the beginning, a mathematics panel, and a computer panel. They put me in charge of the communications panel. We met every month or so and had board meetings in between times. This went on year after year, and finally the communication panel became known as the Electromagnetic Reception Panel. I found that I was dealing with all the intercept problems of a technical type. The over flights and the worldwide intercept system using large-scale circular array antennas and the whole gamut of intercept activity. It wasn't until July 1, 1971 that the director of the agency asked me, since I was a member of the board for seventeen years, would I consider termination of my tenure since the budget required a certain amount of restructuring of the board and they were going to make some administrative changes.

I agreed and got rid of that responsibility, but there is always a lot of overlap. In 1960 I was invited to be a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Air Force. That was a whole new structure of problems. I worked with Bill Radford, who was head of the communications group in the Air Force Board. Their arrangement is to keep you briefed but only make you active for one year or three years. At the end of my three-year tenure, I just stayed on the sidelines; and after several years of briefing, they let me go.

But this is all part of what I was doing outside of the company activity. I attended the CCIR and the CCITT activities as a company representative. I was a member of the executive committee of the CCIR in Washington at the Department of State and a member of the administrative board of the CCITT in Washington under Dick Black, also at the Department of State. I attended the international meetings on Committee Four of the CCIR, which was Communications Satellites, and Committee Nine, which was the Microwave Radio Relay Committee. In the CCITT I was active in committees: One was Tarrifs, Three was Operations; and the new one, Special Committee A, was data transmission. That took more time than all the others put together. I went to the planning meetings at various places; the last was in Oslo. Those were the things that kept me busy aside from Western Union activities. It was likely that I had this promotion to assistant V.P. because then I could move around and didn't have to be at the desk everyday.

Polkinghorn:

It always helps.

Millar:

Yes.

Honors

Polkinghorn:

Tell us about some of the awards you have gotten.

Millar:

In the Institute of Radio Engineers, I was made a fellow in 1956 based on work that I had done in the microwave radio relay development primarily, although at the time I was with the telegraph company and doing a few other things as well.

Polkinghorn:

So you were living on Long Island at that time?

Millar:

Oh, no. After World War II we moved to an apartment in New York City and I was going to Columbia at nights for three years, two nights a week at Columbia. It wasn't until 1949 that we moved out here to Summit. I was living out here at Summit when I received the IRE Fellow Award.

Polkinghorn:

It just occurred to me that I might have been the award chairman about that time but I don't remember it.

Millar:

Well, I wouldn't remember it either. I didn't know anything about such organizations at that juncture. Then in 1962, I received the AIEE Fellow Award for work that I had done in the communications division, in some nuclear isotope power supply work, and also emergency power supply development for microwave radio relay systems. I guess I was about the last fellow in the AIEE, the last class of fellows they ever had. Time went on and I became a bit more active in the newly formed Communication Technology Group. We worked hard to set up the group and get it organized and build up its membership. In the time period of 1954 through 1955, for two years I was the national chairman of the Professional Group on Communication Systems, which it was then called. Lloyd Lerkner gave me a plaque commemorating that assignment.

Polkinghorn:

Very nice.

Millar:

Then in 1967, the Professional Group on Communications Systems made me the recipient of the Achievement Award. That award is given each year to an engineer who throughout his entire professional career has contributed the most to communications technology. I was a lucky recipient in 1967 for that. Then in 1970 I was made a distinguished alumnist of the University of Illinois Electrical Engineering Alumni Association. I was one of the first who had been awarded that citation. They had such awards in other fields before, but they selected me out of some 8,000 electrical engineering graduates who were living. I was proud of that award. In 1972 I was the recipient of the North Jersey Section Award. I had been a member of and headed up the awards committee of the North Jersey Section for a number of years. I would assume that award came as a result of some activity like that plus just attending meetings and plugging along each year on Section problems.

I think it was about ten years ago that I became a member of the awards committee of the Communications Technology Group — held it for several more years. Then a couple of years ago, when the Communications Technologies Group was made into the Communications Society, I became chairman of the awards board of the Communications Society. Each year we have the usual nominations of IEEE major awards, then come the IEEE field awards, and then in September the two prize paper awards. More recently they have adapted the system of fellow evaluation, so I happen to be the chairman of the evaluation committee for the Communications Society. Each and every one of the fellow nominations who have requested evaluation by the Communications Society have to be evaluated. So, I have a committee of two experts helping me, Bob Aron of the Bell Telephone Laboratories in Holmdel and Jack Jablo, who is technical director at ITT Defense Communications up in Nutley. We three have to review some thirty-two nominations; and we have to submit an evaluation for each and every one of those nominations otherwise no one from the Communications Society would be elected a fellow. They all have to be put in to the committee by June 15. Yesterday was the deadline on that and I got all of them in on time.

Polkinghorn:

Well, so I came in at just the right time.

Retirement and Consulting Work

Millar:

I got my Army retirement in 1960 and the parade of review which was held in my honor at Fort Monmouth. This was the only time that Fort Monmouth had put on a full garrison review in honor of a retiring reserve officer. They had a retirement cake in the club and invited some fifty guests from all over the United States. Most of them came and we had quite a parade review. I really could never figure out why I deserved such a high honor as that. I retired from the Western Union Company in 1965, having reached mandatory retirement age of sixty-five. I became a self-employed consultant. I asked them to give me my retirement on September 1, 1965. I was looking around for something to do as a consultant. I went into Communications Systems Incorporated up at Paramus and was offered a position there on a daily basis without any pension benefits or anything like that — just coming in each day and working for them. I accepted. Then the company wanted me to stay one month longer, and so I lost my vacation that year but I went to work for CSI just the same.

Polkinghorn:

Yes. I remember when you showed up there.

Millar:

Yes. You and I were there together, Frank. I first worked for Ray Hanton, who subsequently became associated with Philco.

Polkinghorn:

I saw him a year ago, but I didn't recognize him because his face was all covered.

Millar:

Yes. He grew a beard. After a month or so they transferred me to Bill Seacheck, and I was his review specialist in technical direction. In other words, I reviewed the reports as they were written or being written and sat in on the various conferences that were held with the people who were doing the work. They first organized the program, then they had a review about the middle of the program, and finally the last review. Then we had the published report to edit, to check out to make sure that everything was complete and there were no errors. Things went along very well. I worked up there until some time in 1967, I believe it was. Then at that time, the company wasn't working me as strong as it had been so I began to take on other assignments. In March of 1966 I was offered a position as chief consultant and a corporate director of the Hazeltine Corporation down in Long Island. And I was glad to accept that because it promised steady income and joining hands with a company that I thought was progressive and needed help in getting ahead with its technical programs.

Polkinghorn:

You worked in the systems at that time.

Brazil and Panama

Millar:

Not entirely. They used to have me in a day or so at a time and it just dwindled down. The Hazletine job wasn't full time or anything. But there came a time when the CSI work diminished rather markedly. I took a position with Page Engineers in Washington, and they sent me to Brazil as head of five consultants to do a new national telecommunications plan for the republic. I had a radio engineer, a switching engineer, a traffic engineer, an economist, and a finance man. We went down to Rio and traveled all over the country to see what they had first, to see what they needed the most, and made a lot of studies on population growth and the need for communications. That report was completed in Washington. It became two volumes about two inches thick and now has been implemented by the Brazilian authorities. But we were working in the office of the president of Ambertel, which was the acronym for the Brazilian telecommunications company that was government-owned. That was a very interesting assignment. I came back to Page to do the report.

Then they sent me to Panama with another consultant. I had a team of microwave people to go ahead with the earth station for the Panamanian government to work with the Atlantic satellite. We surveyed land and chose a valley where we could have good coordination between the Panamanian station, Puerto Rico, Colombia and other earth stations we knew were being built. We worked up the complete interphase with the various communication entities in Panama. The Verzaluz Power and Light Company operated the telephone systems in Panama City and Cologne, which was fully automatic original equipment. The other company was Communicaciones, which was the [unintelligible] company. We had to make contractor engines, sign contracts, and purchase equipment and everything else for about a five million dollar earth station installation. I did not stay down there for the actual installation but came back to Page and wrote the report that specified what was to be done in each phase of the operation. That was the last work I did for Page, but the president of Ambertel in Rio had come to Washington and became associated with the InterAmerican Development Bank. He asked me to go to five Central American countries and make studies on each one of those. I went down to those countries by myself. I did a report on each country. I went to Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Guatemala.

Polkinghorn:

How long did you stay in each of those?

Millar:

Ten days or two weeks, something like that, in each country. Just long enough to get a feel for what they had and often what they needed and how it tied into the ITM network, the Internal Telecommunications Network. I made five reports to the bank and that was a very interesting assignment. Since I represented the bank, the local people were most hospitable. They arranged for me to see everything that I needed to see and read any reports they had that were pertinent and talk with their communications people to find out what they really wanted and what they couldn't get under their own financial power. I came back to Washington and I wrote a proposal for Melpar, which won the award. That was a lucrative job, I am glad that I took that one.

Polkinghorn:

This was for the equipment that you recommended for that other job?

Other Consulting Work

Millar:

I wrote a proposal in response to a government RFP, and they won the award. Melpar had to furnish all the equipment and software for the job. I was just involved with writing the proposal. Then I did a job for RCA in Camden. In that one I recommended that they not attempt to do this job. They finally agreed not to bid on it, and they were lucky. They would have lost their shirt on it otherwise, as they found out later. The firm that did bid on it isn't doing too well. I have done now just little jobs for firms like Teleconsult in Washington. I became an associate of that firm a couple of years ago, and they gave me quite a little work. I spent three weeks for them in January of this year, and last week I spent all week for the firm. I enjoy working with them because they do a lot of work in the international field, mostly in South and Central America, but also a lot in Africa, Indonesia, and in the Pacific. They have quite a lot of need for consultants, but on a loose basis. It comes and goes; I never know what is coming up next week. But I enjoy doing consultants work because it keeps me charged with the need to maintain something like a reasonable expertise. After all, I am no longer just around the house all the time; I can get away and do a few things. The only thing that has ever bothered me very much is that when I do work for one of my clients, I lose my social security. On the other hand, every year that I pay my total tax my bracket goes up. So, now in July I will be seventy-two years old and I can tell the Social Security Administration that anything I make from now on in, I keep.

Polkinghorn:

Right.

Family

Millar:

So that's about the story of my life. We have two children who are doing very well. Our daughter Barbara is associated with the American Telephone and Telegraph Company in New York. She is a publications supervisor for the Pioneer Association office but she has a lot of extra duties. My son Bill graduated from NYU in 1950 after an army standard four years and is associated with the avionics division of ITT at Nutley and he has been working up there on some very sophisticated electronic development programs. On May 1, he was transferred down to an ITT operation in Columbia, Maryland. We are in good health and try to get a little vacation from time to time and do a little travel, do a little yard work. That's the story.