I worked at EIL between the years of 1973 and 1977, approximately 4 years.....
EIL started in the mid 60's as
Edgerly Instrument Labs, and old man Edgerly was actually living in the building at
1830 York Road in Timonium MD when I first started working there in 1973.
He died (I think) in 1974. Sometime in either the late 60's or early 70's
(70, 71, 72???) Hallie Rice bought the company.
A little background on Mr. Edgerly: His name is Albert Edgerly.
He was born in Connecticut on April 21, 1893, and died in Timonium on September 4, 1976 at
the age of 83 years old. He enlisted in the Navy on April 25, 1917, and separated on May 24, 1921
EIL was into three things:
1) the calibration of electronic test equipment
2) the repair and modification of panel meters
3) and electrical service.
The electrical service side consisted mainly of
the testing of heavy and high voltage relays, and to this end, they developed a
line of circuit breaker test sets, which somehow, are still around and being
actively sold. I guess it's one thing they did right.
I worked in the electronics lab repairing and calibrating mostly digital voltmeters and RF
stuff. I also spent about a year down in North Carolina at MCAS Cherry Point working
on four service contracts.
I left EIL in 1977 to go to work for
Westinghouse. Even after leaving EIL, I couldn't stay out of trouble with
them..... I was working in the calibration lab for Westinghouse in Building 21
up in Hunt Valley, around the 80-81 timeframe, and got a bunch of analog meters
in to check as part of incoming inspection (I was working the AC/DC standards
bench at the time). I wound up rejecting about 15% of the meters, maybe
out of a quantity of 100 or so. Somehow EIL found out that I was the one
who was rejecting them, and requested that they be retested.... I guess because
they thought I might be trying to "pay them back" for the way I was treated
while in my last half of employment for them. Well, they screwed
themselves, because the next guy that checked them out rejected 25% of the lot.
Sometimes you just need to know when to shut-up and quit!!! :-) :-)
From 1967 to 1968, EIL was located in the basement (entrance on the West side) of the
building at 110 West Timonium Road (Cummings Realty today). At the time, EIL was a subsidiary
of Unitec Industries, which also owned the John B. Adt
Company and the Campbell Chain Company. The building was the "Unitec Building".
So, sometime in the mid 80's I believe, they moved
up to Sparks MD, about 8-10 miles or so north on York Road.
In 1997, EIL finally closed it doors as another
company bought them out for their lines and products (same thing happened to me
in 2002 with IMS, where myself and 4 others lost our jobs because of it). I wonder if
Transmation knew how much of the EIL inventory was being sold at a local
hamfest in March of 97? :-)
At one time, EIL had quite a few locations around the United States.
Timonium was the headquarters, but even as close as Alexandria VA, they had a
branch to help (mostly) with meter modifications. I got to visit the
Indianapolis location when it started, taking a car full of electronic test
equipment to "it" in an old station wagon! :-) When I went
to Indianapolis, the shop was located in the back of a locally owned
radio-electronics sales store, and I remember it was owned and operated by this
elderly gentleman, one of the things they sold were electronic kits, and I
bought one of them and put it together for my grandfather! On another occasion, I got
to visit the Rhode Island branch for a couple of weeks to help with a large
influx of electronic test equipment to calibrate. Here is the label on one
of the boxes pictured elsewhere with most of the locations:
If anyone visits, please email me... contact
info is here
Let's catch up!
I know a bunch of ya'll have been downloading pictures, so give me a holler...
Wow!!! Who stirred up all the excitement over this page???
An EIL 25th anniversary keychain from reader Cheryl Y... Thanks
Hallie Rice, he owned the joint... he used to have a sign on his desk that said:
"let's compromise, we'll do it my way", and he meant every word of it
Ed Kehl and Carol Barnes in L photo), Ed was head of the electronics lab
Paul Price, he started in the electronics lab, then got into sales selling meters
That is Rick Medaugh on the right in the first photo above on the left
John Thomas, electronics lab ET and #2
Sue, she worked up in the front office
Paul Schoen, an ET in the meter department
Leo Wulff, an ET in the electronics lab, his specialty was scopes, he used to work for Tektronix
Todd Sestero, ET in the electronics lab
My bench, yikes!
Michael Watnoski, electronics lab ET, left here maybe 1973, went to the APL,
lost track of him, and "ran" into him ~2003 via the Yahoo Railway Signaling
group, and he had been living only a few miles away from me in Cockeysville,
he's a B&O RR signal guru
Joan Gummer on the left of the right photo, Hallie's right hand woman! :-)
Tony Nespor, if I remember correctly
Carol Barnes and Harold
Carol Barnes playing technician
Pictures from the EIL Christmas Party in 1972 or 1973
Ed Kehl and Wilma at the Xmas party
Tom Black, the Trouble game in his hands spelled it out, he was my boss in NC,
and took credit for things when they went well, and blamed things on me when
they went to shit, glad the North Carolina gig didn't last more than a year!
Paul Price (L), Leo Wulff (M), Bill Dixon (M, back to us), Michael Watnoski (R, back to us)
Bill Dixon checkin out a piece of gear
We think his name is Mike Zagami
Chuck Kalinich, VP and in charge of the meter department. He died sometime
around 1980 while doing the Polka at a local park during an EIL picnic
A shot looking south on York Rd from the "hill" EIL was on.... the Giant moved
up the street, the A&P is gone, and the Steak n Egg is now a bank
Thanks to Paul Schoen and Dave H. for helping with the names, history, and
This is just one of the specialized test sets
EIL used to make. All hand made! Maybe I will come across a picture
somewhere of one of their relay test sets.... those things were huge and rolled
around on 4 large casters!
Phase Meter Test Set
Just found another test set on EBay....
Phase Shifter and Angle Meter Test Set
Static Breaker Test set
Another test set gem found on EBay.
Digital panel meters
They could sell you a stock meter or custom range it for you.
And this was way before DPM's were available this way from the manufacturers.
Here too, they could sell
you a stock model right off the shelf, or give it either/and a custom
current/voltage range, or stock/custom scale. This one has a custom scale
on it, and probably had a custom voltage input to it. To use meters as a
voltage device to measure more than its basic movement rating, you would stick a
resistor in series with the meter movement, taking account the resistance and
the meters current
rating at full scale. As a current meter, you would put shunt resistors
across the meter to increase its measuring ability (again, taking into account the
meters resistance and full scale current and voltage specs).
Products with Timonium on the label are much older, possibly going back to the
early 70's when they moved to the York Road location. If the label says
Sparks, they are newer, being that they moved north in the late 80's.
They made of wide range of transducers to measure just about anything
you wanted..... anything that could be converted into an electrical signal that could feed a meter.
The one shown below is an AC current transducer.
They could also match transducers
and meters. Below is an example of a Beede Meter Relay designed to work
with the current transformer and AC current transducer. This listing is
from 12/2012. A Beede meter relay had an opto-isolator type set-up to
detect when the meter needle went past the lower and upper set-points (if it had
two of them), and activate the corresponding output. Even today with all
of the electronic stuff that comes out, analog meters still have a place in
instrumentation because it is much easier to spot trends.
Trouble seemed to follow EIL around. When
I went down to North Carolina in 1975, where they had a number of contracts at
the Cherry Point Marine Corp Air Station (MCAS Cherry Point), they they were
already in trouble for not having someone on site qualified to do the service
work. When I volunteered to go down, I was not foretold of the trouble EIL
was in, and I also never received ANY instruction on how to work on very large
steam boiler controls (two story high behemoths that put out 200PSI+ of steam),
or these early forms of CNC milling machines. Guess what, a month after I
was there, the HQ got a letter of default because I was sent down... they
thought they were getting someone trained!
Then, after I left in 77, they got caught with
their pants down because of over charging on calibration contracts. They would
quote a particular piece for say, 3 hours of labor (at a whopping 7 bucks an
hour), when they knew it would take 30 minutes, and then they would put the rest of time
on the repair tag using names of office and other non-technical personnel. They probably caught
on when we went out on the road and did X number of pieces in a week with only
two techs, and according to the contracted time rates, it should have taken
three times longer (or more) :-)
There were apparently several other problems
that EIL got itself into as evidenced below. Corporate greed. If you
think it was bad then, take a close look at the big companies today!
No story would ever be complete without some stories of woe. I had one or
two. 40 years later, they do seem pretty funny, altho at the time, at
least for EIL, I'm sure they weren't :-)
In 1975, I had been looking for a job, and got accepted with RCA to work on
their 2-way radios (something they didn't stay in very long). I gave EIL
my two week notice, and they came back at me with a counter offer, to be a
"Facility Manager" at the Cherry Point NC MCAS Facility. The only hitch
was, they did not have the time for me to go down and check into anything.
I talked it over with my wife, and she actually said yes, cause I was getting a
raise to $11,500 a year! Woo-hoo. So we said yes, and in October I
went down, staying in a BOQ building on base for a month till we found a house
to buy. What I didn't know, was that EIL was in default of the contract,
because they were not providing QUALIFIED people to work on the four contracts
they had there: maintenance of industrial controls at the water plant, waste
water plant, and steam generating plant, an MATV maintenance contract, and a CNC
maintenance contract at the Naval Air Rework Facility. I knew electronics
well, I learned quickly, but nothing I knew prepared me for these jobs. A
month after being there, EIL got yet another letter of default from the
government (because they sent me down there), and they found out I didn't know
my ass from a hole in the wall :-)..... and so it goes. I don't think our
government interface guy, nicknamed "Cowboy", liked me a whole lot anyways,
probably because I was a dumb smart-ass Yankee whippersnapper :-) :-) At
least for me, it was a fun year, and I did learn a lot. I still today,
have the books around on water and wastewater treatment - very interesting
books, and it's something that hasn't changed a whole lot in 100 years or so!
As a side bar, when I went down in '75, the Marines had just taken delivery of
the Harriers, and were crashing one every few weeks, but it was pretty cool
living under the runway approach! (I know, most people complain about it)
Needless to say, after all of that, and buying a house, they lost the four
contracts, and I had to return to Baltimore. When I actually made the move
back from Cherry Point, they didn't want to pay for my moving expenses, because
it was about twice what it cost to move me down. What they failed to take into
account, was that everything had to be done at one time, instead of moving stuff
"down" to NC on every little trip home I made. So since they stiffed me
the $1200 it cost for the move,
I made a pledge to not meet my weekly quota until I quit there. Ed Kehl had a
chat with me twice about THAT, and I reminded him that if he got Hallie to pay
for the moving expenses, things might change. Several months later, they
finally did pay around $800 of the 12, and made me sign a piece of paper that
said I had to reimburse them 1/12 of that for every month I left EIL before a
year was up. I left after 9 months, and they never came after me for the rest.
While I was in North Carolina, I had an International Travellall assigned to me.
One day during the summer of 1976, an engine plug popped from overheating, and water came
spewing out all over the place. We got it fixed, but the guy didn't put
anti-freeze back in the engine. So it comes time for me to move back to
Maryland, early October, and after getting back, they sat the truck in the
parking lot. Sometime around the middle of December, they finally decided to
use it for something. It wouldn't start, even after giving it a hotshot. They
had it towed to the gas station, where they told EIL the water had frozen in
the engine, and it wasn't going anywhere until it thawed out. They were really,
really, really pissed. They thought it was my fault, and I again, reminded them that
whomever was in charge of vehicles should have made sure the thing was
winterized when it came back.
Then, a few months later when I was out in Quincy IL for an on-site calibration
job using the "calibration trailer", I was on the way to the airport to pick up
another ET arriving by airplane. It was a bitter cold night, something like 0
degrees outside. The check engine light went on. I got out, and found that the
oil level was down. So I put a quart of oil in the engine. This lasted about a
few miles. Then the light came on again, but no more oil (The oil filter
had blown off - as the engine had been previously rebuilt, but they put it back
together wrong). This happened on a
back road, in the middle of no-where, and I wasn't planning on spending much
time out there without heat. So I drove the truck, with no oil in the engine,
into town, and stopped at a bar across from the Ford dealer. I called the
hotel, where the tech from Rhode Island - the lead guy, tore me a new asshole
for not picking the guy up. He calmed down a little when I told him what
happened, just a little. It cost $900 to put a new engine in. Everybody
was really pissed, including me. It was the first time in something like 20
years that the Mississippi was completely frozen over, that's how cold it was, phew........
My favorite story of woe, however, came after I left EIL. I was working
for Westinghouse up in Hunt Valley, in the Building 21 Calibration Lab. I
worked at the Voltage and Current Calibration Bench. One day I was brought
a box full of simple analog meters to check out. As such, being simple
meters, the accuracy specs on them is not particularly stringent. But
somehow, about 6 of the 30 meters were out of spec, so I rejected them.
Somehow, EIL found out that I did the incoming inspection on them, and they
demanded that they be re-checked, because they thought I might be holding a
grudge against them, and failing them when they were in fact, in spec.
Well, they should have kept their frickin mouth shut, because the next guy who
checked them, failed even more of them. So it's sort of like the joke
about the bird that got covered by bullshit, and it shouldn't have started
singing when he thawed out, cause he got "ate". We all had a
good laugh over this one when I told them the back story!!! :-)
It would seem that someone upstairs was on my side in the paybacks department :-)
There were some good trips too!
One was down to Puerto Rico to do calibration at the PRANG. We flew the
calibration trailer down to PR on a National Guard C-130, flying out of
Martinsburg WV, out over the Atlantic for training, and then spending the night
on Long Island. The next day, we flew down to Puerto Rico, and I spent
probably 5 hours sitting up in the cockpit - that kicked ass! The three weeks we spent there
went quickly. The wife came down for 2 of the 3 weeks, and got flashed on
the beach! :-) One day, we went to take the bus into town, and the
busses wouldn't stop and pick up us gringo's. While we were working one
day, this ET stopped by, wanting to know if he could borrow a voltmeter, so the
boss said yes, and I went along with him. He was fixing a flight
simulator. While there, I got to talking to the owner of the airline, Prinair
I believe, and he actually offered me a job flying and said he would
teach me to fly. Dam, I turned him down!!! Sheet, sheet, sheet.
One of the "cooler" things we got to do was to visit Arecibo, totally awesome!!!
Another time, we were at an avionics shop at (I believe) the Newark NJ airport.
One day, they had to take a helicopter for a test flight after installing some
equipment onboard. They had one seat open, and asked if I wanted to go
along, and I said "hell yeah!!!" That was fun, as we love flying!
Oh yeah, before I forget.... before going to North Carolina, I had to go to Ft
Knox to pick up the Travellall. So, since I was there, they also had me
work on doing work at a substation on Ft Knox.... no-where near the gold, but it
was still fun, nevertheless. The hotel we stayed at, was a locally owned
place, and the fellow that owned it, invited me in for supper that night, and this fellow had
the largest air-pipe organ I have ever seen privately owned. It was a fun,
entertaining, & and interesting evening for sure.
One year, I had to go up to the Rhode Island branch to help with the workload up
there. They sent me up by train, cause at the time, it was cheaper than
flying, and suited me just fine. Got lot's of good pictures out of that
trip, and one of them is at the top of my semaphore page:
http://www.railroadsignals.us/signals/sem/index.htm . A big thank you
goes to Steve Olbert for fetching me at the train station, and riding me around
for that week! In a related "event", when I worked at IMS 1998-2002, we had
a reorganization, and my old boss John was out, replaced by this feller named
Stan Semuskee, who, when he came into town to lay me off from IMS, he used to
work for EIL at the Rhode Island branch - not sure however if he was there
during the short time I was in Rhode Island.
Also because of my trips with EIL, I got to witness the last days of the
ORIGINAL Norfolk Southern RR in the Norfolk VA area. So, you see, it
wasn't so bad. I also got to visit one of my high school buddies, as he
got orders for deployment on the U.S.S America, an aircraft carrier. In
all my years at Westinghouse and Northrop Grumman, I never got a chance to go on
one again, so it sure was a hoot that Mike Charnosky was an ET on the America!!!
If you have never been on one before, you MUST find a way to get a tour of one,
you will not believe how frickin huge they are!!!
I did have one bad experience working in Norfolk. Myself and Bill Dixon
were working at Damn Neck (a Naval training facility, along the coast of
Virginia Beach), and after coming out of work one day, my VW bug started
running rough. When we got up to Little Creek, I went under the engine to adjust the
valves. One of them, you could feel it in the rocker arms, was not right.
So I get back in to start it up, and WHAM, the engine locks up dead. So, I
had to rent a truck, and tow the thing home. One I got the engine out, I
found out that some frickin asswipe had put a handfull of nuts and bolts into my
carburetor, and one of the screws had lodged itself between the piston and the
head, causing it to lock up. We guessed that they weren't happy about us
civilians coming in and doing their work. Oh well. On the way up 95,
I pulled into a weigh station, and was told to pull around back. The state
trooper noticed that the annual inspection sticker was out of date. He was
going to give me a ticket for it, until I reminded him that I paid Hertz to
have a properly running and licensed vehicle - in other words - it was NOT MY
responsibility!!! Talked my way out of that one!!! Phew!
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