I'll attempt to answer some of the questions
in your most recent letter.
As to Doc's sitting on the desk, he sat
as you have seen reported -- on the desk with one leg tucked under him,
and the other hanging down.
I'm sure Doc made meaningful contributions
toward the development of hearing aids, because when he got involved in
something scientific, he always made a contribution. I can't, however,
Doc's position with AO from the 1950's
on was not a doing of Warner Lambert (they didn't arrive on the scene until
the late 1960's). As I understand it, the company wanted to expand into
fields other than ophthalmic, and went outside for a "high powered" optical
scientist. First they found R. Bowling Barnes, who they made Vice President
of Research. There was the feeling that a research group ought to be in
a more cosmopolitan environment than Southbridge, so they moved most of
the research group to Stamford, CT. That lasted little more than a year,
after which they moved the research group back to Southbridge into a new
building, and hired Brian O'Brien who, at the time, was Dean of the Institute
of Optics at the University of Rochester. Dr. O'Brien replaced Barnes as
Vice President of Research, and he brought with him several of his associates.
Simultaneously, AO became involved with the Todd-AO project. All of this
can best be related by John Davis, who was part of research at the time.
I had become Manager of Lens Development, and was not directly involved.
I can't remember ever being in Doc's home
on Maple street. I had easy access to him during the daytime at AO.
As to secretaries, I knew Bessie and Esther,
but suspect the third one may have been before my time. Again, John Davis
can probably answer this. Doc's working relationship with his secretaries
was excellent, at least during the time I was there..
master lenses I referred to were used to calibrate lens curvatures. They,
themselves, had been measured by Doc while he was at the National Bureau
of Standards. Thus, optical surfaces
which had been calibrated against these standards could be certified as
having an accuracy which was traceable to the Bureau. In the ophthalmic
world, at least, these lenses were unique to American Optical in the 1980's.
No other ophthalmic optical company had such traceability to the Bureau,
and the Bureau had stopped making measurements on such lenses many years
ago. Since AO already had a set, the Bureau was willing to re-certify their
lenses on a periodic basis, so the calibration was kept current.