American Optical History  -
AO Fiber Optics

A look back at the IEEE Fiber Optics Plaque Dedication ceremonies -
Friday, Oct 26th, 2012

Read Melinda Rose article on this event

Shown above, Photonics video of the IEEE event followed by Dick Whitney Photos

Unveiling the plaque
(Gordon Day IEEE President, Helen Paret, daughter of Eli Snitzer)

Jeff Hecht giving Will  Hicks a plaque from the Optical Heritage Museum/ IEEE which stated:

Laser Focus World - Jeff Hecht obituarty for Will  Hicks  19-Feb-15

Southbridge Town Manager Christopher Clark, State Senator Moore, Rep Durant, Jeff Hecht

Gordon Day (President of IEEE 2nd from left), Dick Whitney and James Coleman (IEEE past President) R Rear,
Joined by Elias Snitzer Family

Dick Whitney gives AO History overview in the Hotel Prism Auditorium

Jeff Hecht (Author of City of Light) gives a terrific detailed historical view
of  early Fiber Optics; download pdf of Jeff's presentation. (3mb pdf)

Below Jeff Hecht with his book "City of Light".

Jeff signs my copy of his book City of Light

Thea Marcoux at Schott Fiber Optics display set up for this event

IEEE Event Group in front of AO R&D Building where Mike Todd/ Oscar Hammerstein
were photographed by Life Magazine for Todd AO

The AO Grounds tour, given by Dick Whitney, pauses to view the last AO Signs on the Southbridge Grounds

Sunset on the AO Grounds - Oct 26th, 2012 Dick Whitney photo

Southbridge News coverage of the IEEE Oct 26th, 2012 event

 Margaret Morrissey's photo-bucket event photos


The First Optical Fiber Laser and Amplifier, 1961-1964

In 1961, Elias Snitzer and colleagues constructed and operated the world's first optical fiber laser in the former AO complex at 14 Mechanic Street. Three years later this team demonstrated the first optical fiber amplifier. Fiber lasers that can cut and weld steel have since become powerful industrial tools and fiber amplifiers now routinely boost signals in the global optical fiber network allowing messages to cross oceans and continents without interruption

In Memory of Dr. Elias Snitzer  - Fiber Optics Pioneer
Download obit

About Will Hicks and Fiber optics

Will's work at American Optical included the first fused fiber bundles, used for medical imaging and image scramblers, and the first fiber-optic faceplates, used in image intensifiers.
He also drew the first single-mode fibers (as part of fused fiber bundles). In summary,  Will Hicks began his long career of fiber-optic invention at American Optical in Southbridge MA, where he made the first fused fiber bundles, used for medical imaging and fiber-optic bundles, and drew the first single-mode fibers. 


- Best, Jeff Hecht

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