American Optical History
Recollections of Former AO Employees

Advice from Dr. Estelle Glancy
and other AO Recollections...
by Fred Joslin
June 10, 2003

Fred Joslin and Margaret Morrissey talk at the June 10, 2003 AO Reunion

We All Remember Milton Freeman.  The three Freeman kids and the four Joslin kids all grew up in the same house, a two-family duplex on Everett Street. My brother, Russell, Class of 1934, my sister Leona in 1936, I was in 1938 and my sister, Edna, in 1947. Just out of high school at age 17, I worked at the AO as a research laboratory assistant in Dept. AL at $14 per week.

In 1940 I left the AO to work for Harvey-Wells Electronics in the old Central Mills building where I had attended 6th grade. John Wells was my hero, an outstanding radio amateur and airplane pilot.  He flew the first airmail out of Southbridge in an autogiro. I remember going for my first airplane ride with Clarence Chamberlain in Southbridge in an old two-engine plane.

I received amateur and commercial radio operator licenses and a private pilots license and, in 1941, went to Pan American airways in Florida as a Flight Radio Officer. At the AO, I remember Doc Tillyer and Estelle Glancy.  Dr. Glancy was very much an individual.  She rode a bicycle to work.  No lady did that back then.
I remember Harold Moulton, Esther Barnes, West Reed, Carl Soderberg, Art Backstrons and Bill Heather.  Bill flew a B-26 in the war and was shot down over the channel.

I often went hiking with Art Backstrons.  Art used to say there are two ways to get to know someone.  One way is to marry; the other is to go hiking with them.  I remember one hike at cannon Mountain in New Hampshire sitting on the forehead of the Old Man of the Mountain. Iron rods had been installed to keep the stones of the forehead in place.  Recently, I asked one of my daughter (I have six daughters and three sons) to scatter my ashes from the forehead of the Old Man of the Mountain but will now have to change plans as I understand the Old Man has collapsed!

I helped Carl Soderberg make a hearing aid for Dr. Glancy.  A shoulder strap held the microphone along with a box containing a vacuum tube amplifier and batteries.In closing, I have a personal memory of Dr. Glancy which I will share with you:

One day, Dr. Glancy stopped me in the hall and said:  “Young man would you like some advice from an old lady?”  “Yes,” I said, “I would.”  We went into her office and sat down. She smiled and said, “It’s really very simple – two things:

“First, don’t ever take a job for money.”

“Second, only work at what you enjoy.”

I have found that to be great advice and have tried to live my life that way….

Thank you, Dr. Glancy!


1950 photo of Fred in AO Numont frame

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See Fred at the Southbridge Airport (Oct 2008)


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