it is 1922 when Charles Proteus Steinmetz coal pioneer of electricity with Thomas Edison goes on the WGY radio station to talk about how energy technology and automation will elevate humans out of hard physical labor and exploitation in the future across town five-year-old Harold Chestnut plays in his parents yard no one knew then that through engineering he would carry out Steinmetz his dreams to reality during the most momentous times in the 20th century robotics computers and servo mechanisms are the basis of today’s wonder technologies all of these technologies use a common concept called automatic control and feedback systems Harold chestnut helped build a foundation for all modern control systems in the 1940s and 50s later in life his focus shifted to using technology for peace and cooperation between nations chadzmuth was a very great promoter it was a very good promoter good speaker and very well-respected among all the gene societies this is that generation that my church World War two so I think they considered that organizing IFAC was part of the task of rebuilding the world the world peace aspect was something that my father in particular spent a lot of time thinking about a lot of time working with people on an international scale the story of Harold chestnut begins with his father’s life on the other side of the world I recall with horror the time when the general store operated by my parents was looted and destroyed we were obligated to flee from our homes in the village in the middle of the night Harry has enough Harold chestnuts father lives in Poltava Ukraine during the pogroms he and his parents escaped the persecution in nineteen five to come to the United States eventually the family settles in Raymond Hill Connecticut with their own farm once settled in America they changed their name to the more easily pronounceable named chestnut harry gets a job as a draftsman for General Electric in the booming city of Schenectady while there he gets married and has a son Harold who was born in maternity home in Albany in 1917 the boy discovers a talent for swimming Harold also known as Hal was tall and lanky and despite his size his long steady swim strokes could beat anyone in a long-distance freestyle swimming competition he’d spent competitively in high school because then Schenectady had three pools Hal also tends the YMCA Camp ginger cook at pilots knob on Lake George in the 30s he loves the outdoors and becomes a swimming instructor he works alongside John Mahoney who would later become a legendary local swim instructor in Schenectady he was a partner in crime of John Mahoney who was the tot I guess everybody in Schenectady all the men in Schenectady learned to swim for about 30 years Lake George in the Adirondacks is known as the queen of lakes at 32 miles long and flanked by mountains it’s a natural wonder one day while appearing across

the waves John and Hal decided to challenge themselves so they swim two miles across turbulent water from pilots knob to Bolton landing in addition to an interest in nature how develops a love of science and shows a natural talent in his teen years he becomes the valedictorian at Knott Terrace High School in 1935 he’s offered a scholarship at MIT and soon he’s on his way to Cambridge he works diligently for five years completing his BS and MS degrees in electrical engineering one year early Harold was done with college but he felt his education was not quite complete just yet my father got out of college he and a college friend a trip around the United States which was probably in 1940 with a used Plymouth and a bundle of traveler’s checks Harold and his friend from MIT George senior leaves Schenectady driving south along the Hudson perhaps they were aware that the diverse America they were about to see would soon disappear once the interstate highway systems were completed in the near future hell takes detailed notes on everything from geology to the local people in Tennessee he writes the kids down here all seem to go barefooted also the traffic lights in some places go green yellow red from top to bottom instead of the reverse order outside Pasadena we drove through orange groves a number of all the orange juice you can drink for 10 cents signs brought us to a stop in San Francisco they run into some car problems we then went over to get the car as we feared the cost was plenty amounting to over $30 that was bad but when the fellow showed us a crack in the manifold that he hadn’t touched but would cost another $10 to do we were nonplussed with little time available and negligible spare cash we elected to let the thing ride and hope for the best the two camped visited national parks and mingled with the locals the tall redwoods are fine to sleep in because they prevent the Morning Sun from waking you at the crack of dawn Hal and George hiked the canyons of the Tetons with Evelyn Lang Mayer niece of Schenectady scientists Irving Langmuir Harrell takes notes on the Indians of the Southwest who still live a nomadic wild lifestyle at the time but as this trip through the peaceful countryside rolls on something ominous is growing far away picked up some gas in Savannah Tennessee where we found France had capitulated to Germany’s terms the fellow spoke as though they were pro Ally also talk indicated that the fishing in the TVA Lakes was good leaving Oklahoma City one comes out into real farm country late in the afternoon we spoke to a big blonde fair haired gas station owner about things in general it seems that some of the Germans out here think Hitler is okay most of them however are anti-nazi Hal returns home from his trip and continues with a co-op program between MIT and General Electric World War two begins and how is among 25 engineers sent by GE to the MIT radiation laboratory to work on the MK 56 Navy guns as well as some other top-secret projects Bob Mayer Hubert schlafly and bill Chapin lead the radar team or that he and Bobby went over to Boston we never knew what they did at the radiation of course that was strictly secret they were not allowed to say anything about it we knew that they were going over there and they were working on war work but what they did they couldn’t couldn’t tell him their own lives he got pretty knowledgeable in servomechanisms and regulating systems Harel moves into the Aeronautics and ordnance division at GE his responsibilities included solving problems in automated control if you think of the contributions that was needed in order to win the war just borrow some minor goods and services that had to be moved around and we here in Schenectady were responsible for a considerable portion in 1943 Harold chestnut is assigned to work on a new gun turret so far gun turrets like those on the b-17 have a number of

problems gun operators had to sit or stand in freezing temperatures for long periods of time in these conditions Gunners quickly became cold fatigued and made errors each of the b-17 G’s had 13 guns and required a large crew turret operators were in a direct line of danger we had a total crew of 10 I heard a long bang and then looked over my head and it was a small walk around oxygen bottles and of course they had some glass window up there and this piece of flag had gone right through both sides of the window and probably about a ninja troop hitting that oxygen new automatically control turrets could allow more accuracy and safety for the crew perhaps the largest advantage is that the cabin could now be heated and pressurized allowing the bomber to go too much higher altitudes the new turrets are fitted on the Boeing b-29 a new high-tech long-range bomber they his job involved as far as I know mostly the gun control on the b-29 the turrets were controlled by a fire control computer designed by Hal and his team this computer was really an electromechanical device the calculated distances and angles mathematic equations such as this parabola were manifested into actual mechanical parts within the computer the problem was doing for control is to predict where the target will be the radar and conical scan tracking antennae targeted incoming fighters now one gunner could sit in a fuselage of the airplane and operate multiple turrets at the same time one challenge was that as an airplane approached the radar signal gave back reflections of varying amplitude he used control theories to run averages of the signals so the turret could smoothly follow the target the fact that this could be done before modern transistors or semiconductors was quite an achievement the problem was to make the mechanism in the Box perform in those days it was in synchros this whole thing must stand the vibration of being in an airplane the plane is introduced in May of 1944 the results of chestnut and his team’s work is effective to say the least it took an average of 500 fighter attacks to take down a b-29 General Electric then starts to produce up to 2,400 turrets each month harold chestnut was breaking new ground in automatic control design but this field had ancient beginnings the first known example of a control system was in 1400 BC the ancient Egyptians used a bucket shaped vessel to make a water clock the size of the hole in the bottom and the shape of the container controlled and settied the flow of water to make an accurate time indicator another major step forward was in the 1850s until then ships rudders had been controlled by a series of mechanical connections from the helm as ships got bigger the hydrodynamic forces on the rudder and the gear ratios became so great that it was slow and difficult to steer a large vessel French design engineer Jean Joseph Varco coined the term servo motor when he invented a system which controlled a rudder using a specialized engine the need for control systems increased greatly with the advent of electrical power the electric arc clamp provided urban lighting on State Street in Schenectady New York from the 1880s until the early 20th century it depended on a constant regulated flow of electricity in the power station in building 30 worn on Erie Boulevard feedback circuits fed signal back into the amplifier circuit which helped produce more uniform power transmission even with extreme outside temperature variations Schenectady became a testing

ground for new control technologies as thomas edison and charles Steinmetz conducted their work here control engineers solve problems on everything from steam generators to the vacuum tube in science we learn how to analyze and explain the behavior of something which usually is physical and we stop there the control engineer then says now that that I understand how that physical system works how can I add to that this is the man-made part so that it will perform better or it will produce a future that I like better so that’s the engineering approach but it is also the heart of control engineering which how was a pioneer in you know virtually all the electronic devices we use the cars are filled with different ways of using a term that my dad used a lot feedback to make sure that things were going the way you wanted them to go but feedback properly analyzed and controlled becomes a powerful tool in the hands of the modern engineer feedback can accurately efficiently and reliably govern guidance systems servo systems power supplies the list of applications is limitless the simplest example of a control system is the thermostat in a house we input the data the device tells the heater to activate that is simple but the important part is the feedback system which is the thermometer in this case the feedback information or current temperature is analyzed and tells the heater to shut off at a desired point while the second world war rages on Harold chestnut works on aviation technologies he works on gyro instrumentation he creates a new gyro system for General Electric which will remain in use for decades to come the gyro becomes an important part of the feedback system for autopilot systems and navigation of planes and rockets he also works on power systems for aircraft inventing a better dinah motor a dynamo tur converts DC battery power to different voltages for other uses around the aircraft I worked for the Aeronautics and Ordnance Systems Division and we did a lot of work for the military on control systems for airplanes like for damping systems to correct for the fact that some airplanes when it got up to Mach 1 in other words over the speed of sound the the things would develop bad say pitch oscillations and his particular specialty was making an electronics model of a big airplane which has had this problem at this time how belongs to one of the many YMCA clubs in Schenectady the YMCA is an important part of the community during and after the war he was a boy Oh Joker remember there were a lot of young people in Schenectady at that time you know people just out of college we would go hiking trips camping trips you’re doing trip skiing all sorts of outdoor things plus square dancing and so on when Hal attends a dance at the van curler Hotel sponsored by the YMCA and the YWCA that night would change his life forever as president of the OTO cluck club how greets the visitors at the door this is how he meets her Marouf it wasn’t long after that they’d spend all their extra time together she came from Colorado and right out of college like I did only I was two years ahead of her and she came on GE test worked out the camel Avenue plant not many women went into engineering see what she was really a pioneer to come to get a job as a GE test man was I was charmed by her just even seeing her across the room I would say the choice that we had to get together and be married was as far as I’m concerned the best decision I could possibly have made the couple marry in Colorado Springs in 1944 al continues to work on advanced systems at General Electric the Korean War will

continue to drive up production and employment at GE in the 1950s hal trains young engineers in the GE test program eventually how is urged to publish a book on his newly discovered field of work he teams up with Robert W Mayer to write servomechanisms and regulating system design which is published in 1952 house book on this new subject was a hit all around the world well he he wrote one of the most famous early books on control in the 1950s and so that had quite an impact on young people in the field if you’re in the control field you have to know not just that in those days well he’s just not Mayer that times the most important and best standard and book for automatic control if the books were published in many languages because at that time there was not a lot of communication across international borders and books did flow across immigration reported in the next few years Harold writes and edit several more books for the John Wiley book series the book systems engineering tools and systems engineering methods fast becomes a staple of aspiring engineers one reason for the success of the book was the author’s style it was an engineer not a theoretician writing about a theoretical topic and so they had a practical flavor to it that was important back at work hal gradually shifts his focus from automatic control to the new field of systems engineering right at the start hal encounters resistance to his ideas it was appreciated for being a glinting energy in design and other things but all this over system engine and so on most people here thought it was a waste of time but come realize it and then he was very appreciated in Japan though the Japanese worshiped him just like there is a day on quality control they figure out that was the thing of the future we need to learn from chestnut you know l was a development engineer in general engineering lab and corporate R&D he was one of the early men who recognized the needs for system engineering and building electrical systems of all kind though that there were more than just the simple problem it was a big problem systems engineering is the management of complexity when you need to develop a difficult and complex technology product like a NASA satellite or even a laptop computer you need to make an order and feedback process that manages the very way a company creates that product this organized system is very important for saving money and avoiding a faulty end product Bell Labs started the system’s approach in the 1940s but hal brought it to international attention that systems approach was always the big picture and so this notion of how to how to look at big problems systems engineering is important in the world because so much of the world consists of systems there are economic systems there are technical systems all airplanes are technical systems all technology devices are technical systems so it is fundamental to everything that makes the world go round maybe not at heart so much but in 1955 the aeronautics and marine division is discontinued the same teams that had worked during the war on radar guidance and control are put into a variety of new technologies hal makes notable contributions in jet engine control steel mill control nuclear power plant controls rocket guidance and high power transmission when I joined there were two groups in controls one at the research lab which is the theoretical group of one at downtown which was the general engineering lab and how ran that we were the key control group at General Electric research and development center I was working on jet engine controls even though the jet engine looks so difficult but looking from the control point of view and systems point of view you can control this in a very mathematically based model based techniques and because of his effort and his foresight many of his work already has been amended in jet engine control as we knew today many developments in control technology continued after the war

however 5,000 miles away a new leader in control technology was emerging the advancements there would soon demand international attention through an incredible set of firsts the info 50s and the beginning of system success was a golden era for Russian math a period when people believed in research they believed science will help them to leave better life Harold will soon find himself in the middle of international science and engineering amid difficult political times to set up an organization across the Iron Curtain was very unusual one of the things it stood for then was bringing some measure of bridging between the Soviet Union and the West in the next episode of Wizards of Schenectady you will see how Harold transitions into a leader of the engineering world and will bridge the gap between engineering social and environmental issues that’s all on the next Wizards of Schenectady

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