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Summer 2001 | Volume 17 |  Issue 1

The Creation Of The Inkjet

REGARDING THE ARTICLE “Printing Enters the Jet Age,” in your Spring 2001 issue (by Thomas Kraemer), your readers should know that the business of designing and building inkjet print heads has always been a team effort from start to finish and remains so to this day. In his article, Tom Kraemer used me as a vehicle to put a human face on an otherwise arcane and hard-to-grasp undertaking and to give a voice to the hundreds of unnamed Hewlett-Packard engineers and technicians who rightfully share the credit for making the great dream of low-cost, highquality, quiet, and convenient personal printing a reality.

The one historical fact in the article that I would take issue with is Ernst Erni’s having bought burgers for the team, as promised, after our initial success in producing readable inkjet text. To the best of my recollection, Ernst never did buy those burgers. The circumstance became a running joke within the inkjet team in the years that followed, and it prompted us to insert the text string “Ernst Owes Us Burgers” into many of our print-test files.

Niels Mielsen

The Creation Of The Inkjet

FOR MORE THAN 12 YEARS, I have been the user of an HP500 DeskJet printer that has proved reliable and still provides daily service. I’ve often wondered how the ink actually gets on the paper. Great article!


William M. Hawke

The Proximity Fuze

I READ DAVID COLLEY’S excellent article on the development of the proximity fuze (“Deadly Accuracy,” Spring 2001) with more than a casual interest. I was the bomb-disposal officer on the USS Saratoga during the latter stages of the war in the Pacific. The Sara had barely survived kamikaze attacks off Iwo Jima when I was assigned, so I was well aware of the havoc being wrought on our Navy by the suicide bombers.

One of my responsibilities was to be on deck when we were firing our five-inch antiaircraft guns using shells fuzed with the new, secret proximity fuzes. We didn’t do much practice firing, because they were considered too precious to waste. But when we did, everyone on deck learned to take cover; using drones as targets, we found we could never know for sure when the projectile would explode. If it reached the vicinity of the drone, cheers would rise, though the officer in charge of the drones never seemed to share in the enthusiasm.

American ordnance traditionally is designed with arming-system delays to protect the lives of those using the devices. Japanese devices in those days were designed to activate as quickly as possible. If a Japanese bomb had failed to explode and I had to remove its fuze, I was reasonably certain nothing would happen. It either functioned as planned or not at all. The fact that I’m writing this indicates that I spent most of my bomb-disposal work with enemy weapons.

I certainly agree with the author that this unique technological creation has not been given proper credit in our winning of World War II.

Kempton Roll

Pioneer 10’s Elegance

YOUR ARTICLE “THE SPACE craft That Will Not Die,” about Pioneer 10 (by Mark Wolverton, Winter 2001), was a real gem. I teach design for manufacturing at the College of Engineering at Ohio State and at several NASA research centers, and the article will definitely be required reading. I try to get my students at OSU and the engineers I talk to at NASA to think about design elegance, and this is one case where an elegant design turned out to be the Methuselah design as well. Many thanks!


Blaine Lilly


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