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Lorain Electronics Corporation (LEC)

We have two Lorain advertisements. The first one which advertises Lorain's services is courtesy of Joe Papworth, K8MP and is from the April 1947 issue of the Great Lakes Review. The second advertisement is from a September 1954 Lorain County Radio Corp. publication entitled "Study Guide for Third Class Radio-Telephone Operator Permit." The MC-261 unit in the tall cabinet on the right in the advertisement was built by General Electric in Syracuse, NY. In 1959, when the Archivist first went to work as a design engineer for General Electric, equipment of this vintage had already been replaced by newer designs, but GE later supplied Lorain Electronics Corp. (LEC) with several versions of newer VHF-FM receiver and transmitter chassis for shipboard installations and also, I believe, for the LEC 14 station automated VHF-FM network .

This short item is from a history of GE's mobile radio business: May, 1955 - Cruise of the yacht, Cappy, on the Great Lakes to survey coverage furnished by Lorain County Radio Corporation's, 250 Watt GE station, at Lorain, Ohio.

The Lorain equipment images (1940s-50s) shown below are in a roughly chronological order, and unless otherwise noted all images on this page are courtesy of Robert Carver

Capt. Homer Johnson talking on the radio

A LC-50D 1944 boat installation on the SS George F. Baker being operated by Capt. Homer R. Johnson

Wheelhouse view showing wheel and radio in background

A LC-50D 1944 boat installation

We know a lot about the two pictures above - information gleaned from enlargements of the paperwork on the wall. The photos were taken on September 16 or 18, 1944. The boat belonged to the Pittsburgh Steamship Company (US Steel), and one of the officers was Homer R. Johnson (pictured) - Master's License # 165746. What we didn't know initially was the name of the boat. However detective work by Dennis Widdows identified it as the SS George F. Baker.

6 foot high woodgrain finished LC-50 D cabinet

This beautiful 6 foot high cabinet from the early 1940s housed a Type LC-50 D - 4 channel AM rig

Photo of the exterior of WAD's brick station building

Type LC-50 D Inside - Click for large image

View of the LC 50 96 Lorain AM rig

Type LC 50 96 - 6 Channel AM MF/HF rig

View of the LC 100D AM rig

Type LC 100D - 8 Channel MF/HF rig (DC Supply - Typical early 1950s gear - See comments about a similar unit at the bottom of the page.

LC 100-8 installed in the Wm. G. Mather wheelhouse

Type LC 100-8 (AC Supply) in process of being installed on the Wm. G. Mather WB 4521

View of the Lorain 8 channel AM rig

Eight channel AM MF/HF in high cabinet (DC Supply)

Lorain 10 channel mid-50s rig

Ten Channel AM MF/HF unit of mid-1950's - vintage (AC Supply)

GE MC-261 VHF-FM in 6 foot cabinet

Shipboard VHF-FM radio Type MC-261 - 7 Channel - Dual Rx -1952 vintage - This unit is mostly (if not all) GE Pre-Progress Line as GE had an identical looking unit with the same model number. - LEC may have made a few changes to suit their needs.

GE MC-261 being installed in the Wm. G. Mather wheelhouse

Type MC-261 VHF-FM unit being installed on the Wm. G. Mather by Chester Dobeck - (Early-mid 1950s)

1950s Lorain control head and accessories

Control head and accessories - 1950s vintage.

Lorain selcall encoder

LEC Encoder for Amoco ocean going oil tanker

Installing the control head in the Wm. G. Mather wheelhouse

Installing the equipment control head aboard the Wm. G. Mather Probably by RobertWelsh ?? - (Early-mid 1950s)

Capt. of the John T. Hutchinson using the radio

Captain (?) - Steamer John T. Hutchinson (WA 6537) using Radio-Telephone

View of Lorain small 3 channel AC powered RX intended for shore use

This Model LRK 3 channel receiver is probably from the 1950s, and was intended as a monitor receiver. It was likely used on shore by companies and crew families as it runs on 120VAC and not the normal 120VDC boat voltage. - Click on the image for a larger view and images of the inside. - Photo courtesy of Mark Karney who owns the unit.

The control head in the picture of the left immediately above is for a dual MF/HF and VHF-FM radio-telephone installation. Here's an enlarged image of and more information about the control head showing the channel numbers and their purpose.

Here's a very nice 8 Page Lorain Electronics advertising brochure from about 1954, and a 1976 LEC calendar.

Here's a photo of 4 workers assembling electronic chassis in the LEC factory. Names and date unknown.

Here are some images of Lorain gear found in a Chicago surplus warehouse.

Some comments about the Chicago gear from Charles C. Reynolds: "The LC100M8 was still around when I started so I did have some limited experience servicing it. It was superseded by the LC1008A and the the LC150-10A which was much more "modern" with 6146A's as finals. There would have been two or three remote subsets or control heads for the M8. Typically, one would be at the conning position near the front window of the pilot house. Another would be in the Captain's room. If it had a third subset, it would be near the chart desk or chart room adjacent to the pilot house. The eight modules are indeed complete receiver strips for each of the eight channels." See the Great Lakes page for the channel and frequency information.

"The control in the cabinet was a local control for servicing purposes. I believe the M8 used VOX rather than PTT. The 8A and 10A introduced PTT. The use of VOX resulted in a habit of all transmissions beginning with ahhhh to allow time for the VOX to key the transmitter. There are still a couple of old timers that still do it on VHF today even though they have been using PTT for the last 30+ years. The transmitter was designed to load a wire antenna of about 60'. The M8 was AC. Most of the boats were had only DC power at the time so there would have been an external Carter rotary converter to produce AC. Some of the earlier equipment used the ship's DC plus a dynamotor to get high voltage for the finals."

John Dean provided a 1964 list of LEC employees A-K and L-W saved by this father-in-law Frank Bako, a former LEC employee. Richard Hartwig, K8ML has provided listings of LEC employees in 1980 and 1982-1 and 1982-2. Personal addresses and telephone numbers have been removed from the last 3 lists.

All of the Lorain Electronics Sales & Service Dept. personnel quite at the end of 1980 shortly after the purchase of LEC by Oakmont Electronics. Most of the technicians then to work for ITT-Mackay Marine and became the Great Lakes Depot of same. In 1985 the remaining contents of 2307 Leavitt Rd. were sold and Lorain Electronics closed it's doors.

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