Arthur A. Collins was, and still is, an enigma. He was a man who had many facets. There are many anecdotes about him that tell us much about his personality and his penchant for leading the way in providing quality technical solutions to problems that he saw coming.
The story of how, as a young man of just 15, he aided in the communication with the United States MacMillan expedition is the stuff of legends. The stories about his visions of the future of aviation and his technical quality solution are well known and part of the fabric of the success of his company.
What is not well known is that he was a humble, and even shy, man that avoided public recognition and public speaking. Therein lies part of the enigma. While he was known for his penchant for expressing his opinion and guiding the technical direction of the company, he rarely – almost never – spoke in public.
The result was that until very recently there were no known recordings of Art, and those of us that never had the privilege of meeting him have never heard him speak.
This has recently changed. While doing some excellent detective work, John Dilks, past column editor of QST Magazine, discovered a recording of Arthur speaking at a testimonial dinner honoring John Reinartz. Reinartz, among other accomplishments, had been the radio operator on the Bowdoin – the ship that carried McMillian and his expedition company to the Arctic. Reinartz was at the opposite end of that legendary round of communication between Art and the MacMillan party in 1927. This testimonial dinner was held February 1, 1960 and was hosted by the Eitel MacCullough Company – later to become Eimac.
Listen now and you will hear the man that made Collins Radio what it is today, and you will learn a little but his personality.
Our thanks to John Dilks, K2TQN, and to the AWA for allowing us to present this rare find here. Only through our Collins Radio Heritage Group relationship with the Antique Wireless Association could this have been presented here. © 2014 2015 Dilks/AWA
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