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150 Marlton Avenue  - Camden, New Jersey  08105

C- 2013 - SMECC

Section by Ed Sharpe - Archivist  for SMECC and  other listed contributors 
Thanks to all  who submitted articles and materials for this section




In the beginning....

The deaf and severely hearing impaired could converse via sign language or by reading lips but when it came to communications over a long distance it was always necessary to have an interpreter in the room with the telephone. In the case of 2 deaf people you would have an interpreter at each end. This was not convent! 

The telephone, an invention of Alexander Graham Bell who had been a champion of the education of the deaf, proved to be an insurmountable obstacle unless you had an interpreter to assist a deaf person.

Robert H. Weitbrecht, James C. Marsters and Andrew Saks broke the telephone barrier for the deaf in 1964 when they converted an old, bulky, clacking Teletype machine into a device that could relay a typewritten conversation through a telephone line.  The secret was an acoustic-magnetic coupled modem It was the first example of what became commonly known as a TTY.

In 1968 with the Caterphone Decision in place,  the before forbidden act of hooking third party  devices to the telephone  was overturned and the race was on! As with any industry,  other companies would arise to challenge  the original innovators....  this is the story of ESSCO, who garnered fame in the  development of radio teletype 'Terminal Units' for Radio Amateurs, and continued on to be  competition  for APCOM in the Deaf modem arena.

                                Enjoy! - Ed Sharpe Archivist for SMECC


History of ESSCO  
By Jerome S. Tessler  Founder of ESSCO  - C- 2013 - SMECC



After my discharge from the USAF in September 1956, (I left three months early to attend Penn State University) and unfortunately, when I arrived to register, I was told that all the classes I needed were full and I would have to wait until the next semester.  I was afraid that the service would recall me and I would have to complete the three months.  So, I found a two year technical school (Philadelphia Wireless Technical Institute) that specialized in radio & broadcast engineering.  I wound up with a First Class Radiotelephone license and a General Class amateur license (K3BHK) plus a good understanding of RADAR & aircraft communications.   I missed an opportunity to work for WCAU-TV, but the chief engineer (who was an alumnus) had a heart attack and died prior to getting all the paperwork done.  So, I took the alternative route and took a job with RCA in Camden, NJ.


I started there in September of 1958 and loved every minute.  I worked on projects that took the USAF, (SAC in particular) into the 20th century with the installation of the ARC-65.  This was a high power single sideband transceiver which replaced the earlier AM transceiver units.  When the government projects were through, RCA in their inimitable fashion laid off people by the thousands and unfortunately, I was one of them.  I was offered a position with a Florida based company (Electro Mechanical Research) who had subcontracted a NASA project (Gemini) to RCA.  I went back to work at RCA with a customer hat on.


RCA had a retail outlet store from which you could buy television sets, washing machines, refrigerators, phonograph records, et al.  Included was manufacturing excess and test equipment.  I noticed five high powered UHF transmitting tubes and bought them for $5 each.  I contacted a company in NYC (Barry Radio) that specialized in transmitting tubes and they bought them instantly.  I packed them carefully (I thought) and they arrived in a million pieces, and my only salvation was that I insured them with the common carrier.  The insurance settlement was enough to give me the financial muscle to start my own company.


In the late fifties and early sixties, the amateur radio operators and some electronic experimenters were anxious to acquire the glut of military surplus equipment that was available.  I spent many weekends at “radio row” in NYC as well as the equivalent on Arch Street in Philadelphia buying all sorts of communications equipment and components.  It wasn’t very long that I had a basement full of “goodies.”  My wife on the other hand, thought it was all junk and couldn’t understand the rational.  So, with an order to “get rid of the junk” I started to look for an inexpensive store front in the City of Camden.  I found a dilapidated store at 324 Arch Street for a reasonable price, and rented it.  I called the new business “Electronic Surplus Sales”. The information below may not be in chronological order and the dates may not be exact.




The building was in bad shape and required a large amount of renovations to make it habitable.  A fellow employee at RCA (who was still there) and an ardent ham, asked me if he could be part of the company.  His name was Jay B. Shaw (K2BZK) who was an electronics wizard as well as an outstanding carpenter, plumber and general handy man.  Between the two of us, we made the place look good and I moved all the “stuff” from my basement to the store.  The building had two floors, the first floor was used for surplus sales and the second floor we made into a shop and laboratory.  This was to be used to get some of the surplus equipment in working order.


Our store was open in the evening hours and on Saturdays.  At first, business was brisk.  Our customers were RCA people, ham radio operators and experimenters.  The biggest complaint we had was that the inventory was meager and not too appealing.  I found a company called Bysel who bought and sold (as their name implied) all sorts of military hardware.  They had electronics, components and even machine shop equipment.  We bought a great deal of equipment from them and we quickly discovered that we also could bid on government surplus.  We were successful about 10% of the time and since Jay was a pilot, we flew to various government institutions to look at the stuff we were bidding on.  In one case, we bought a lot of teleprinters from a Naval Air station in southern Virginia, and sold them in a few days.  It struck me as this was a new market for us. 


As the Japanese manufacturers began to make Amateur Radio equipment, the market for surplus items began to dry up, but the teleprinter market was selling.  The RTTY enthusiasts had to build their own “terminal units” and at the time, all were vacuum tube types.  Many hams had no facilities to do sheet metal work (holes for tube sockets and bending for the chassis).  I had a Teletype Model 15 since 1958 and I built the tube type terminal unit.  I got the teleprinter from Phil Catona, W2JAV (now deceased) who was a pioneer in RTTY.  His circuit was published in QST for all hams, but it was tubes.  In most cases the tubes had to be matched for gain and it took a lot of tubes to do this.


So, I mentioned to Jay that it would be a good time to build a solid state version of Phil’s terminal unit.  Phil had no objection other than he wanted some recognition for his earlier work.  In a few weeks Jay had a working solid state demodulator.  The size was approximately 3 x 5 inches.  It required 5VDC @ low current, and the results were outstanding.  There were a few technical difficulties, one being that most teleprinters (of the Teletype ilk) had a polar relay. It was large, about two inches in diameter and 4 inches tall.  The relay itself was special, it was similar to a single pole double throw relay and the difference was that the armature of the relay was centered between the two contacts.  It was a delicate balance and only the foolhardy would attempt to make any adjustments to the relay.  A slight mis-adjustment resulted in poor teleprinter performance. A positive signal (mark) caused the relay to close in one direction and a negative signal (space) caused the relay to close in the opposite direction.  The output of the polar relay was sent to the selector magnet which then chose the key to be printed based on the Baudot code that was generated. 


The demodulator amplified the input mark and space tones, then limited them so that they would almost be impervious to level changes.  The mark and space signals were separated by two tuned circuits.  Both signals would be rectified and then amplified again and then their outputs would be fed to the polar relay.  This provided the necessary signal to make the telprinter function.  We also provided an output for a center scale meter so that proper tuning could be made.  The Baudot code consisted of 7 bits, one start bit, 5 data bits and one stop bit.


Some teleprinters did not have a polar relay or their owners did not want to use it, so this presented a problem which plagued us for a long time.  Our goal was to eliminate the relay and just drive the selector magnet directly.  There were many transistors that could provide the necessary current to the selector magnet, but none that we could find that could withstand the “inductive kick” for the selector magnet when the field collapsed.  The reverse voltage was in the vicinity of  400VDC which caused the transistor to fail.  Snubbing the reverse kick saved the transistor but caused the teleprinter to lose “range.”  Range was a mechanical measurement to determine how well the machine was adjusted.  There was a rangefinder arm on the teleprinter which went from 0 to 120.  If a constant signal of RY’s was fed to the machine, the rangefinder was moved down until the teleprinter began to make mistakes.  The number on the rangefinder was so noted and then the arm was moved upward until the machine began to malfunction.  That number was also noted.  If the low number was 20 and the upper number was 100, the range of the machine was 80.  The rangefinder would then be set to 60. This was the ideal range.  The trick was to get the output transistors not to fail and that the range of the machine would not suffer.  It took a few months, but we finally got it and then we had the first solid state demodulator and one which did not depend on a polar relay.


We let the surplus business slide and spent all out time trying to develop a marketing strategy.  We decided to use the “Heathkit” approach and sell the demod as a kit.  Jay designed the PC board and 100 boards were ordered.  We also bought the other component parts, but the fly in the ointment was the tuned circuits.  We needed a high “Q” tuned circuit and the surplus torroids from the phone company were the ideal things.  They were two 44mh coils and if wired in series became 88mh.  A .033 polystyrene cap with an 88mh coil resonated at 2975Hz (the space frequency) and an .068 cap with that coil resonated at 2125Hz.  The caps were plus and minus at least 20% so it took many hundreds of caps and fiddling with the turns on the coils to achieve the proper frequencies.  The torroids were surplus and were used by the phone companies to compensate for various effects on their lines.  They were packed 5 to a tube and invariably encapsulated in pitch.  Getting the pitch off was a problem, but was solved.  HP was just making counters available, but they were in the thousands of dollars and a small company could not afford one.  We found a tuning fork whose frequency was 400Hz and it was modified to produce a tone at 425Hz.  If that tone was multiplied by 5 and 7 times, it resulted in tones of 2125 and 2975Hz which of course were the mark and space frequencies.  We did have an early Tektronix scope and by using Lissajous patterns we could determine the frequency down to a very small factor.


The interest was very promising and Jay and I needed help in the shop to kit the demods and to tune the frequency sensitive items.  Now, the third player entered the employ of Essco.  There was a 17 year old boy (who was also a ham – WA2MES  at the time) working at McDonalds flipping burgers.  Jay knew the kid and we hired him part time.  He had won a scholarship with the Philco Technical Institute and was available to work part time.  He was very ambitious, very technically minded and he became the right hand man for Jay.  There were times when he had better ideas than each of us and he was the best thing to happen to us in a while.  His name was Joseph Harmon Everhart, but liked “Harm” and he was a total asset to the company.  He finished his scholarship with Philco and since I could not afford to hire him full time, he went to work at RCA as a technician.  He met his wife there, and she promptly got him to quit RCA and go to Drexel to get a BSEE, which he did.  He also continued to work for us part time and his engineering discipline helped us considerably.  Harm eventually left us and went to work for a few communications companies and he eventually returned to RCA as a Class A engineer and he became a respected member of their engineering community.  He is now retired and I haven’t talked to him in a few years.


The kit, although a good seller, was not what the hams wanted.  They wanted an all in one terminal unit that contained what was necessary to make their RTTY station work.  We stopped building kits, and started building an AFSK unit a band pass filter and power supply.  We adopted a modular design in that a backplane was developed so all the cards could be plugged in with no internal wiring.  Bud had a cabinet we could use and it looked nice and we started selling a once piece unit to the ham radio community.  We advertised in QST, CQ, 73 and Ham Radio  magazines with excellent results.  During this time, Harm left and we hired James A. Steel Jr., an electrical engineering student at Drexel.  He was also part time and worked after school and on Saturdays.  He was quite bright and was an asset.  In 1964 or thereabouts, Jay decided to leave.  Now there were two of us, Jim did any assembly or design work and I bought the parts, paid the bills and generally ran the business.


I received a phone call one afternoon from I. Lee Brody who identified himself as  partially hearing individual who wanted to know if we could build a modem for use with the deaf.  Lee and Apcom had a falling out over the price of Apcom’s modem and Lee felt there would be a nice market if we could make what he considered an affordable modem for the deaf.  Lee was an agent for TDI and he represented all of NJ and eastern NY.  The ham radio orders, although still good, had begun to fade as we saturated the limited amount of ARO’s that needed terminal units.  The deaf market sounded great and was a new opportunity for us.  Lee sent me a Apcom modem, and it was a decent unit with the exception of the box holding the handset.  It looked like a cheese box and that part of the modem was not very professional.  We determined that the mark frequency was 1400 Hz and the space was 1800 Hz.  This was a narrower shift than the ham equipment.  Jim modified one of our units and we had a deaf modem in the making. 


The major difference between the deaf modem and the ham modem was that the ham modem received its input signal from the radio, whereas the deaf modem derived its signal from the telephone handset.  The “cheesebox” approach was not plausible, so I decided that an injection mold be made to house the handset.  The handset had to fit precisely right and fortunately for us, I had a good mechanical engineer friend who designed the mold.  It took just about everything I had in the bank to pay for the mold, but it came out nice and looked well.  There were bosses on the mold that allowed for a plate which contained the electronics and holes for connectors.  The phone companies would not allow direct connection to their phone lines (Part 68 was many years away) so the transmit and receive signals had to be made acoustically.  We had made provisions in the mold to allow a coil to be placed where the handset would be and the received signal was induced and was sent to the input of the modem.  The transmitting side was just an ordinary microphone glued to the inside of the case.


Both proved to be a very difficult problems.  I wanted the power supply to be built into the modem.  This would make the modem completely self contained without any external cases.  Apcom had a built in supply but an external handset holder.  Having the power supply and its attendant transformer  created a large magnetic field which desensitized the incoming signal.  Instead of having a useable -45dbm signal, it was reduced to -20dbm.  This was unacceptable.  Low signal levels on the phone line would result in extremely poor performance.  We tried all sorts of shielding on the transformer but the needed sensitivity was never achieved.  There was an AC/DC solution which I offered, but Jim was afraid of a shock hazard so we had to use a separate power supply, which solved the sensitivity problem.  The microphone had to be sensitive, but it proved to be receptive to noise in the room, babies crying and dogs barking.  To make the microphone less sensitive resulted in a transmitted signal that was much weaker than what was acceptable.  Apcom had the same problem and lived with it.  We experimented with different type of mikes and finally settled on one that was acceptable.


We went into production the latter part of 1964 and I hired a few assemblers to put the modems together.  We advertised in the TDI Journal and Lee Brody sold hundreds of modems to people in or around NYC.  Then, the mold broke, and as much as the machinist tried to weld it, it was not good.  I didn’t want to invest in another injection mold primarily because of the time factor and cost.  The injection mold piece prices were in the pennies in large quantities and that was my original plan.  Now that it was ruined, I had to go to a different type of molding.  This was called vacuum molding and the piece price now was in the 5 or 6 dollar range per piece.  The quality was not as good, but it was acceptable and we had orders to fill. 


Electronic Surplus Sales was a sole proprietor, but surplus was the wrong message to send to the deaf.  So the company became incorporated and took the name Essco Communications, Inc. The company moved to 2402 Federal Street in Camden and then two years later to 150 Marlon Pike in Camden.  During this time period, I was approached by the “boy wizard of Wall Street”, namely Paul J. Goldin (now deceased).  He and a group of lawyers (who specialized in public offerings) had a holding company called Management Dynamics.  He offered me a large number of shares in his company for all of my company.  He further stated that he and his group would take all companies that he owned public.  The thought of becoming wealthy overnight interested me, and I agreed to sell.  It was a good decision at the time, but ultimately a bad one.  Paul and his band of merry men, wrote a prospectus for Essco and I spent many days in NYC visiting many Wall Street types who would underwrite the public offering.  I left Jim in charge in my absence and he did an admirable job. I spent months with accountants and we were ready to go public when the market tanked and Paul decided to wait for a more advantageous time.  This was the downfall of Management Dynamics.  Management Dynamics became strapped for cash and had each of his 5 companies borrow large sums of money from  a capital company in NYC.  I had to sign for the financial proceeds that I received and had to put my home up as collateral. Most of it the money received was appropriated by the parent company and I was left with the monthly payments.  


In the meanwhile, our sales to the deaf were OK, and I managed to pay the salaries and bills with the proceeds of the sales.  I got the boy wonder to accept an offer for the majority of stock by a close friend, a medical doctor in Trenton, NJ.  Arnold Ritter (now deceased) was the majority stock holder but he could not exercise any of his rights until the loan to the sharks in NYC was paid.  Arnold helped me pay the monthly payments when I needed him.  After two years he finally was Essco’s owner.  With the doc as our owner, he wanted us to fiddle with medical devices and we came up with a few.  Particularly noteworthy was a gadget that measured your heart rate by inserting a finger into a black box and counting the number of LED flashes.  I went on “What’s My Line” and even with a nationwide audience, I managed to sell two of them.  After that, he stayed in the background and let me run the company.


In order to be successful, our product was based on the availability of TTY machines.  They were few and far between and not having a teleprinter to go with our modem, normally resulted in a loss of a sale.  The teleprinter was bulky, noisy (not that it mattered), dripped oil and was not a good looking piece of furniture.  I was in McDonalds one day and noticed they had a moving display at the cash register that contained the sales and price information.  A little digging and I found out that the displays were made by Burroughs and they were available.  They had two versions a large display of 12 characters and a smaller display of 24.  They were expensive (over $300 a piece) and required a high voltage power supply (300VDC or so).  I bought two of them for engineering experiments.  Joseph Elmaleh walked through the door and had an interest in teleprinters.  I mentioned that I was investigating a replacement for the teleprinter and he indicated that he was an electrical engineer and a lawyer.  He made me a proposition that he would design and build the deaf version and that he would make an ASCII version as well in which he would own the rights.  I would be required to pay for the parts. It took Joe about a month to have two working models.  The deaf prototype was shown to various deaf institutions including Gallaudet College in Washington DC and to Dr. Phil Bellefleur, headmaster of the PA School for the Deaf in Philadelphia.  Various agents of TDI also saw the “Scan-A-Type” but their objection was price.  Dr. Phil was to attend a meeting of deaf educators in San Francisco, and asked If he could demonstrate to his peers.  I let him have the device and he said it was highly accepted.  It was accepted so well that it spawned a few competitors, particularly one who eventually built a wonderful small one line display that was very reasonable.


 In the meantime, Lee Brody was on a one name basis with the chief engineer of AT&T in NYC.  We were invited to attend a meeting to determine AT&T’s interest in the product.  There was a conference room with many engineers and company lawyers.  Only Joe Elmaleh, Lee Brody and myself represented Essco.  We demonstrated the product and you could tell they were duly impressed.  They made us three offers, none of which were acceptable and we left.  I knew the product would not sell and it was scrapped.  I got a call from a Wall street type who wanted to meet with me to discuss the Scanatype.  He was willing to finance the project.  He asked me how many orders I had and when I replied zero, he slammed his fist on his desk and shouted “show me the orders and I will show you the money.”  I never forgot that good piece of advice.


I was in my office reading an electronics magazine when an article struck me.  Some country in Scandinavia was concerned with their senior citizens and put sensors under their carpets.  If the sensors detected movement, the senior was OK.  It was a trial program, but it brought to light that the same problem existed here.  A senior citizen could have a heart attack or some other problem and could lie on the floor forever.  I thought if we could devise a telephone dialer that would call the police or a family member to help the stricken individual.  The impetus for the dialer would be a transmitter (turned out to be a garage door opener) which when the send button was pressed, it would activate the dialer.  Coincidentally, Harm showed up and needed a job, so I hired him full time and this was his project.  In a few weeks we had a working model and called it “Tele-Aid.”  I got a huge amount of interest from investors, (including a partner in Price Waterhouse who offered me $100K), but we were stymied by the phone company who would not allow access to the switched public telephone network.  Of course, if you wanted to pay $20 a month, magically, they would provide a box that contained two diodes.  The investment money dried up and that project died.  Today, it is being advertised on TV with the same concept.


A few weeks later, Jim walked into my office and demanded that his salary be doubled.  If I didn’t give him what he wanted, he was going to quit.  As it turns out, he did exactly that, and he and Lee Brody started a competing company which almost instantly caused our demise.  To add insult to injury, the doctor who was the majority stock holder got into financial trouble and he sold his shares to two accountants.  These accountants only goal in life was to take company funds and use them to buy new cars and pay off their debts.  I was down, but not out.


Being on RTTY as a ham (my call letters were changed to W2GIA when I moved to New Jersey) gave me pause for thought.  The concept of a deaf radio station crossed my mind and I began to pursue it.  Putting audio signals on a radio station is routinely done, but putting audio tones on a FM sub-carrier was not.  I went to the FCC in Washington and had a long talk with the engineers with regard to doing just that.  I told them that nothing in their rules prohibited the concept, and they replied, no where does it say it was allowed.  Since I could not use commercial or not for profit FM radio stations, I petitioned the FCC for just one VHF frequency.  Although, very sympathetic, they denied my request.  It was very frustrating to have a viable idea that was technically possible but was stopped in its tracks by vague rules and regulations.  A few months later, a station in Florida petitioned the FCC to use audio signals on their sub-carrier and it was tentatively approved, and eventually approved.  One obstacle was gone, but a larger one loomed.  I had to find an FM station that was willing to let me use their sub-carrier. 


I called every single FM station in the area and found that most of the chief engineers did not have a clue as to what a sub-carrier was or what effect it would have with their existing main channel.  Most of them felt using the sub-carrier would diminish their power output (absolutely not true) and their advertisers would suffer since their signal would be less.  I did find one or two stations that would allow the use of their sub-carriers, but they wanted huge sums of money, which was out of the question.  I finally stumbled on Temple University and found them very amiable to what I wanted.  Dr. Harwood liked the idea since all the needed equipment would be paid for by Essco, and further he had to right to use the sub-carrier generator for his own school’s needs anytime the deaf were not on the air.  Now I had the FCC permission and a FM radio station (WRTI-FM), all I needed was the acceptance of the deaf community to the idea and a way to raise runds to pay for all of this.  At this time I hired Randy Acorcey, an excellent engineer who understood all the vagaries of this project.  The funding was eventually provided by the Neville Foundation whose charter was to provide for the deaf and blind.  They always provided for the blind, particularly with the talking book program on WHYY-FM.  The foundation paid for the radio time and the sub-carrier radios the blind needed.  It took a rather lengthy proposal (which I wrote in part) to get the Neville group to fork over the money which amounted to close to a half a million dollars.  The deal was that the deaf would use the money to buy TTYs for those deaf without one, all the modems required, all the radio receivers required and pay for the equipment at Temple.  Additionally, they would fund the money necessary to build a studio at the school for the deaf.  They did just that, but bought most of the modems from Apcom.  That’s the thanks Essco got.  We got everything built and the world’s first radio station went on the air a few months later.  It was a huge success, but unfortunately, the funding ran out in three years and the project was cancelled.  Temple as far as I know still has the equipment provided to them free of charge.


News of the deaf radio station reached those powers to be in the NOAA.  They called and asked if it were possible to put a sub-carrier on their  narrow band VHF radio signal.  We looked into it and Randy managed to do the impossible.  I asked for, and got permission from the top guy at NOAA to modify their radio transmitter.  I got the approval and Randy and I put the “fix” in.  For two solid weeks NOAA pumped out thousands of lines of RY’s without an error and without interfering with their main channel.  Their chief engineer called and demanded to know what fool in NOAA gave me permission to modify a government transmitter.  The silence was deafening when I read him the letter of authority signed by their head man.  Nothing really came of this, although they proposed having hundred of radio receivers for use with sub-carrier transmissions on their VHF radio stations.

The accountants who owned the majority of shares in Essco had bled the company blind to the point where the only alternative for Essco was bankrfuptcy.

Essco did a fair amount of work for RCA’s test equipment division in Harrison, NJ and one of our competitors was Diversified Electronics in Philadelphia.  The company was owned by Bernie Shuman who was a contract manufacturer and had no capability as an engineering company.  Although Bernie was a graduate EE, his time for design had come and gone.  Randy Acorcey was a bright engineer loaded with ideas.  So, I got an offer from Bernie to sell Essco.  Even though there was little money left, the accountants played hard ball and wanted big bucks for Essco.  I pointed out to them, it was better to get something than to get nothing and then go thru bankruptcy proceedings.  Bernie and the accountants reached an tentative  agreement, but Bernie was a few thousand short.  I came up with the cash necessary out of my own pocket and the deal went through. Diversified Electronics became Essco’s new owner.  The company moved from Camden, NJ to 4969 Wakefield Street in Philadelphia.  Randy and I were the only two Bernie kept and the others were let go.


Once ensconced in Philadelphia, Randy had the responsibility to build the studio at the Pa School for the Deaf.  It was a big undertaking, but Randy was quite good and the station looked beautiful.  Dr. Phil assigned one of the deaf teachers to manage the radio station.  His name was Joe Spishock and he did a wonderful job.  The local news, weather and sports were compiled by his people and put on punched tape so that the data could be sent at the high rate of speed (60WPM).  We worked out a deal with UPI who provided us with a feed for national and world wide news.  They did this at no charge which I thought was very gracious of them.  We were 15 miles or so from the Temple University studio so in order to get the signal from PSD we leased a DC pair from the phone company so we could send our data to Temple.  Turned out we needed a conditioned line, but all was well in the end. 

  Proposal for PA School  for the Deaf  Subcarrier...

Word of the radio station quickly spread and I started getting phone calls from schools for the deaf and TTY communications from the deaf in general.  Pittsburgh PA showed a lot of interest and I was asked to submit a proposal to either the Mellon or Carnegie foundations.  I did and was surprised to hear that they would fund a similar project in Pittsburgh.  This was conditioned that I find a radio station that would be willing.  I figured I might as well start at the top and called KDKA-TV/FM.  The general manager was quite receptive to the idea and I went to Pittsburgh to finalize the deal with KDKA and the foundation.  At the meeting there was a deaf man who insisted he had to be included.  We were ready to sign all the papers when the deaf guy stated that there had to be an “ad hoc” (the deaf loved the Latin wording) committee and a meeting was set up between the deaf folks and the general manager of KDKA and me.  There was a heated discussion (remember that the deaf were to get everything free) and the proposal was voted down.  To this day I am totally disappointed. 


Then, there was a new wrinkle, a deaf man in the department of Health & Welfare (I wish I could remember his name) was looking for a way to allow the deaf to see television and have the spoken word displayed on the TV screen.  This was the beginning of putting closed caption signals on line 21 of the vertical retrace scan.  I wanted to use the FM sub-carrier technique, but I was overruled  and line 21 became a reality.


Meanwhile, back at Essco, Randy was involved with many small projects, i.e. door bell ringers, wireless devices  et al.  We got a call one day from the Headmaster of the Connecticut School for the deaf who described a tragic event that took place in his school that had some fatalities.  There was a fire in the school  at it seems that they had no smoke alarms or fire detectors for the kids, and even though the standard alarms worked, the kids could not hear it.  So, we got involved with smoke and fire alarms for the deaf.  The specs called for non-battery units with wireless access to strobe lights.  We put together what we called “Smokatron.” and sold quite a few.


Randy in his own fashion decided that hearing people had telephone answering machines, but the deaf did not.  He designed an answering machine for the deaf in conjunction with TTYs.  We even personalized the message that the caller would read.  That was quite a feat at the time.  We called it “Directcom.”  It was a marginal seller, but the sales paid for the cost of R & D.


The Community College of Philadelphia had a fair quantity of deaf students.  There was a hearing fellow named Aram Terzian who was their mentor and instructor.  He gave us a contract to build a classroom loaded with TTYs and switching equipment to allow the teacher to communicate with any or all students using the TTY’s.  It was a lengthy project but it turned out wonderfully for all concerned.  Aram Terzian was promoted to head of the community college.


Finally FCC’s part 68 was law and everyone was free to use the phone companies telephone network without fear of reprisal.  There was one caveat, in that anyone wanting to use their network would need an approved FCC interface.  The specs were provided by the phone company.  Randy built and submitted the interface to a company that the FCC had authorized to do their technical work.  It took four months, but we had an approval to connect any of the deaf communication products to the telephone line.  The irony is that the phone company who proposed the specs to the FCC failed to meet their own specifications and they had to be “grandfathered.”  We licensed the rights to other companies working with the deaf.  No one else was willing to spend the time and money to do this.  Most also lacked the technical expertise and they really didn’t need it since their product was designed and manufactured in the far east.


By this time it was mid 1979 and we got a panic phone call from the top guy at Western Electric in Cincinnati, OH.  He was in the panic mode and blurted out to me that he was directed by Charlie Brown (then CEO of AT&T) to build terminals so that the deaf could communicate with the phone companies all over the country and Canada.  They (Western Electric) had no idea how to build such equipment and somehow they found us.  It was required almost instantly and his question was “how soon.”  It was not “how much.”  Bernie got involved since this was a high profile contract and he negotiated the deal.  It was pretty close to a half a million bucks to build 4 units.  This was Randy’s project.  I went to Cincinnati to discuss specifications and the project was underway.  


In the early part of 1980 Bernie and I had a difference of opinion and it got so heated that I looked for a job and found that RCA was looking for an Administrator.  The fellow who needed the new employee was an old friend from my days at RCA and I was quickly hired.  I announced to Bernie that I was leaving and he did not take the news well.  But needless to say, I did leave in March of 1980 and I never did see the outcome of the AT&T ESV-1 terminal project.


Even though I no longer was part of Essco, Joe Spishock and I collaborated on a new project for the deaf.  The funding for the deaf radio station was about to expire and we had to find an alternative.  Seems, that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting had a communications satellite.  They were willing to let us use one 5KHz audio channel for deaf radio.  It got complicated technically and economically and it never came to fruition despite a lot of effort.


In conclusion, I felt Essco provided many projects for the deaf in general and received very little in recognition.  I am sure that many of the projects we did are not in this narrative.  We were years ahead with most of our projects and were thwarted at almost every turn with government regulations and red tape.  But we gave it a good try and I am not sorry in the least.


Jerome S. Tessler   - 2013



 Proposal for PA School  for the Deaf  Subcarrier...  LINK TO PDF  FILE AT LEFT!

ESSCO COMMUNICATIONS - TU-4 TTY MODEM Photo C- SMECC From the  Zimet/Black  Collection at  SMECC

In Harry G. Lang's  book  "A PHONE OF OUR OWN" He mentions -   In October 1970, ESSCO Communications began marketing the ATC-2, a second modem for the TTY network. The following month, The Silent News, a national newspaper for the American deaf community, brazenly announced, "N.J. Firm Patents TTY Terminal Unit; Costs $100 less than Rival." The Modem War had begun. ...


(1969) New York/New Jersey Phone-TTY, Inc. is founded by I. Lee Brody to help deaf and deaf/blind to have affordable TTYs in their homes.  The first international TTY call was made to Vancouver, BC from St. Louis, Missouri.  ESSCO Communications and Ivy Electronics introduce competing acoustic couplers.  NTID initiates research on TTYs and deaf user patterns.  Six hundred TTYs are in use.



essco atc-5_atc-6_acoustiphone_modem_77_tdi_cont_program.gif (581722 bytes)   wpe2.jpg (280769 bytes)

wpe1.jpg (294274 bytes)

Let your fingers do the talking. 

The Essco Acoustiphone puts you in touch with the world. 

Nothing can match the security and convenience of telephone communication. It can widen your world, and keep you in touch with it, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 

There are only three pieces of equipment you need to get started, A telephone, a teleprinter, and an Essco Acoustiphone. 

Together, they enable you to communicate with anyone who has similar equipment. 

All you do is put the telephone handset into place on the Acoustiphone, dial the number you want to reach, type your message and read the printed response. 

There is a bright light that tells you when to dial the telephone, and the light tells you if the phone is ringing or the line is busy. The Model ATC-5 also has a built-in telephone signaler that visually alerts you when your phone is ringing. 

It's a simple, easy way to stay in touch with friends and to get help when you need it. 
The key to all of this is Essco, the first company to break the price monopoly. We make the Acoustiphone, and back it with a two-year unconditional warranty. And with a 60 day money-back guarantee if you're not completely satisfied. 

But Essco doesn't stop there. They know where you can get the teleprinter you need and will help you make the arrangements. 

The Essco Acoustiphone is ready for immediate delivery. The price you see is the price you pay. There are no hidden installation 
charges or extras, in short, no gimmicks. 

For more information, contact your local TDI agent; call Essco at (609) 365-6171, VOICE, (609) 365-5643 TTY; or use the coupon today. 

Model ATC-5, $169.95 Model ATC-5, $154.95 (without telephone signaler) 

Mail to: 
Essco Communications. Inc. 
Division of Diversified Electronic Corporation 4969 Wakefield Street 
Philadelphia, Pa. 19144 


Scanatype Model SC-2



wpe3.jpg (299949 bytes)

From the Jerome S. Tessler Collection at SMECC Photo  C- SMECC

This is the Scanatype Model SC-2.  This was the prototype made in the Early 1970s. 
It was built into an attache case. There was the Baudot version for the deaf and and 
there was an ASCII version for the business world.  It was designed by a dual threat, one 
Joseph Elmaleh who was an EE and a lawyer.   We need to  find more  on Joseph.
EMAIL Ed Sharpe Archivist  at  SMECC at with subject  SCANATYPE.






SCANATYPE TERMINAL  From the Jerome S. Tessler Collection at SMECC       Internal and Exterior Photos  C- SMECC



SCANATYPE TERMINAL  From the Jerome S. Tessler Collection at SMECC       Internal and Exterior Photos  C- SMECC



SCANATYPE TERMINAL  From the Jerome S. Tessler Collection at SMECC       Internal and Exterior Photos  C- SMECC



SCANATYPE TERMINAL  From the Jerome S. Tessler Collection at SMECC       Internal and Exterior Photos  C- SMECC


SCANATYPE TERMINAL  From the Jerome S. Tessler Collection at SMECC       Internal and Exterior Photos  C- SMECC



SCANATYPE TERMINAL  From the Jerome S. Tessler Collection at SMECC       Internal and Exterior Photos  C- SMECC





Lee Brody Talks  About ESSCO -

NADTC -- Text Radio Responses from Readers 

2. Lee Brody 

View profile 

More options Jan 3 1996, 3:00 am 

This reminds me of a project that I was involved with many years ago.. in 
1975. I was Vice-President of ESSCO communications. We had a contract with 
PSAD to install in 750 homes a "Radio-TTY receiver" in the Philadelphia 
area. We contracted with Temple University to broadcast TTY signals on a 
sub-carrier. Temple University used a Teletype machine with perforated paper 
tape to send out the broadcast. Each home was given a special receiver to 
receive the subcarrier signal. This was a simple one channel box with a whip 
antenna on top which cost about $100 at that time. It had a volume control, a 
power switch, a power cord and a audio output jack. A cable was plugged 
between the jack of a ESSCO TTY modem and the jack of the RTTY receiver. Or 
we could plug in a telephone handset in the receiver and place the handset on 
the TTY cups. All day long, for more than a year, messages could be read on a 
Teletype machine without paying for the use of a telephone. I still have this 
McMartin receiver in my "TTY Museum" 

Today, that technology can easily be duplicated to transmit the necessary 
audio tones to any TTY that is being used today. 

Will the deaf community be willing to pay for it ? 

You would have to pay the electric bill. 

RE: "1971: "Scanatype", a digital readout form of the TTY was introduced by ESSCO
Communications."  we  find  this   message out on the  net  from Lee Brody -   Ed#

The first American portable TTY, the SCANATYPE, was made by ESSCO 
Corporation of New Jersey under contract with Lee Brody and dubbed 
a TDD, Telecommunication Devices for the Deaf, by Betty Broecker of 
Philadelphia. From then on, communication products not made by 
TeleType Corporation was referred to as a TDD. Many of the early 
TDDs were not compatible with each other since there was no 
manufacturers standard.

The DA interview…Irvin Lee Brody

Gallaudet University Library Index to Deaf Periodicals
Article Record
Search by Keyword | Browse Authors | Browse Titles | Browse Subjects | Browse 
Dates | Browse Periodicals 
About the Index to Deaf Periodicals | Search Help 

The DA interview…Irvin Lee Brody
TITLE:The DA interview…Irvin Lee Brody
AUTHOR:Bowe, Frank
TTYs: Essco Scan-a-Type
TTY news services
SOURCE:Deaf American
YEAR: 1974MONTH: June
PAGES: 25-27

The full text of articles is not available online. Read "How to Get 
Articles" in the "About the Index" section. 
Some fields may be truncated due to database design. 
Please send questions, comments, and suggestions to 
Use your browser BACK button to return to the list of articles. 



 and also AMATEUR  RADIO 



With regard to the McMartin model number, I have zero recollection.  I do remember that the plastic cased sub-carrier radios were cheaper, so that is the rationale.

The McMartin receiver (either wood or plastic) had an audio output jack.  I tried very hard to get McMartin to remove the speaker from the case, but that the receiver would wind up costing more if the speaker was deleted???  The telephone was only a handset with the microphone removed and a PL55 was attached to the receiver.  The deaf user would plug the handset into the audio jack and the handset itself would be acoustically coupled to the modem.

Essco was sold to Diversified Electronics in 1976 and the new owner's place of business was Wakefield Street in Philly. Essco was in three previous locations:

324 Arch Street in Camden, NJ
2402 Federal Street in Camden
150 Marlton Pike in Camden




Some Notes, Thoughts and Photos  From Jerry Tessler  





One is a group picture of two deaf men using a teleprinter and my modem. The woman on the right is June Asman, who literally drove me crazy. She was one of the prime reasons I left Essco to return to RCA. She had a deaf daughter (who name escapes me) and June decided that her daughter was not getting a fair shake with the hearing world. Her biggest fight was with the phone company who really did not give a rat's patootey if they had deaf customers or not (not withstanding the fact the phone companies were founded by Alexander Bell whose aim was to assist deaf people), When she discovered phone TTY (PTTY) she joined TDI and became their agent for the Philadelphia area. She was a good customer and she had an contact in Western Union (her daughter married a WU field engineer). His name is John Cushing and he was a union member. June started to repair teletype machines in her basement, until the neighbors complained that the chemicals she was using smelled badly. Also the noise was rather loud, and June lost a zoning case and she had to find a shop to refurbish machines.

As things would have it, Western Union in Allentown Pa had close to 500 model 15's that they wanted to destroy, but she convinced them to give them to her. The problem is what do you do with 500 machines? A well to do frozen food company offered their warehouse and that's where the printers went. After a few months she needed some machines and called the frozen food guy who informed her that the machines were his and he was not going to return any of them. She called the WU shop steward who told her not to worry and she would get the teleprinters back. The shop stu called the frozen food guy who gave him the same song and dance. The shop steward was an Italian mafia type and just told the guy he understand. He then said, "by the way, which day do you want the fire?" June got her machines back the next day.

I always enjoyed that story.



Hi Jerry! Hope the week is going well for you!
you told me some about...
...June Asman, who literally drove me crazy. She was one of the prime reasons I left Essco to return to RCA.
Jerry - tell me EVERYTHING you possibly remember about her... see if you can remember daughters name
Ed Sharpe


Well, I don't know where to start, she was a very interesting woman with lofty ideals. She was married to Bill, and I think it was her second marriage. Her maiden name was Proudfoot (she was part American Indian) and she was very proud of her heritage. She had one daughter, I think (am not sure) named Donna who was profoundly deaf. As such, she was always looking for devices that could make her daughter's life easier.

I first met her approximately in the very early 70'd perhaps in the last 60's. She called me and wanted to arrange a meeting since she had heard about Essco from a deaf friend. She and Bill came to my office one evening and they wanted to invest in Essco. She never did, but a deaf man did (he was the local agent for TDI agent). He died in a car accident a few months later and she kind of picked up where he left off.

She felt the deaf were not getting a square deal from the phone company (and she was right) so she did all the calling, cajoling and every else to make the phone company change the rules for handicapped people. This was to no avail since they (the phone company) were obliged to comply with the tariffs the FCC had imposed on them. Unless the FCC rules were changed, she was up against a brick wall.

She also felt that the major box stores were not helping the deaf with regard to telephone sales, so she figured a good start would be Sears. She called the General Manager of the local store and he had no interest in helping the deaf. It meant a TTY in the store and someone to answer it. Being frustrated, she called the CEO of Sears and she actually talked to him and found out he had a deaf son. Within 5 minutes she had the Sears store in Philly where she wanted them. They were the first (as far as I know to have a TTY).

She really was the TDI agent in the Philadelphia area, and had quite a bid of support from the deaf at large. If I recall she knew ASL and she began to start selling teleprinters and of course my modems. I was happy to have her as a customer since she bought an appreciable amount of couplers from me. We became very good friends both from a social and business standpoint.

Her daughter met a guy from Western Union who was a field service tech repairing Teletype machines. He name was Jon Cushing and they eventually married. Since June had a good technician in the family, she starting repairing TTY's in her basement. Her neighbor complained since the solvents did have an odor and noise was somewhat loud. She applied for a zoning variation (and I testified in her behalf) but to no avail. She was forced to get a commercial building to continue repairing the machines. This when the whole episode started with the large number of TTY's Western Union gave to her, and I think I told you the story how she got them back from a frozen food manufacturer.

A few years passed and she began to have marital problems with he husband and she would call me100 times a day (no exaggeration) to ask me what she should do. She interrupted my normal work flow and even I told I could call her back, she would have no part of it.

I jumped at the chance to close (or leave Essco), just so I would not have to keep talking to her, and in a few years there was an opening at RCA. She even called me there, but eventually all became quiet and I never heard another word from her. Her son in law was laid off from WU and he called and asked if I could get him a job, but that never happened.

So, that is about the extent of it.






There is a picture of Dr. Bellefleur who was the headmaster at the Pa School for the Deaf. A real nice guy and a close friend. He was a technological advocate and interceded on my behalf with Temple University with the radio station.



Another photograph is the Rev Roger Pickering, a force with the deaf community, using his TTY with an APCOM modem (shame on him).




Also, here is a copy of an award given to me at a deaf convention.









Dr. Phil and Latham Bruenig collaborated on a pamphlet which they distributed throughout the United States.



Jerry Tells us: Now, getting back to the ham radio RTTY for a second. The FCC finally allowed the use of RTTY on all the high frequency bands (80 though 10M). The emission was F1 (frequency shift keying). However, a fellow co-worker at RCA and I thought that it was time that the FCC allowed AFSK on ten meters. We petitioned the FCC and were the only two guys ever allowed to use AFSK on that frequency.

Wow, my fingers are getting tired."
We sent  some photos to  Jerry Tessler  formerly  
owner of ESSCO Communications... Jerry  replies...


Ed Sharpe   asks  Jerry Tessler - "looks like a handset all set for the McMartin recv?"


Jerry Replies - You hit the nail on the head, the handset was used in conjunction with the McMartin sub-carrier receiver. Handsets were almost impossible to get, but I found a company in NYC that would provide them. I had a tough time convincing him that I didn't need the transmitter for the handset. It was not easy putting on the PL55's when you consider the wire was the tinsel type. In answer to your question, I do not have any.

I did some research on sub-carrier radios and found you could buy a small PC board which could demodulate the sub carrier, but then it had to be wired into an FM radio. That was much too costly and then I found out that McMartin was one of two sub-carrier radio manufacturers. WHYY-FM in Philly was using them for the talking book program for the blind. 

I talked McMartin them about buying 500 radios and found that they only could be sold to licensed broadcast stations, so I had to get Temple University to agree to give me permission to purchase the radios. It also had a good side, Brody and his company who wanted to blind side us was unable to buy the radios since he did not own a radio station. Ha.. Incidentally, McMartin provided a transmitter free of charge to TU and Temple shared a 2000 foot tower in the enclave of TV, AM & FM radio antenna farms (which still exists today). Also, the National Weather service was on the same tower. 

I remember modifying the NWS radio transmitter so we could prove that a sub-carrier could be installed on a narrow band FM transmitter. I got a lot of flak from the chief engineer who read me the riot act for tampering with a government transmitter. He shut his big mouth when I read to him a letter authorizing the modification signed by the director of NOAA. Once installed, I drove around in a small truck equipped with a TTY and a McMartin sub-carrier field strength meter. One of the conditions that Temple imposed was that they needed a plot of the field strength. It was really fun until the police stopped me and wanted to know what I was doing in the parking lot of a shopping center.

I am sorry for the long drawn out story, but it brought out memories of years bygone.

Also, thanks for the Essco ad. Bernie Shuman, then owner of Essco, had some relative who was in the advertising business. Hence the nice ad.


essco atc-5_atc-6_acoustiphone_modem_77_tdi_cont_program.gif (581722 bytes)


Jerry Tells us:


Ed - With regard to the McMartin model number, I have zero recollection.  I do remember that the plastic cased sub-carrier radios were cheaper, so that is the rationale.

The McMartin receiver (either wood or plastic) had an audio output jack.  I tried very hard to get McMartin to remove the speaker from the case, but that the receiver would wind up costing more if the speaker was deleted???  The telephone was only a handset with the microphone removed and a PL55 was attached to the receiver.  The deaf user would plug the handset into the audio jack and the handset itself would be acoustically coupled to the modem.

Essco was sold to Diversified Electronics in 1976 and the new owner's place of business was Wakefield Street in Philly. Essco was in three previous locations:

324 Arch Street in Camden, NJ
2402 Federal Street in Camden
150 Marlton Pike in Camden






wpe1.jpg (618219 bytes) wpe6.gif (1199835 bytes)  wpe8.gif (569347 bytes)

Ad images from the Ralph - W8ROI COLLECTION  at SMECC


ESSCO TU from the SMECC Archives   Photos  C-  SMECC 


ESSCO TU from the SMECC Archives   Photos  C-  SMECC 

ESSCO_TU1-M_Board.jpg (76275 bytes)

ESSCO TU1-M Board from the SMECC Archives   Photos  C-  SMECC 


ESSCO TU-7 Manual  
Thanks to Jim W0NKN for scanning and sending us this!


essco_manual1.jpg (275888 bytes)  essco_2.jpg (204438 bytes)


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essco_14manual-b.gif (460303 bytes)  essco_14last.gif (1135780 bytes)



Ralph - W8ROI tells  us  about  ESSCO - 

"Whoa! Does that name bring back some memories!”

I had the complete ESSCO unit. All kits, some of which were
based on the  "Transistorized W2JAV TU" in the RTTY 
Handbook. ESSCO expanded and had everything else 
needed, over and above what the Handbook diagrams

I used that package and made a bunch of contacts on 80M 
AFSK RTTY. I was using wide shift, with the high tones. The
transmitter was a Drake T4X, that I had modified with the 
larger 'sweep tubes' that would fit the sockets and had the 
same pin-out. I had to leave the RF Cage off, though, since 
the replacement tubes were almost 3/4" taller. I also had a
4" muffin fan on top of the transmitter at that corner of the
cabinet where the tubes were. The 'sweep tubes' were capable
of working outside of their design parameters, but they could
be 'melted' if you were not careful. I took no chances.

I also had to 'max out' the bias setting because with the 
bigger tubes, the idle current was up close to the 'max' that
the Drake power supply could put out!  Seeing the plate 
current almost 'hit the peg' made me reach for the power
switch real quick! I turned the bias setting up to about 'half'
of the swing of the control and tried again. Still too much 
idle current. I made one more attempt before setting the 
control to 'max'.

I've long since forgotten the entire list of printed circuit 
cards, but there was one with the TU circuitry, an AFSK 
card, a 'Keyer card' with a transistor on a heat sink, a 
power supply card, and that's all I can remember.

Virtually everyone told me the same thing: "You have a 
good signal, but your Space Tone is quite weak compared 
to the Mark tone". Well, the Drake transmitter was not 
designed to pass audio much above 2200 Hz, so that is
not surprising. I still made a lot of contacts. 

One day, I was home alone and tuning around on 20M, I 
saw a signal, and could recognize the "CQ" so I tuned it in 
and it was from Australia! Solid copy!  I got the transmitter 
all set and called him. Bingo! He came right back. I was so 
thrilled, and had no one to share this with. I saw a couple of
neighborhood kids in the empty lot next door and hollered 
out the window for them to come to the house. I showed 
them the Model 19 printing something from the VK station, 
and told them what it was. They were absolutely un-

They wandered off and I finished the QSO with him, sort of 
in a funk, because the fact that I was communicating with 
Australia meant nothing to these two (8-9 year old?) girls. 

- - - -

I later discovered that ESSCO made a narrow shift TU 
board and AFSK unit, but I was on a limited budget and 
didn't want to press my luck with the XYL, asking for 
another $50 or so to have narrow shift available.

There was a year when there was a Michigan Week 
Certificate issued by the State of Michigan to ham operators
who made 10 or 15 QSOs with stations outside of Michigan, 
promoting Michigan. I made it a point that year to get my
entire list of QSOs on RTTY. I had to beg for the QSL cards 
from a few guys who were sort of 'ho-hum' on certificates. 
I did eventually get them all and made my application. I got 
the certificate a few months later, and was quite proud of 
it. It made no mention of Mode of Operation, so it was just 
something that I knew and was proud of.

Other than the unusual shape of the ESSCO cabinet, I don't
remember much more. I don't remember if I sold the TU 
package or swapped it or what. 

Thanks for 'listening'.


Ralph - "W8ROI"

- - - - - - - -





ATC-5 Acoustiphone








Jerry tell us: "The directcom1 was a wonderful piece of engineering, we were many years ahead of the pack.  We had gotten some comments from the deaf that a TTY answering machine would be something they would want.  So, my earstwhile engineer (who was a wizard in digital logic) designed and built the Directcom.  It was a fair seller, the price was steep."





Jerry states: "As I mentioned last night, there was a fire in the CT school for the deaf and this was our attempt to assist the schools in their efforts to protect kids from fire.  So, the Smokatron was built and marketed.  It was a decent seller and got the attention of a fair amount of schools and individuals."






Jerry Tessler  tells  us: "The coup de etat was the project for AT & T.  As I mentioned last evening, the POTUS and CEO of AT&T ordered that communications for the deaf be instituted ASAP.  The ESSCO ESV-1 was designed and built to fulfill the requirements of AT&T and they provided invaluable help in writing the specifications.  Originally, they wanted just four units, but I understand that as many as 50 were purchased.  This was a very large financial project for a very small company.  I never saw the end since I left ESSCO in March of 1980 to return to my other company, RCA."



Joseph S. Elmaleh, lawyer
June 22, 2010 - By Sally A. Downey, Inquirer Staff Writer

Joseph S. Elmaleh, 82, of Elkins Park, a lawyer, computer engineer, and colonel in the Army Reserve, died of cancer Sunday, June 20, at Einstein at Elkins Park.

Mr. Elmaleh earned a bachelor's degree and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and then practiced law in Center City in the 1950s and 1960s. He loved electronics, said his son, E. Michael, and after consulting for other lawyers on cases involving technology, decided to switch careers.

He returned to Penn and earned a master's degree in computer science. For several years he worked for computer companies, and then he became a computer consultant. He developed one of the first programs to analyze electrocardiograms for one of his clients, Roche Medical Electronics, his son said.


In the late 1970s, Mr. Elmaleh joined Sperry Corp., now Unisys. He was both a hardware and software engineer for the firm, and was a troubleshooter for incompatible computer language and equipment, his son said. He retired in 1989.

Mr. Elmaleh, whose father, Leon, was a prominent rabbi, grew up in North Philadelphia. He graduated from Central High School and served in the Army at the end of World War II on Governors Island in New York.

He remained in the Army Reserve after his discharge and retired as a colonel in the 1980s. His annual two weeks of active duty were spent at the computer center at the Pentagon, his son said.

Mr. Elmaleh kept up his law license and was a member of the Pennsylvania Bar for 57 years.

He was a photographer and ham radio operator, and built and designed home computers and radio-controlled model planes and ships.

He met his wife, Miriam Kaiser Elmaleh, at Hillel, the Jewish center at Penn, on his first day of law school and her first day as an undergraduate. He and his wife, a family physician, enjoyed travel, especially to Hawaii, Australia, and the Far East. They were married 54 years before her death in March.

Mr. Elmaleh was a life trustee of Mikveh Israel synagogue in Philadelphia, where his family had been members for five generations.

In addition to his son, he is survived by a daughter, Francine, and two grandchildren.

A funeral will be at noon Tuesday, June 22, at Goldsteins' Rosenberg's Raphael-Sacks Memorial Chapel, 6410 N. Broad St. Burial will be in Montefiore Cemetery, Jenkintown.



Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or













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