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Lytron

By Jim Colombo (USA)

Chapter 2


 

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Milan graduated in 1957 and worked at Fiat for three years as an accountant.  In

1960 Milan left Fiat and went to New York City with Paolo Mazzai, a friend who had

attended the university with him.  Paolo had an uncle in Brooklyn who owned a fruit and

vegetable market.  This was not the glamorous America they had envisioned.  Three

months later Milan and Paolo left Brooklyn for Los Angeles to make their fortune.  They

would stay with Paolo’s uncle Guido, who owned an Italian restaurant in Burbank. 

Hollywood was close by, filled with rich American women. 

Milan and Paolo began washing dishes and making pizzas.  The passing

clientele watched in amazement as Paolo tossed pizza dough high into the air and

caught it. Paolo wanted to open an Italian restaurant in downtown Los Angeles near the

big hotels in Hollywood.  Milan enjoyed entertaining the ladies as a waiter. Why work

so hard when all he had to do was smile?  He quickly learned that plain ladies give

bigger tips than beautiful ladies.  He liked the challenge of finding that spot that each

lady had.  Some were easier than others but all had a spot, and once found it was a

matter of time and charm.  He referred to it as rubbing a cat’s belly when ladies

succumbed to his spell.  Milan always got what he wanted. 

            A year later Milan married a plain lady with money who was ten years older than

him.  Her husband had died of a heart attack trying to manage three clothing stores. 

Milan’s new money joined Paolo’s cooking talents, and they opened an exclusive Italian

restaurant on Wiltshire Boulevard.  Their clientele were young ladies with little talent

offering their youth to be discovered, young men with no money with tan physiques

waiting to lure foolish women twice their age, and those who enjoyed good Italian

cuisine.  The restaurant prospered with Hollywood want-to-bes and could-have-beens. 

Ten months later Milan’s wife finally accepted the reality that he wasn’t faithful and they

divorced.  

       Thus, Milan was free from the chore of faking sex to a sow who never had

experienced an orgasm.  He was twenty-seven, single, and had a cashiers check for

sixty thousand dollars.  Milan and Paolo remained partners in the restaurant.  During the

divorce Paulo seduced Milan’s ex-wife to forgive the balance due on his loan.  She

agreed, and thought that she had gained a restaurant. A week later Paolo offered her a

glass of wine, and explained that the relationship was finito.  She could come by and

dine but she no longer owned a piece of the restaurant or him.  She looked surprised

and explained that she had bought two tickets to Las Vegas to celebrate their new

relationship.  Paolo offered her a second glass of wine.  While sipping her third glass

she noticed a young hunk of manhood with blond hair that covered his eyes, maybe a

surfer.  They spoke briefly and left.  A week later Paolo learned from the surfer’s friend

that she and the surfer had flown to Las Vegas and were married.  Let the fantasy

continue.

Milan moved to Santa Clara and discovered the electronics industry.  NASA

wanted to send men to the moon and government contracts were a lucrative business. 

He charmed civil servants as well as the ladies and it was just a matter of finding that

spot.  He worked for two years at Honeywell, flying from the San Francisco office to the

Los Angeles office and became the ultimate salesman.  NASA got what they wanted

and Honeywell got the contracts.  Milan was promoted, given stock, and literally

wrapped in gold chains.  He invested his money in airline stocks.  His favorite was

Eastern Airlines.  When it tripled he sold and invested in Pacific Southwest Airlines.  It

had the busy San Francisco to Los Angeles route.  It also had the most beautiful

stewardesses, petite women with girl’s bodies, the perfect fantasy.  Milan could see the

future: printed circuit boards.  All electronic devices had circuits.  Some were harnesses

or cables, and some were a new technology using plastic with copper foil etched on one

side, creating circuits called traces.  The components were soldered on the copper foil. 

It was called solid state with resistors, diodes, capacitors, and a new device called a

transistor that was the state of the art.  Electronic components were creating the future,

and were assembled on printed circuit boards. 

Milan had moved to Saratoga Hills and lived in a six-bedroom, four-bathroom

mansion in the Santa Cruz Mountains. He enjoyed entertaining guests, having parties,

and flirting with the young ladies who attended.  He liked making business contacts.  He

had met two men from Sylvania who shared his interest in printed circuit boards. 

Sylvania made communications devices for NASA and had a plating and fabrication

shop to make prototype runs of printed circuit boards.  Sylvania was experimenting with

fiberglass to replace plastic as the base material.  They were talking to Milan about

plated through-holes, which doubled the efficiency of connectivity with more

components.  Double-side printed circuit boards fascinated Milan. Plated through holes

on double-sided fiberglass printed circuit boards and the transistor were the catalyst

that created solid-state technology and the race to the moon that would make a few

men with vision very wealthy.  Milan wanted to start a prototype shop and make double-

sided printed circuit boards.  It was a race to wealth somewhere between here and the

moon

Milan had met Joe Steckle at Sylvania. He managed the plating shop

and the fabrication area.  Joe explained that it took four technologies to make boards:

photography, plating, machining, and silk screening. The boards began on panels and

were drilled with different hole sizes for various components prior to imaging.  The

positive circuit image was transferred to film, creating a negative image on a thin wire

polyester mesh.  The negative image created a positive image when transferred from

polyester mesh screens to the copper panels.  The panels were imaged with black

Resist (ink) when silk-screened and created a positive image on the copper clad

board.  Then the image was baked to harden it.  All areas not covered with black

ink were plated with copper, then tin-lead. The Resist was washed away exposing the

original copper surface.   The panels were sent through a conveyer that sprayed

ammonia nitrate etch that removed the residual exposed copper exposing the green

fiber glass below the copper clad.  The dull tin-lead plated circuits on panels were

dipped into hot oil, fusing the tin-lead to become solder at 410o F. The contact edges

were call tips or fingers, and were plated with 24 karat gold over nickel.  The electrical

current entered the board through the gold tips, traveled through circuitry to the

component, then leaving the component and exiting the board through the same gold

tips.   After plating, while in panel form the double sided boards were cut to size per

blueprint dimensions. 

            Technology was expanding, creating the printed circuit industry, the socket and

connector industry, and the electronic component industry.  Companies like Fairchild

Camera, Stewart Warner, Dickson, and Allen Bradley began the race to the moon with

technology and rich NASA contracts.  Others followed quickly, like Lockheed, General

Dynamics, Hughes, Rockwell, Hewlett-Packard, Litton, Varian, Sylvania, Motorola, and

IBM.  Small giants began to walk, like Intel, National, AMD, Texas Instrument, and the

printed circuit industry.  The early sixties were a dynamic time of opportunity with

several industries beginning, such as electronics, fast food, and experiments with silicon

by Stanford engineers in Palo Alto and Santa Clara.  Words like binary code, buffer

memory, I/O hand shake for computers, and base, emitter, and collector for transistors,

and electrolysis deposition for double-sided printed circuits boards were part of the new

language in the valley that once was the prune capital of California.  Milan was in the

right place at the right time surrounded by the right people.

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