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Lytron

By Jim Colombo (USA)

Chapter 9


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T & B Circuits began October 1, 1964 with great expectation by Milan and 

caution by Bill Borg.  Milan expected T & B to be successful, but then Milan expected

everything he tried to be successful, and Bill had guarded optimism.  Bill would pay the

expenses for T & B and Milan would pay expenses for Lytron. Jack Dunning had

worked with Joe at Sylvania and would be in charge of sales for Lytron and T & B.  Jack

had sold military communications gear and now wandered in the commercial world of start-

ups in Silicon Valley. 

             All of Jack's new customers were eager to do business, but were

they credit worthy?  Joe had become a good printed circuit board engineer and could

tell by the degree of detail to design and product application whether a customer had

any potential.  Jack would do the due diligence regarding the company's financial position. 

About seven of every ten jobs were viable and Joe needed to keep his crew busy.  

T & B was a prototype shop with on-time delivery, good quality, and worked from four at

night to midnight. 

             Lytron would do production runs from 50 to 200 hundred boards per

order, working from seven in the morning to four in the afternoon.  Prototype boards

were made in batches of five.  The customer would order two or three board to see if

the design was fusible and would pay a lot charge.  Joe's quality was good and typically a

lot would yield four or five boards that reduced the unit cost per board.  Customers were

happy and Joe's scrap cost was low.  Lytron's reputation began to grow and Jack no

longer sought customers; now but they sought Jack.  Joe hired Henry Rox, a friend from

Sylvania, to manage T & B at night and he continued to work in production control at

Sylvania.  T & B's sales were ten to fifteen thousand per month and Lytron was

expanding from twenty-five to fifty thousand per month.  Joe began talking to Ron and

Milan about expanding the facility.    

            Joe spent more time engineering and planning printed circuit jobs and in

December he hired Ben Nakamora to run plating, the chem lab, make the additions to

the tanks, and be responsible for both shifts.  By December Henry Rox worked

full time in sales with Jack.  They were getting a good mix of new proto jobs and repeat

production jobs.  They were working six days a week and projected that in April 1965 

T & B would have to expand into their own shop.  Bill would run T & B with support from

Lytron has needed.  It was a very demanding time, but satisfying with the feeling of

accomplishment at the end of each month and the monthly pizza and beer bust.          

            Milan was satisfied with the success of Lytron and T & B, but a ghost would visit

him at night.  What happened to Paolo?  Was he dead or was he hiding in London? 

Would he ever hear or see him again?  He hoped someday the ghost would vanish. The

Bella Rosa Restaurant was prospering; he would sell his interest in TTT carpet, quit his

job at Honeywell, and concentrate on printed circuits.   He introduced Jack Dunning to

his friends in the aerospace business and bought a small fiberglass laminate company

in Anaheim, California.  Laminate venders were not reliable so Milan enjoyed new

challenges. 

             The quality of fiberglass laminate had improved with The Institute of Printed

Circuit Board's guidelines regarding proper manufacturing and NASA specifications that

demanded boards be made with FR-4 flame retardant and self extinguishing

laminate.  Fiberglass laminate consisted of ten layers of FR-4 fiber glass sheets about

six to eight thousands thick that were glued together with epoxy.  One and a half

thousand batches of copper foil were glued with epoxy on both sides, completing the

laminate  sheet. 

               Milan never took anything for granted and demanded complete control of

anything he possessed.  He would rely more on Ron and Joe as knights in his kingdom.    

            Joe still enjoyed his 9:30am roach coach double napalm burrito with extra

Tabasco sauce. He didn't pay attention to the guys buying cigarettes with a wooden

box of matches for $7.50 compared to his 25 cents for cigarettes a book of cardboard

matches.  An ounce of marijuana snuggly fit into an empty wooden match box.  The

patron would request either a Panama or Hawaiian wooden box of matches.  The lads

in time discovered that cookies or brownies could be made with marijuana and that one

could take a hit while eating lunch or taking a break.  The guys with long hair who

listened to KFAT-FM "Radio Free Gilroy" were more liberal to the creative changing

times and would “keep on truckin".  There were a few entrepreneurs who cultivated the

cannabis and earned more than their regular jobs. Soon they devoted all of their time to

growing weed.   

            This was a time prior to OSHA and the ramifications of breathing toxic sulfuric or

nitric acid fumes by platers were unknown.  Screeners would bake racks of printed

circuit boards at 250 degree in ovens for fifteen minutes.  The resist fumes created a

black smoke that would bake on the sides of the oven walls.  The black smoke was

ventilated with an exhaust system and, when the oven doors opened, some of the

black smoke escaped and the screener would breathe the fumes. 

               It was a job during challenging economic times and much was tolerated.  Most of

the workers were in their twenties and believed that they were bullet proof, they were so

unaware of the potential for future health problems. 

               Jobs were scarce and any job that paid for the rent and bough food was

tolerated.  Living month to month was good enough.

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