By Jim Colombo (USA)
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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
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
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
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.