Thursday, July 11, 2013

NELA Park 1962

My dad worked as a research scientist at NELA Park in East Cleveland, Ohio, from 1952 until his retirement in the late 1980's. This photo was taken in 1962, about ten years into his time there; the photographer had the clever idea of posing everyone in a building stairwell. Great idea, though the camera's depth of field was not quite up to the task, and those at the bottom seem to me to be a little out of focus. I think everyone here was part of the Lighting Research division, and from there was organized by having the executives at the top, the research scientists next (grouped by lab), and the engineers and support staff further down. My dad, Dr. Ralph M. Potter, is the third from the left of the stairwell corner in the second tier -- nearby is his longtime boss, John Blank, and lab-mates Dick Hansler, Bob Woodhouse, and Manuel Aven. I don't recognize many of the others -- this was taken when I was only two years old -- but I love the "Mad Men" era clothes, heavy dark-rimmed glasses, and clean-cut lines of this group; it feels like a time capsule from an era when science and technology mattered, and the people with the test tubes held the world in their hands.

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