Frank A. Perkins (1929-2017) served in the U.S. Army as an engineering instructor (missile guidance systems) after graduating from Georgia Tech in 1951. After working briefly as a young project engineer, he joined Radiation, Inc. in 1959 and was quickly put to work developing components that would become part of radio, satellite, and eventually even telecom and modem technologies that are now used on a daily basis. As the company grew in both reputation and capabilities, his career expanded as well—Perkins stayed with Radiation/Harris through the merger until his retirement in 1988. This collection of his papers reflects the exciting and intense demands of the era when engineers began crossing the lines between analog and digital equipment.
After Mr. Perkins retired in 1988, he spent the majority of his time travelling the globe and fly fishing. During this time he was also instrumental in arranging the Radiation Old Timers, a community group of Radiation employees. The research and efforts that Mr. Perkins put into promoting the Old Timers’ Reunions and developing the online retrospective, Radiwiki, laid the foundation for what eventually became the Radiation, Inc. Archives. His keen intuition of historical value—particularly in regards to electrical and electronic developments—lead to his curation of documents and publications, which he entrusted to the archives at Florida Tech.
Radiation, Inc. was founded by Homer Denius and George Shaw in 1950. The company was first located in an old Naval building at the Melbourne Airport. Facilities were later added in Palm Bay, FL and Orlando, FL, as well as major expansions in the Melbourne area.
During their active years, Radiation, Inc. developed equipment and fulfilled orders for many secret and classified projects for organizations such as Bell Telephone Laboratories, NASA, Ford Motor Company, and the Department of Defense. Many of these projects have been declassified over the years as developments progressed, allowing for their inclusion in the collection. Their engineers focused on developing radio telemetry systems, digital data acquisition systems, and tracking antennas for usages including meteorology, surveillance, and guidance. Some prominent Radiation, Inc. projects include Boeing’s Minuteman Missile, NASA’s Apollo and Gemini missions, Project Nimbus, and early satellite and multiplexing equipment.