National Geographic : 1960 Jan
National Geographic, January, 1960 everyone along the way that what he is do ing is a part of making fine china." South Jersey has not had to wait until now to claim diversified industry. For years the area has boasted of production "from pen points to battleships." That would be Cam den, home of Esterbrook pens and the New York Shipbuilding Corporation (pages 26-27). Camden: From Pens to Proud Sea Giants Rare is the middle-aged American unac quainted with Esterbrook points; the company made 325 million of them in the peak year of 1919. Now in its 102d year, Esterbrook still makes millions of carbon-steel points for world-wide distribution, but the bulk of pro duction is in fountain pens, including hun dreds of thousands of desk pen sets. If Esterbrook deals in numbers, however, the New York Shipbuilding Corporation spe cializes in bulk. When I stopped by the ship yard at Camden, the first vague outlines of the huge carrier Kitty Hawk were taking shape in a deep, specially built graving dock. Far below, men swarmed like ants over the giant steel skeleton, affixing great steel plates with precision. A shipyard is a place of many sights and a place to test a man's endurance. I hustled for hours after my long-legged guide as we climbed up and down and across the long ways-each 850 feet long, the only covered ways of such size in the country. One held the beginnings of a submarine. Near by, a merchant ship was only days from launching. Eventually we reached the drafting room. As far as the eye could reach, men sat under fluorescent lights working at drafting tables. "How big is this room?" I asked. "Oh, about an acre or so," my guide said offhandedly, as if all industries had "an acre or so" of draftsmen. Science Works Tomorrow's Wonders Painstaking research and planning builds ships in Camden. Such research is a New Jer sey hallmark, the State's link with tomorrow's industrial production. Roughly a tenth of the country's industrial research laboratories are located within the State's borders. Research activity is especially intense at Princeton, partially because of the university's noted graduate school and partially because of pure scholarship at the Institute for Ad vanced Study (pages 30-31). Founded in 1930 through a $5,000,000 grant from the Bamberger family in Newark, the institute has become an acknowledged gather ing place for the world's top thinkers. It awards no degrees and holds no scheduled classes. Its work centers in two broad areas - mathematics and historical studies. Poet T. S. Eliot wrote part of his play The Cocktail Party at the institute, and Arnold Toynbee worked there on his 10-volume A Study of History. In all, some 4,000 publica tions have been partly or completely pro duced at the institute, including works by Nobel prize winners. Another famed New Jersey institution is the Bell Telephone Laboratories on a hilltop at Murray Hill, one of the world's largest in dustrial research laboratories.* Naturally Bell research concentrates on communications-on such things as telephone handsets, wire, and telephone poles-but it knows few bounds. Out of Murray Hill has come basic work in synthetic crystals. There, too, was developed the transistor (page 6), which won its three-man team of perfecters the Nobel prize in physics in 1956. Nickel Plays Edison's Favorite Tune Organized research in Jersey began in 1876 when Thomas A. Edison and his team opened a laboratory at Menlo Park. Edison received patents for 300 items developed at Menlo Park, including the incandescent lamp and the phonograph, before he moved to West Orange in 1887. That West Orange laboratory, now part of the National Park System, is open for all to see (page 24). Visitors can listen to an Edison jukebox (a nickel in the slot produces music), hear his favorite recording of "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen," and see his original movie equipment. Near by stands a reproduction of his "Black Maria," the tar-papered movie studio that pivoted to face the sun and give insensitive films of Edison's time the greatest possible amount of light. Edison's desk is just as he left it at his death in 1931, crammed with thoughts and ideas. The cot where he napped so sparingly is in a corner. A model of the original in candescent lamp stands on the desk. Signif icant is Edison's chemistry laboratory, where (Continued on page 38) * See "New Miracles of the Telephone Age," by Robert Leslie Conly, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, July, 1954.