Chile


In 1928 Paul accepted a 3-year job with the Anglo-Chilean Consolidated Nitrate Mining Company in Tocopilla, Chile. We refer to this as his “second career.” It was a move that allowed him to follow his first love, railroads, even though the title was “Junior Electrical Engineer.” 

Late in 1928 he sent for his bride-to-be, Eva Belle Huling. He sailed out in the harbor to meet the ship with Belle, and they were married at sea. Her “luggage” included a trunk full of radio components to keep Paul busy. Soon he built a shortwave receiver and had a “speaker in a box” in their living room. They received all of the radio programs from New York that were beamed to the Byrd Expedition at the South Pole.

It was soon thereafter that a friend loaned Paul a direct radiator loudspeaker. Paul had been using a curled up horn similar to this. The immediate observation was that the horn could fill the room with the output of a 0.7 watt amplifier, while a 5 watt amp was straining to achieve less output with the new direct radiator. This was the first building block in what would become his design philosophy and his biggest contribution to our art.

Paul’s other hobbies while in Chile included 16mm movies, swimming, and golf. You can briefly see PWK at the very end of this movie clip (in his overcoat in the Tropics). Golf was short-lived, as he subsequently advised others against the practice! His interest in their garden was strictly in measuring the daily growth of the Kentucky Wonder climbing beans up the pole every 24 hours, and consuming the results. While in Chile he joined the Lodge Progress No. 812 R. G. L. of Scotland in Antofagasta taking 3 degrees.

Paul was not satisfied with just “maintaining” his electric locomotives. His inventive side appeared in at least two areas, pantograph mechanics, and the electronic monitoring of wheel slippage. In the first case we have this blueprint detailing a pantograph linkage that looks like it was headed for a patent action. His wheel slip effort also appears to have been considered for patenting. Note the horse shoe magnet in the drawing. I suspect this could be considered an early building block for today’s anti-lock braking.

Nearing the end of his 3-year stint, an inventory was done on their company-provided quarters. It has been translated from the original Spanish. From the looks of it they were living a pretty good life in a “mining camp.” They returned to the United States in September 1931 along with Lobo, their Belgian Shepard dog. Paul would always refer to Lobo as his favorite dog. Later at the close of WWII he would occasionally misuse that name on his “new dog,” G.I. Joe. Transportation from Chile was via a tanker ship with passenger accommodations for 6. To wrap up this adventure, they discovered the bank in El Paso with all of their savings had closed shop due to the Great Depression. Paul did not worry about it too much, as there was nothing to be done, and, as he would phrase it, “it saves ulcers.”

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