Lenox Instrument Company
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Lenox Instrument Company has been serving our client for over 90 years
Lenox History

History Of Lenox Instrument Company
1940 - 1950

When World War II erupted, Dr. Crampton devoted much of his energy to the war effort. His shop was "filled to the rafters" with defense orders, mostly for borescopes. Crampton and his employees would work late into the night peering into the bores of 37 mm anti-aircraft guns and other weapons

Borescope kit, 1943. Chevrolet G.M. gun plant, 1942,
inspection of rifling & interior finish.
Chevrolet G.M. gun plant, 1942,
inspection of rifling & interior finish.

Popular Science magazine story
on G.M. gun plant, 1942.
(click for larger image)
G.M. gun plant, 1942, rifling
in a 90mm anti-aircraft gun.

During the war, Lenox provided both Westinghouse and General Electric with borescopes for inspecting the rotating shafts of steam turbines, which both firms were making for warships. The army also used the company's borescopes extensively for inspecting the gun barrels of tanks, and the anti-aircraft weapons, which were being produced at the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia. An even more challenging assignment for Crampton and Lenox lay ahead.

Dr. Crampton & employee John Lang played a small part in the course of history by helping to develop the first atomic bomb. The scientists working to develop a successful nuclear chain reaction in the top-secret Manhattan Project asked Lenox to provide a borescope for inspecting tubes near the radioactive pile at its guarded location beneath the stadium seats at the University of Chicago's Stagg Field. Crampton and Lang designed a 1.37 in. (35 mm) diameter, 33 ft. (10m) long aluminum borescope. It consisted of 6 ft. (2m) sections of dual tubing that were joined by bronze couplings and which also carried an 8 V lighting circuit. An operator standing directly in front of the bore, or the tube being inspected, would be subjected to radioactivity, the borescope was viewed from the other side of a heavy concrete barrier. The operator stood at a right angle to the borescope, looking through an eyepiece and revolving the instrument by means of a hand-operated wheel. The borescope had a prism-type viewing head and had to be rotated constantly. It was supported on a steel vee trough resting on supports whose height could be varied. A special camera was mounted on the eyepiece for photographing the images from the inspection location

Custom 10 power borescope for Columbia Univ., 1944. Univ. of Chicago Stagg Field. Manhattan Project borescope, Univ. of Chicago, 1943. Custom borescope for Detroit Edison, 1945.

Lenox later improved its original Manhattan Project borescope with radiation resistant optics and a swivel-joint eyepiece, which permitted the operator to work from any angle. This newer instrument did not require a vee trough, and was also capable of considerable bending to snake through the tubes in the reactor. Lenox supplied a total of three borescopes for this historic project; they were the first optical instruments to be used in a nuclear environment.

In the post war era, Lenox supplied a 55 ft (17m) long tubescope to the Bahrain Petroleum Co., Ltd., for inspecting the inside of heater tubes at a refinery on Bahrain Island near Saudi Arabia. The tubescope was so long that it stuck out of the window of the Chancellor Street shop during assembly and inspection. After it was delivered, the customer used a very simple support fixture, several individuals held the lengthy scope over their heads during inspection.

Lenox Extendible Scope, circa 1948. Prop scope, Ordered by Magnaflux Corp. used at Sikorsky Aircraft, 1946. Custom borescope for Bethlehem Steel, 1945.

Spinner scope manufactured for the American Viscose Co., 1947. Insulation scope, Western Rock Wool Co., 1947 55 foot Tube Scope for Bahrain Petroleum Co. Ltd., circa 1947.

Periscope, order by Foster Wheeler Co. for use in Rohm & Haas plant, Houston, 1947 Coca-Cola Drum scope, 1949. Cathode ray tube inspection scope for R.C.A., 1946.

Also in that same year of 1946, Lenox developed the first borescopes used for the inspection of piping at a Petroleum Refinery, and made an outstanding contribution to air safety by collaborating with the Magnaflux Corp. to develop an ultraviolet light borescope for fluorescent inspection of the interior of hollow Curtiss Wright propeller blades. The 100 watt viewing instrument, only about 1 inch (25 mm) long, revealed surface flaws in the steel as glowing greenish-white lines.

Diagram of the Oil scope in use inspecting electrical transformers, G.E., 1946. Oil scope, 1946. Sun Oil Co. tube scope, Houdry Unit, Toledo, Ohio, 1946.
(Click to Download PDF)

Ultraviolet prop scope, Ordered by Magnaflux Corp. used at Sikorsky Aircraft, 1946. Tube scope, Sun Oil Co., 1946. Sun Oil Co., Houdry Unit, Toledo, Ohio, 1946.

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