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Electron Microscopy

The commercialization of electron microscopy in the Americas began in 1941, at the RCA Labs and RCA Victor Division factory in Camden, New Jersey. Under the sponsorship of Dr. Vladimir Zworykin, James Hillier designed and oversaw the construction of the RCA EMB, a transmission electron microscope, which was sold to American Cyanamid Laboratories for $10,000 to pay for its development. For the next twelve years, Dr. Hillier worked with RCA Labs and RCA Victor staff to develop higher and clearer magnification, from 1,000X to 400,000X. He also promoted the technology, with his associates, through papers, articles, and presentations, and worked with users (or consumers) in industry, medicine, and biology, on ways to use the new scientific instrument and on means of preparing organic and inorganic specimens. Zworykin, Hillier and the team also invented a scanning electron microscope, whose technique of imaging is more frequently seen in the electronics industry, at the Princeton Labs during World War II. RCA manufactured and sold over 1,000 TEMs, establishing the basis for modern microbiology, before ending production in 1969.
These images represent some of the Library's collection documenting the technology, publicity, and use of RCA's electron microscopes. We are pleased to offer images from the collections of Dr. Hillier and John Vees, who built and serviced many of RCA's EMs during the 1950s and 1960s.









David Sarnoff Library Collection

James Hillier Collection

John Vees Collection


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