Kodak News – April 2016

kodakThere was a settlement announced this week where some current and former Kodak employees will be getting some money. The settlement amount is $9.7 million minus lawyers fees. That could be divided by as many 21,000 people. Some local TV stations are reporting this case like each person would be getting equal amounts but that is not true.

The case was brought about by employees who felt that they were lied to by upper management about how bad the situation of the company had become for a few years their bankruptcy. Employees and retirees had through the years either purchased stock through an employee stock plan (ESOP) or put money in the company’s 401K Savings and Investment Plan (SIP). As the fate of the company declined, the suit says that management didn’t tell how bad remaining invested in Kodak stock was.

After Eastman Kodak went bankrupt, it was impossible to suit the company. Instead, the law suit names CEO Antonio Perez and other management. They won’t pay be paying the $9.7 million either. The company has insurance against lawsuits of their management so an insurance company will be paying the money.

The payout will depend on how much the current and former employees lost. So if a person didn’t have any investments in either ESOP or SIP, they wouldn’t be getting any money. The amount of money that anyone gets will probably be a very small percentage of what they lost through the Kodak bankruptcy.

Old News – Kate Gleason

kate-gleasonKate Gleason was an amazing lady. At an early age she began helping out in her father, William’s machine shop. First she was bookkeeper but she also was interested in machine production. That is why she went to Cornell University to learn mechanics. But she never finished there. Instead she went back to help with the financial part of the family business. She then became Secretary/Treasurer of the business. She also went to Europe to successfully sell the gear making machines of the company. During this time she also did take more mechanics courses at the Mechanics Institute (now Rochester Institute of Technology)

In 1913 she quit the family business because of arguments with her brother on how to run the business. The next year she was made receiver of a bankruptcy of Ingle Machine Company in East Rochester. Her running of that business put it back in good financial condition.

At the time of the following newspaper article, she was becoming a champion of the Village of East Rochester. The park land that she donated became Edmund Lyon Park near the center of the Village.

In 1917 Kate Gleason became the President of the First National Bank of East Rochester. About 1919 she designed poured concrete homes that are in a section of East Rochester called Concrest. These homes came complete with everything new home owners would need for the price of $4000. Her innovated home design was used in a couple other places in the US.

Kate never married so when she died in 1933 she left her fortune to Cornell and Rochester Institute of Technology and other organizations.


Thursday, April 27, 1916


Four Hundred Lots and Seven Acre Park Donated for Village Improvement by Miss Kate Gleason and Contractors.

East Rochester, April 25.—A gift of 400 lots and a seven-acre park to the village of East Rochester, was announced at a citizen’s meeting held at the High school, Monday night, under the auspices of the East Rochester Board of Trade. The donors are Miss Kate Gleason of Penfield, and Ransom & Smith, contractors of East Rochester. Miss Gleason’s share of the gift is 315 lots and the park.

The lots are to be sold and the proceeds used in promoting the industrial development of East Rochester. A campaign to bring about a large development is on foot, with parctically every business interest od East Rocheste co-operating..

Recently Miss Gleason invested about $150,000 in real estate in east Rochester. She became interested in village affairs through Harry C. Eyer, president of the First National Bank of East Rochester. Miss Gleason sees a bright future for the village and has enlisted the support of the financial interests here in carrying through a campaign for the bringing of factories to the village and the substantial enlargement of those now here.

The lots that were given to the village are valued at about $300 each. the villagers were asked to assist in their sale, so that an industrial fund of $120,000 may be created. No money is to be made with the industrial fund. It is to be used solely for the purpose of bringing industries to the village, furnishing them free sites, and in some instances buildings, and in other ways giving them financial encouragement.

Miss Gleason’s holding in the village include nearly a thousand vacant lots and a thrifty-acre factory site. She already has has interested two concerns in moving to east Rochester. Buildings are in the course of construction for these industries and will be occupied as soon as they are completed.

Industries of a diversified character are sought for the village. In announcing the gift of the lots. Mr. Eyer, through his representatives, W. D. Hawes, said that Miss Gleason and he would pay the taxes on the lots until they are sold. This amounts to a matter of $1,000 a year. No strings are attached to the lots given to the village, and it is specifically stated that the proceeds are to be used only for industrial development..

Obscure Genealogy TV Show

The TV show “Follow Your Past” follows average Americans on a journey to the places of their ancestors. Then they get to walk in their ancestors’ footsteps sometimes by doing jobs of their ancestors. This series hides on the Travel Channel. There were 10 half-hour episodes broadcast in the last week of March but they were on at 9:00 and 9:30 in the morning in just one week. I only can think that the Travel Channel wasn’t very impressed with the results. Tomorrow (Apr. 27th) the channel is broadcasting a repeat episode at 9:00 and then 3 new episodes after that. I have to think that this may be the end of the series. If you have a DVR, set it to record this series and see what you think of it.

Filed under TV

Kodak History Notes – Their Biggest WWII Secret

Y-12 plant in Oak Ridge in 1947

Y-12 plant in Oak Ridge in 1947

During the early days of World War II a chemist at Kodak noticed that a family in his neighborhood just disappeared suddenly. It was a time when there were many government secrets related to the War. A few weeks later he was asked he wanted to move his family to aid in the war effort. They didn’t know where they were headed until they got to Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Even once they got to their new home, security was so tight that a person was only allowed to know as little as possible to preform their function. It wasn’t until after the War that people found out they were helping to make the first atomic bomb.

On Christmas Eve 1942 James C. White from the Kodak subsidiary, Tennessee Eastman (TEC), received a phone call from a US Army General asking if they would take on a new defense project. TEC had already been making RDX, a high explosive, for the Army. This new project would involve building everything from scratch including the factory plant, housing, stores, and everything else you would need to create a town from farm land. TEC pulled employees from the Kingsport, TN plant and also from Kodak in Rochester to run a plant in Oak Ridge.

Prefab homes and trailers at Oak Ridge

Prefab homes and trailers at Oak Ridge

The function of the factory plant (code named Y-12) was to separate out uranium-235 out of raw uranium. Machines called calutrons used massive amounts of electricity to create strong magnets to separate out the U-235. At first it was thought that they would need engineers to run the calutrons but instead they ending up training local teachers, farmers, housewives, etc. into operators. Gladys Owens, the woman seated in the foreground of the picture at the bottom of this post didn’t know what the calutron she operated did until 50 years later.

The U-235 was used in “Little Boy” the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945. The other atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki used plutonium, not uranium. The factory that created the plutonium for that bomb was also at Oak Ridge but run by Dupont.

Some of the housing for employees was in trailers and some in prefab houses (see pictures). Oak Ridge ended up having over 22,000 residents by August 1945. That made it the fifth largest city in Tennessee.

After WWII was over there the number of people in Oak Ridge rapidly decreased.  The contract with Tennessee Eastman had only been for the duration of the War. On May 4, 1947 the operation of the Y-12 plant was transferred to Carbide and Carbon Chemical Corp. (later Union Carbide). They ran the plant until the 1970s.

Kodak employees employees went back to their homes from before the War but still weren’t allowed to tell their secrets until there was clearance from the Army. Employees found out about how the company helped build the first atomic bomb in the May 8 and 15, 1947 issues of Kodakery, the employee newspaper (see links in sources).


  1. Kodakery; Vol. 5, number 18; May 8, 1947
  2. Kodakery; Vol. 5, number 19; May 15, 1947
  3. Arsenal of Freedom, Part two; Rochester War Plant Workers During World War II” by Bob Marcotte in Rochestery History, Vol. LXVI, no. 2, Spring 2004
  4. Y-12 National Security Complex on Wikipedia.
Ladies operating calutrons

Ladies operating calutrons


WDYTYA – Molly Ringwald

Photo courtesy of TLC

Photo courtesy of TLC

The next episode of Who Do You Think You Are? features Molly Ringwald. Molly is known for being part of the “Brat Pack” in the 1980s. The popular movies Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink cemented her career. Even though she still looks almost the same as she did in the late 1980s, Molly is now 48. She has been working continuously in Hollywood since she was 5 years old.

Molly starts her research on her family by visiting her father in Brooklyn. She then goes to Nebraska and visits the Washington County Courthouse where in the photo she is looking at plat maps. Then she is able to visit a family homestead in Arlington, Nebraska. Going back further on her family tree, Molly visits Sweden and goes into a coal mine where one of her ancestors died.

This episode of WDYTYA is on TLC at 9 p.m. (eastern & western times). Then stay tuned for the last episode of the season of Lost Lost Family.

Old News – Tires

This newspaper had a full page every week about automobiles. According to a short article there were about 44,000 autos built in 1908 but in 1915 703,527 were built. Best of all the average price of an automobile decreased from $2,123 in 1908 to just $814 in 1915. The second automobile gadget tells that you need to have tires off the garage floor to save them. That is not true.


Thursday, April 20, 1916


With This Combined Crank and Tire Pump the Power of the Engine is Used for Inflating the Tires.

With This Combined Crank and Tire Pump the Power of the Engine is Used for Inflating the Tires.

By the use of a combined automobile crank and tire pump, which is easily substituted for the crank that comes with the car, the work of inflating the tires is done with power from the engine, says Popular Mechanics Magazine. The pump is inside the crank, and to connect it with the drive shaft of the engine requires only the turning of a milled nut mounted on the shaft of the crank, the hose for conveying the air to the tires being attached to a threaded connection at the handle end of the crank. After the tires have been inflated, the pump is released from the drive shaft simply by turning the nut back to its original position, when the crank is ready to be used as a starting crank.


1916-04-20-bAutomobile tires are wearing out even when the machine stands in the garage and they wear out rapidly if the floor is covered with oil or grease. The simple jack shown here lifts the wheel from the floor and, it is stated, serves as an efficient wheel pedestal and brace to prevent side motion. The bolts can be adjusted to fit wheels of different sizes.—Independent farmer.


Katey Sagal’s Mother

Sunday night on Who Do You Think You Are? Katey Sagal wanted to find out about her mother’s early career. Her mother was born Sara Zwilling but used the stage name of Sara Macon. The program mentioned that Sara had been on radio as a teenager and also that she joined USO shows during World War II. On the Fulton History newspaper website I found this long article on Sara getting a big break on Broadway. Internet Broadway Database says that the show that she was performing in closed three days after this article ran in the newspaper. Also, this was the only show she was in on Broadway. I would imagine that Sara joined the USO show tours soon after this show closed.


Saturday, Jan. 1, 1944

Understudy, 17, Makes Good

Broadway’s happiest understudy is Sara Macon, 17-year-old actress just out of Southern Seminary, Virginia, who saved “What’s Up”, the Mark Warnow musical at the National Theatre, three times in one week. If the cast jointly acted as Santa Claus and feted her during the Christmas holidays it was because they appreciated the service she had rendered the show.

Nobody, as a matter of fact, paid much attention to Sara Macon till a week or so ago. It’s her first Broadway show and her entire part consisted of a few lines. but from the wings every performance the young actress avidly followed the movement of all the principals she was understudying and there were seven of them.Gradually she learned every lyric, every bar of music, every dance step and even every line inflection so she’d be letter perfect if suddenly she were called upon to fill in.

Frankly, Sara never expected to go on. The cast is full of youngsters no older than she is. But a cold kept Mary Roche in bed and the unabashed girl, with the poise of a veteran, stepped into the spotlight and sang every one of the Roche songs with verve. No sooner had Miss Roche returned when Marjorie Beecher, ballerina, reported ill. Again tiara filled the breach, and for a few nights she pirouetted across the footlights with magic lightness of foot. Retained even was the moment of gay satire with Rodney McLennan in the dance interlude of “You Wash and I’ll Dry.”

Pat Marshall, comedienne, meanwhile, was fighting the grippe herself and kept going long enough to see Miss Beecher back in her role. The stage manager called Sara Macon on the telephone. “Be prepared to go on for Pat Marshall,” he ordered. And Sara did.

It was that night that Jimmy Savo and Johnny Morgan talked in high praise of the little girl who had suddenly become the focus of all attention.

“We ought to do something about her.” said Savo.

I was thinking of the same thing,” agreed Morgan. “Just thanking her for giving a good account of herself isn’t enough. How about a party?”

“Sure,: came from Savo, “a party—a Christmas party. We’ll be Santa Claus.”

The idea leaped from dressing room to dressing room. They’ll all be Kris Kringle and Sara Macon would be Cinderella. And she was for one night.

As for Miss Macon, she’s back on duty again as understudy watching the principals from the wings just as if nothing had happened.

“I didn’t dream it this way,” is all she would say. “But it was the happiest Christmas I ever had.”