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Richard, George (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 56, Number 12 (April 15, 1955)

The man who invented "monopoly",   pp. 29-32


Page 30


   A crystal ball gazer might have seen
all this creative ability coming by closely
inspecting his childhood back in Indian-
apolis, where he was born August 26,
1909. Aside from a mechanical aptitude
unusual for his age, he spent a normal
boyhood   in  the  Hoosier capital and
seemed like any other kid on the block.
   In 1916, his maternal grandfather,
jewelry merchant Julius C. Walk, gave
him a present that changed his life. The
gift was a radio, believed to be Indian-
apolis' first.
   With a mechanical inclination inherited
from his paternal grandfather, a railroad
construction engineer, he took it apart.
But here's where the story digresses from
tradition: he promptly and correctly put
it back together again! So it is easy to
see why Bill left Butler on hearing that
the University of Wisconsin offered a
good course in radio.
   Only a few years earlier his brother,
 Reginald William Garstang, Butler and
 Wisconsin '22, had transferred to Madi-
 son. Favorable reports led Bill to follow
 suit. In between his studies and activi-
 ties in Sigma Chi fraternity, which he
 joined in 1927, he found time to squire
 about lovely Mary Fulton, who also
 hailed from Indianapolis.
   Within a week of his graduation from
Wisconsin, Garstang was snapped up by
the then-small P. R. Mallory Company,
Indianapolis manufacturer of radio parts.
Armed with the title of chief electrical
engineer and the incongruous salary of
$40 a week, he and Mary decided that
the time was ripe for matrimony.
   For two years the young engineer gave
 his all to the Mallory interests. Those
 two years made the firm. In that period,
 Bill invented the dry electrolytic con-
 denser-a device for storing energy-re-
 placed the bulky old wet capacitors of the
 day, making    possible  compact, light
 weight radios. His second development
 made use of the rare element selenium
 to change alternating to direct current.
   In 1932, Bill left Mallory to become
 an independent consultant in matters of
 electro-chemistry and vibrator power sup-
 plies. He operated out of a tiny office in
 the Century Building with his wife typing
 letters and answering the phone. Before
 long, the professional stock of Bill Gar-
 stang skyrocketed. A  few months later,
 he and a friend put up $500 apiece and
 established Electronic Laboratories, In-
 corporated. Within a dozen years or so,
 El had grown to five factories, two ware-
 houses, and 1,300 employees. The green
 and white El label became a familiaf
 sight in thousands of radio repair shop
 30
windows across the nation. Especially did
this hold true for the company's chief
product, the vibrator, which helped make
car radios possible.
   Electronic Laboratories didn't confine
itself to vibrators only. It made high-
intensity lighting equip.ment, power sup-
plies, converters, radios, phonographs,
inter-communication systems, military
identification lights, infra-red and ultra-
violet equipment, and . . . toys! Most of
the latter were electronic or semi-technical
playthings for children from seven to 70,
but toy manufacturer Garstang's best-
known patent came on a board game
originally called "Finance." After manu-
facturing and selling some 10,000 sets
of the game based on operating and
trading real estate and stocks, he sold
his rights for $7,500 to Parker Brothers,
biggest gamemaker in the country. The
Parkers renamed it, gave it a big pub-
licity push, and sold a couple million
sets as "Monopoly." They still rate it
their best-seller after two decades of
popularity.
   Most dramatic of all El products,
 though, was the super-secret electronic
 Sniper Scope of World War II. Familiar
 to most Marines and infantrymen in the
 Pacific fighting, the Sniper Scope and its
 cousin, the Snooper Scope, led to the
 sudden nighttime demise of thousands of
 Japanese soldiers, courtesy of the inven-
 tive Bill Garstang. Both     scopes are
 equipped with an infra-red "seeking"
 light which is invisible except through
 the electronic viewer attached to a rifle
 like a telescope sight.
   When the old Belmont Radio Corpo-
 ration in Chicago was reorganized fol-
 lowing the War, and its name changed
 to Raytheon Manufacturing Company,
 Garstang joined the firm as regional
 sales manager, then became assistant vice
 president and works manager of the big
 radio and television firm. He joined Allen
 Bradley in Milwaukee last fall as chief
 engineer in charge of the electronics
 division.
   Although his new position with the
company occupies the biggest part of his
waking hours, Bill still finds time to
putter in a small back yard greenhouse
with prize geraniums and begonias. Then,
too, he also has a daughter who is a
junior at Wisconsin and a well-equipped
northern Michigan and a well-equipped
basement workshop where he dreams up
new inventions to revolutionize an un-
suspecting world.
         Used with permission
         of Sigma Chi Magazine
  The 40th class reunion will be observed
in June by the class of 1915. Detailed plans
for the event will be mailed to all classmates
in April.
1916 .............           ...... W
  Election of Fergus MEAD, a Chicago ad-
vertising man, as a director of the American
Appraisal Co. was recently announced.
  One of 12 contributors to a new book
on fluoridation is Dr. M. Starr NICHOLS,
professor of sanitary chemistry and assistant
director of the State Laboratory of Hygiene
at the University.
1917.       ......... .                W
  Donald W. TYRRELL, president of the
Ray-O-Vac Co. of Madison, has been elected
a director of the National Association of
Manufacturers. He will be Southern Wiscon-
sin representative on the NAM board.
  The Engineers' Society of Milwaukee has
honored Robert C. JOHNSON, president of
the Siesel Construction Co. as "engineer of
the year." It was given for "outstanding con-
tributions to the engineering profession, his
public service and his military record.
  Word has been received that Herbert E
HODGSON is a Supervising Engineer for
the  Pacific Indemnity  Co. of Phoenix,
Arizona.
1918 ...............            ....  W
  Ovid B. BLIX has been appointed City
Personnel Director for Milwaukee according
to word received from the Milwaukee City
Service Commission.
1919 .............           ......   W
  For the fourth straight year William J.
GREDE, president of Grede Foundries, Inc.,
Milwaukee has been elected to a national
office of the National Association of Manu-
facturers. He was made chairman of the
association's finance committee. He has also
been named chairman of the 1955 special
gifts campaign of the National Conference
of Christians and Jews.
1920 ...............            .... W
  Frederic MARCH sent his regrets to his
Madison friend, Laurence HALL, saying that
it would be impossible for him to attend the
35th reunion of his class to be held here
in June. Movie commitments make it im-
possible but Freddie wrote, ". . . my love to
all and I do wish I might be there."
  Efforts on the part of Dr. Harold M.
COON, Superintendent of University     of
Wisconsin hospitals, to improve hospital
service in the national and local field were
recognized recently when the Wisconsin Hos-
pital Association gave him   their annual
award of merit.
1921 .........         ......... W
   Ludlow F. NORTH was installed a short
time ago as a member of the board of gov-
ernors of the Investment Bankers' Associa-
tion of America in convention in Florida.
   One of the purchasers of radio station
WRRR, Rockford, Ill., is William       E.
WALKER. Mr. Walker is president of many
radio  and  television stations throughout
Wisconsin.
   The Swedish Order of the North Polar
Star has been Conferred by King Gustav
Adolph VI on Thomas E. BRITTINGHAM,
Jr. in recognition of his program of bringing
Scandinavian students to the Badger campus
to study on Brittingham scholarships.
               WISCONSIN ALUMNUS


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