Friday, February 23rd, 2018

What’s a quintron?

8

Quintron buildingAs I was introducing myself to a couple of new young families in church, I mentioned that I was one of the founders of Quintron Corporation. They hadn’t heard of it. Of course not. Quintron ceased to exist when they were still in grade school.

When I got home from church, I was hit with a wave of nostalgia and started collecting material for a post on the Quintron story. Thanks to one Jim Mentesti, I have several Quintron binders chock full of old-timey photos and letters that Al and I received on the occasion of our “retirement” in 1988. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start in the beginning.

Ray, Dave, and Al headshots

From a Quintron Comment article in 1985 by Al Goossens,

Back in early 1970 [1969, actually], Dave Ayers decided that he was going to leave Gates Radio (now Harris Broadcast). Unknown to Dave, I had also decided to make a change and was actively looking for another job. I did not have the guts to quit first and then look for a job afterwards like Dave did.

Al then describes how Gates Radio declined an order from a company called Airsignal International (later MCI Airsignal) to build some paging transmitters for them. He and I kicked it around and decided that this might be an opportunity to go into business for ourselves.

“A short time later, we concluded and agreed that if we could find a third person, one with mechanical engineering and manufacturing experience, we would make a stab at forming a company.”

And so one Ray Swanson (another Gates Radio employee)was approached. I knew Ray from my Collins Radio days, and he surprised Al and me by saying, “Why not?”.

Gulp!

First Quintron adThe exact chronology escapes me, but the three of us spent the last months of 1969 setting up shop in a storefront at 112 N. 7th Street in downtown Quincy, building our desks from door panels and trying to kill termites. And preparing a proposal to design and deliver ten 350 Watt paging transmitters to Airsignal for $65,000. We struggled to raise capital from family and friends. We persevered, and Airsignal accepted our proposal in September, 1970. In December we incorporated as Quintron Corporation. When we weren’t designing and testing a prototype transmitter, we tried to calm three wives who I think were seriously considering getting us committed, especially when we asked them to sign our application for a Small Business Administration loan with our homes as collateral.

That’s basically it. We had no idea where this rash move would lead, but fortunately our story ended fairly well and better than we deserved. I think our guardian angels were working overtime most of those years.

Comments

8 Responses to “What’s a quintron?”
  1. Linda says:

    Okay dad, we want more! Let’s see, I was 12 and just noticed that we were down to one car and were having chipped beef on toast a lot. Great opportunity for me 4 years later as I was hired to open packages and count wire transistors and other funny little wiry things. Christmas everyday! More history please my beloved Orlop!

  2. Larry Ayers says:

    I was 15 when you and your friends started Quintron. I remember visiting the downtown storefront with Betsy a few years later. I’ll second Linda’s request — more early Quintron stories!

  3. Harrison Hine says:

    Hi: I’m looking for David Ayers.
    He was a classmate at the OPM (formerly SCMP) program at the Harvard Business School and we finished our three year course in May 1980.
    Thanks,

  4. I remember buying transmitters from Quintron Corporation in 1979-1984. Great transmitters. Great technical support. And, better than the stuff one could get from the “M” word. Those were the years when Radio Common Carriers (paging) was on the growth spurt. Then, POW, came 2000, and it was if pagers all but disappeared. i now have a warehouse full of the Quintron transmitters (mainly 900 MHz versions) that are no longer being used. They still have a long life left in them if they could ever be put back to work.

  5. Dave says:

    Good to hear from you again, Mark. Those were good years. Thanks for your kind comments.

  6. Steve Akinsola says:

    Ok long time.
    I was this stranger that wondered into Quincy, Illinois, got hired and started working with the brightest minds on the first Cellular Phone generation. It was quite a lab of Radio Frequency (RF) Design and digital coding and Systems testing. Learned a lot and got my first practical Engineering Education from Quintron.

    Raised 2 boys (now Doctors with their own family), even picked up a little theater experience from Quincy Little Theater. It was a time I needed immigration help and Dave Ayers and Jim Metesti came to my rescue. Have been a proud U.S. citizen since and a proud Engineering phenom. All due to the generosity of Dave Ayers and the team out there. Many thanks folks.

    Can never retire, opting to teach or continue with RF compliance monitoring by the New Kids in the business: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. Quinton was there first and very proud to have been part of the experience.

    Thank you Dave, Jim, Clark Emrick and the team.

    Steve Akinsola

  7. Dave Ayers says:

    It’s great to hear from you, Steve. Thank you very much for the kind words. Those were the days, eh?

  8. Mark Dobronski says:

    Hey Dave, last month I just dusted off a 40-year old old QT-150 in my warehouse (last used around 1997) and put it back into paging service. She purrs like a kitten. Brought happy memory tears to my eyes. I’ll bet she outlives me! Quintron… the legacy lives on! Nobody built great,, reliable transmitters like Quintron.

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