Rockwell Collins Museum


Rockwell Collins:
Early History
 by: Arlo Goodyear


Our Founder:

Rockwell Collins
Museum Club:

Other Sites:

The Rockwell Collins Museum and the Museum Club members have been chartered to preserve the history and legacy of the Collins Radio Company and Rockwell Collins, Inc.
Time to Renew your Membership for FY16
With the upcoming end of the fiscal year, it is now time to renew your Rockwell Collins Museum Club Membership Dues. We are passionate about preserving the legacy of Art Collins, maintaining the artifacts that already exist in our Museum and working to restore these important innovations for generations in the future (such as the teamís work on the 233D Transmitter Restoration). Our membership dues remain at $15 so please renew your membership by sending your check to Dick Siefers, Treasurer, Rockwell Collins, 400 Collins Road N.E., Mail-Stop 124-318 or plan to attend our next regular membership meeting.
Please watch for an invite and hope to see you there. Please help us grow our membership by bringing some friends that may be interested in joining in our journey!
Becky Woodward,
Rockwell Collins Museum Club Secretary
registration form here

Collecting Stories
Behind the Scene at Rockwell Collins
We have begun an effort to capture all of those interesting company-related stories that youíve been telling each other - but havenít written down yet.
Terry Lamb has stepped up and entered the first one. Thanks Terry!
Click the link at the bottom of this story to find the stories page. If you wish, you can get started on your story by selecting "0n-line" or "Down-load a Form".
If you choose on-line, you will be able to review and re-edit your input.
Remember, your story will be reviewed by our editor before it will appear in the collection.
Read Stories
Send mail-in contributions to:

Cheryl Tillman
Rockwell Collins, Inc.
MS 131-100
400 Collins Road NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52498

Museum Open to Public
In an experiment, the company is opening the museum to limited public tours.

The tours will be offered from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays, and will leave promptly from the south entrance of building 120. Arrangements can be made by calling Lawrence Robinson at 295-1698.

Because of security requirements a passport or driverís license is needed to provide identification.

Public Inquiry
The Rockwell Collins Museum is always looking for interesting artifacts to add to its collection.

Is your basement presently harboring a mysterious piece of electronics, perhaps an engineering model of an early product?
Did a family member ask you to store a black box saying, "Keep this - someday it may be of interest to a Museum?"
If so, contact our Museum Curator, Lawrence Robinson with a description of your treasure. Send an email here.

Collins Radio Company Records
Many of the early Collins Radio Company records are stored at the University of Iowa Special Collections & University Archives.
Visit the U of I Archives

This Month in History - December
December 1st, 1943
A celebration was held commemorating the 1,500th ART-13 radio manufactured for the war-time effort.
December 22nd, 1941
The production requirements forced the company to cancel all leaves of absence during the holiday season.

We have uploaded all of the Collins Column and Collins Signal Issues and now we are working on the next publication... Collins Pulse.
If our math is correct, there should be approximately 180 issues (1961-1975 @ 12 per year).
So far, we have found 39 in our Museum collection and have received an additional 44 issues from Robert Blin (thanks Bob) - all of which have been uploaded to the Museumís web site.
take a look
If any of you have a PULSE issue that is not on our current list (link below), drop us a line - we would be happy to scan and return it to you.
Send Email to
current pulse inventory

Bond Travels in Style
This image submitted by retiree, Gene Dooley - a frame captured from the United Artistsí movie Goldfinger.
Lawrence is thinking the VHF Comm antenna is a 37R-2.
The aircraft is a Lockheed JetStar L-329.
In the Fall 1959 issue of Collins Signal a $1 million contract was noted with Lockheed to outfit their new JetStar - the "first business jet aircraft".

Collins History
1971 Film, Narrated by Rod Sterling
Recently posted by the Texas Archive of the Moving Image (TAMI), this 20-minute film contributed by Don Stokes, is an interesting reminder of the breadth of diversification the Collins Radio Co. and Collins under Rockwell International had achieved by 1971.
Rockwell Collins employees of today will be interested in the number of products our fore-bearers built this company upon.

Don Stokes is a Dallas area film producer and member of the Dallas Film Society.
Watch the film...

Collins Column Issues
We have completed the upload of all 138 issues of Collins Column to our web site.
The Collins Column was first published in May 1943 primarily as a communications vehicle for employees serving in the armed forces. The magazine was published monthly through April 1947. It resumed publication again in August 1950 and continued through July 1957.
take a look Collins Column Magazines.

Collins Signal Issues
We have completed the upload of all seventy issues of Collins Signal to our web site.
These publications represent a wealth of information about the history of our companyís growth and the products we were producing - starting from the 1930ís.
take a look

Vintage Collins ART-13 on the B-29
FIFI gets Radios
Read all about the restored radio operatorís station on the only flying B-29 bomber. Museum Club members and Amateur Radio Club members, both in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Richardson, Texas, contributed their expertise and time towards a fully-operational, historically-accurate, war time communications station.

A Bit of Collins History in Amanosa
You might find this 1957 "Eurovision" film about "Small Town, U.S.A. - Anamosa, Iowa" interesting.
There is a short segment about the Collins facility in Anamosa - about ten minutes into the film. The film was produced by the United States Information Service.
watch the video...

History CoP Presentation for November
The Collins Years
Presented by Jim Shanklin who separated his presentation into three eras: Arthurís family and background, pre WWII Amateur Radio equipment and business development, and the post WWII products.
view the presentation

History CoP Presentation for February
Echo Hill and Feather Ridge, presented by: Dave Hodgin, Jim Shanklin, and Rod Blocksome.
view the presentation

History CoP Presentation for September
Collinsí Role in Space Communications
Presented by Jim Shanklin - who was there to witness the day-to-day management of this huge Collins Radio Co. project.
Jimís presentation is loaded with detail about almost every box, test rack, and antenna we produced for the programs.
Even today, we are proud to say, "Every voice from space was transmitted through a Collins Radio."
view the presentation

"FIFI" in Cedar Rapids
Enjoyed by all!
The last flying Boeing B-29 WWII bomber was welcomed back to Cedar Rapids for several days in July. Many tours were flown over the city - much to the enjoyment to those who heard and spotted this magnificent aircraft overhead.
This historic flight was in unison with the restoration of the entire operational ART-13 Collins vintage radio suite provided by Rockwell Collins Amateur Radio Clubs and other volunteers.
Many thanks to the Commemorative Air Force for bringing "FIFI" to Cedar Rapids.

The First Ten Years
A YouTube Video by: Gary Halverson
A 22-minute overview of the first ten years of Collins Radio. Introduces Art Collins, the radio landscape of the late 1920ís and early 1930ís, then reviews five pre-war Collins transmitters.
Produced by WA9MZU (now K6GLH) in 1998 for the Collins Collectors Association Convention in Dallas as part of J.B. Jenkinsí, W5EU, presentation on the early history of Collins Radio.
watch the video...

History CoP Presentation for March
The Fab 50s - Innovations Galore
Rockwell Collins Museum Curator, Lawrence Robinson presented part one of his slide show on the "Fabulous Fifties". In this installment, he introduced to the CoPís 135+ attendees, a dozen or so of the companyís most innovative employees and several of their ground-breaking creations. He brought with him a number of artifacts from the Museum.
view the presentation

History CoP Presentation for January
"Americaís Leading Antenna Engineer"
Retired employee, James Shanklin, made an excellent presentation on his fatherís carrier here at Rockwell Collins as the Lead Antenna Engineer. John Pack Shanklin joined the Collins Radio Co. in 1947 and worked here until his untimely death in 1956.
view the presentation

Young Arthurís Ham Shack
Ever wonder who Arthur was QSOing with back in 1925 as a young amateur radio operator?
How about them QSLs on his ham shack wall?
Take a look at this page where we make our best attempt to identify the owners of the Call Signs.

Collins Farms Company Bulletin
A Clue to Arthurís Success
We have just uploaded a copy of the 1930 Collins Farms Company Bulletin. Excerpts from this document have appeared in Ben Stearnsí book: Arthur Collins Radio Wizard and in our anniversary publication: The First 50 Years.
Here is your chance to read the entire document.

Merle Collins, and his farming company, were waaaay ahead of their time!

New Photo Albums
Lawrence and Rod have uncovered a couple of marketing photo collections used by Bill Barkley back in the 30ís. They were transferred from Ben Stearns before he passed away last August.
Included is an album by cartoonist Tom Mullin and a collection of "Persons of the Month" from the 40ís.

233D Transmitter Restoration
Jimís Crew at Work ...?
Follow our BLOG as we transcend from: íUnit-Receivedí to íTorn-Into-A-Million-Piecesí to íPut-All-Back-Together-Againí.
read the blog

Friends of the Beechcraft StarShip
One of our Museum Clubís artifact restoration projects is the Beechcraft StarShip Avionics Hot Mock-up.
We have recovered, and have in our back room, the original StarShip Avionics - Laboratory Hot Mock-up.
Anyone interested in helping get this worthy project rolling, please contact our Museum Curator, Lawrence Robinson.
Contact him by email.

ART-13 Autototuneģ Demo
Rockwell Collins Museum Club member, Julius Yoder, has recently donated an ART-13 Autotuneģ demonstration unit to the Museum. This unit is a fully operational lower section of the famous ART-13 transmitter. The WWII-era product, built by the Collins Radio Co., featured a state-of-the-art (at the time) 10-channel five-station automatic re-tuning system.
This wonderful addition to the Museum will make it very easy for us Tour Guides to describe the operation of the ART-13. Thanks Julius!
While serving in the Air Force, Julius performed maintenance on the ART-13, including the mechanisms in the demonstration unit. As an Amateur Radio Operator, he has been collecting ART-13 spare parts and notes that, "Someday he wishes to put one of these little babes back on the air."
Julius was also responsible for rebuilding, among other components, the fully functional radio operator?s station for "FIFI" - the last flying B-29 bomber.