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Employees

Listed here are the names of people that were associated with Optigan in some way or another. Some of these people I’ve talked to, some I haven’t, and some are dead or otherwise MIA. Note that not all of these folks were official employees of either Mattel/Optigan or Miner/Opsonar. Some were either contracted to work on a freelance basis or were employees of other companies which were contracted by Optigan. Also listed here are a few folks from the related companies of Chilton and Vako. This page will be under construction for a long time, I imagine, as more of these people surface and tell their stories!

Barczak Edward Barczak Designer Optigan
Chang Richard Chang Engineer Optigan
Chilton, F F. Roy Chilton President Optigan/Chilton Corp.
Chilton Ken Chilton   Optigan/Chilton Corp.
Cutler Stan Cutler Vice President of Engineering Optigan
Daniels Charles Daniels Engineer Optigan
Dion Steve Dion Administrative Optigan
Ellison Bruce Ellison Recording Engineer Optigan
Flynn Ted Flynn Vice President- Sales Optigan
Fromander Art Fromander Midwest Sales Manager Optigan
Garvin Mark Garvin Engineer Opsonar
Jacobson Rich Jacobson Head of Technical Services Optigan
Jones Eugene Jones Engineer Optigan
La Branche Harvey La Branche Engineer Optigan
Lambach Adolph Lambach Designer Optigan
Largo Johnny Largo Music Director Optigan
LeDoux Mike LeDoux Software Engineer/Music Director Optigan/Opsonar
Mellette Gary Mellette Engineer Optigan
Merendino Salvatore Merendino Designer Optigan
Nelson Carl Nelson Engineer Optigan
Northrop John Northrop Engineer Optigan
Parnell Chic Parnell Sheet Music Arranger Optigan/Opsonar
Perlmann Marshall Pearlmann   Optigan
Peterson Robert Peterson Engineer Optigan
Radin Bill Radin CEO Optigan
Reese Jodi Reese   Optigan/Opsonar
Ryan John “Jack” Ryan Engineer (“Inventor”) Mattel
Sioles George Sioles Engineer Optigan
Spaights Jim Spaights Engineer Opsonar
Swee Gene Swee President Miner Industries (Opsonar)
Toy Raymond Toy Engineer Optigan
VanKoevering Dave VanKoevering President Vako
Waltzer Bernie Waltzer Vice-President Miner Industries (Opsonar)
Wieman Paul Wieman Engineer Optigan
Woodraska Joann Woodraska Secretary to Mike LeDoux Opsonar
Wylde Gus Wylde Engineer Optigan

I actually don’t know anything about Ross Clark or what he did at Optigan, but one day while searching the net I came across this web page. You’ll notice that he lists Optigan as one of his former employers… unfortunately there’s no email link for him on that page so I was never able to ask him about it!!

11 Responses to “Employees”

  1. Tom Murtaugh Says:

    I was there too. I worked with george sioles and richard chang. Also there was ed landsinger, a protype machinist/modelmaker. I am an MIT engineer, using d’ Alembert approach to systems analysis.

  2. peahix Says:

    hi tom, thanks for getting in touch!! i definitely need to do more work on this section of the website. maybe you can write up a short account of your experience at optigan?

  3. jack dull Says:

    You miss many employees who worked at the new kensington plant, I worked in the service dept and were responsible for setting up and training many of the service centers througout the usa, I worked with Jim Rice and I replace Jack Smith who quit and returned to California. I know many other employees at the plant, Jack Oxman ran Miner industries. It seems most of your list are from the west. I believe Ross Clark replace me when I quit because the plant was planning to move to NY around 1975.

  4. Jeff Findeis Says:

    My Dad was an employee but, I don’t see him listed. His name was Joe Findeis, came from Mattel toys division, between the years 1971 to 1973-ish, and I think was a Chief Tool Engineer.

  5. Bob Klembus Says:

    I worked at Estey as a draftsman under Don Bergstrom in New Kensington until the move to New York. I continued to
    do drawings for them as a consultant for another year. I still have some documentation when I work on the designs
    of the vaco orchestron and improvements to the Optigan and Estey lines as well as manuals and sales brochures.

  6. Geoffrey Strehl Says:

    Hey Jack Dull and Bob Klembus… I have just aquired an Optigan… I actually live in New Kensington, Pa! I never knew the Optigan had any history here. Anyways, my optigan is in need of some TLC. If either of you email or anything, please drop me a line at geo.strehl@yahoo.com THANKS A MILLION!

  7. Doug Ahern Says:

    Anyone who worked for Chilton or at the Estey plant is invited to share at my Magnatone site. I have lots of history about both Chilton and Estey, but I know there is a lot more to the story. So please write!

  8. Joan Hertel (Yost) Says:

    I worked there, too. First as Roy Chilton’s secretary, then as Marketing Administrator.

  9. jerry price Says:

    In the pre Optigon days I was a patent attorney in the Mattel Patent Dept. Because I had a music background I was assigned to work exclusively on the Optigon development project.
    Our patent research came up with patent protection on a device which was known as a “sideman” in musical circles. A single piano player could be backed up with a drum, bass etc. A British rock group was using these devices called Chambelains in their performances. To avoid patent issues in the future, Mattel bought out Chamberlain.
    To market the Optigon, Mattel bought in a guy with organ background.
    In my opinion, the downfall of the Optigon was that it was a high end product and had to be sol demo style like they sold organs in those days. The Optigon was too far ahead of its time. Today it could be designed with cd type changer technology

    a

  10. Joan Hertel (Yost) Says:

    You can add me to the list of employees. I was Roy Chilton’s secretary before becoming the Marketing Administrator. Bob Costello was the Sales Manager.
    The trade shows were a lot of fun. I enjoyed transporting the units and “manning” the booths. I agree with you, the Optigan was too far ahead of its time.
    Len Mayem is another Mattel employee who worked with Optigan.

  11. Joan Hertel (Yost) Says:

    I enjoyed looking at the television commercial. Thank you for putting all this information together. I recall going to the television studio with Ted Flynn to watch it being produced. What a great memory!

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