Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Secret Spy Satellites Designed by the Perkin-Elkin Corporation

On September 17, 2011 the United States unclassified documents associated with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). Included in the release were details naming the KH-9 HEXAGON, commonly known as Big Bird, which produced a series of photographic reconnaissance satellites launched by the United States between 1971 and 1986 and naming the Perkin-Elkin Corporation as one of the secret companies. The effort was a joint venture between the CIA and the Air Force. Operations provided agents with high definition photographs of Soviet Union, Chinese and Cuban military sites between 1972 - 1986.

Perkin-Elmer Corporation - 1980

Perkin-Elkin Corporation was rewarded their first top secret contract from the CIA in 1966 to build highly sensitive cameras and optics used on the KH-9. A nondescript building on the hill by the airport in Danbury Connecticut provided work space, without windows, for over 1,000 employees as well as areas to test the effects of rocket launches on the equipment and create environments of extreme temperatures to mimic the conditions of the cameras in outer space.

The Hexagon project was considered the most successful space spy satellite program of the cold war era. One of the declassified successes mentions "Hexagon providing crucial information for the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks between the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1970s."2

I went through my common certificates and found several for the Perkin-Elkin Corporation. A quick search of the Internet uncovers many samples at near giveaway prices. I am sure there are plenty of inventory in circulation for now. Looking ahead, every history teacher in the country will want one of these stock certificates hanging on their wall. The idea of finding a conspiracy coming to life right in our backyard is at least news worthy and most likely makes these certificates highly sought after for many years to come.

So if you are reading this blog entry, you may be one of the few collectors able to acquire a sample of the Perkin-Elkin Corporation for your collection at bargain prices. Good luck and happy hunting. As the year ends, I would like to wish everyone a safe, happy holiday season. I am really looking forward to 2012 and what it has to offer.

2 Helen O'Neill is a New York-based national writer for the Associated Press. She can be reached at feature(at)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Another great find... Pennsylvania Steel Company - 1882

My search for vintage Stocks and Bonds continues. I have been using several sources including the Sunday Driver maps,, local flea markets and of course, the Internet. As mentioned in my last entry, most of the major antique centers near my home have been searched multiple times. Unfortunately, the only changes I seem to notice is the updated materials from July 4th, to Halloween to Christmas. So I put on a smile and ask if there are any old business documents. Even when the proprietors say "no", I still search top to bottom moving everything on the tables, opening drawers, and looking behind counters.

Monday this week yielded an amazing find at Ziegler's In the Country , near Hearshy PA. I was on my way to another location and happened by the store swerving into the parking lot. The two ladies working the desk were so friendly and were not aware of the location of any stocks or bonds in the building. After combing through the first floor booths, saying goodbye to the ladies, I almost missed the set of stairs tucked away on the left. Sure enough, at the end of the first row of booths on the second floor I located an overcrowded nook with a secretary buried against the back wall. It was filled with very fragile glassware when I see it. Tucked behind all of the glassware is an old folded leather certificate frame with the tell-tale vignettes that I have become so attached. The lady at the store had to help me uncover and move all of the glassware to get it out of the cabinet.

Within the frame was a the Pennsylvania Steel Company certificate dated Valentine's day, 1882. The certificate has five vignettes and is signed  by Secretary, Eben F. Barker and by the President,Samuel M. Felton.  Felton also played a role in thwarting an assassination attempt on President Lincoln in February 1861. (Felton family papers (Collection 1151), The Historical Society of Pennsylvania).

Samuel M. Felton (1809-1889)

Pennsylvania Steel Company

The Pennsylvania Steel Company was organized in June 1865. The following year it purchased land for its main production facility in Steelton, near Harrisburg. Operations commenced at the plant in May 1867. Closely associated with the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Pennsylvania Steel Company's first contract was to roll steel rails for the railroad, utilizing the then-revolutionary Bessemer steel process.

Pennsylvania Steel Company - 1882

A corporation formed under the laws of Pennsylvania in 1895. The company was a reorganization of a corporation of the same name, Pennsylvania Steel Company, the property of which was acquired by the present organization in 1895 under foreclosure proceedings. The plant consists of large works at Steelton, Pa., for the manufacture of steel rails, railway material, structural work, railroad crossings and special work. The company has four blast furnaces, Bessemer steel works blooming-mill, open hearth steel plant, billet mill, a rail mill, as well as a bridge building plant and facilities for making structural works, frogs, switches and signals and other specialties. Its steel plant has an annual capacity of 400,000 tons. The company owns the entire stock ($1,000,000) of the Maryland Steel Co., which has a large steel plant at Sparrow's Point, Md., with a capacity of 300,000 tons of steel rails per year and a large ship-building plant. The company also owned a half interest in the Juragua Iron Co., which has iron ore mines in the province of Santiago, Cuba, and a plan for the acquisition of the Cuban Steel Ore Co. was proposed in 1900, this company having an option upon the latter company's stock until July 1, 1901.

In January, 1901, a plan of financial reorganization was adopted, involving a reincorporation of the company, with an authorized capital of $25,000,000 preferred and $25,000,000 common stock, of which $16,500,000 preferred and $10,750,000 common will be issued forthwith. As part of the plan a syndicate was to supply $9,000,000 cash, taking for same $10,000,000 of new preferred stock and a similar amount of common. In 1916, the Pennsylvania Steel Company was one of the operations merged to form Bethlehem Steel (Maley 2002).

My search continues, I will return to Hershey in the coming weeks to finish visiting the local antique centers.