I dunno about these historical accounts.
I was watching a PBS program about RADAR and the magnetron was made out
to be a super-secret device, yet there's a clear explanation of it in my
1942 "Radio Handbook".
Yeah I know this off-topic, but what the heck.
The Buderi book mentioned is a great account of the MIT Rad Lab story, ie radar from an
perspective. I have it on my bookshelf and I'd recommend it to anyone.
I also have a book 'RADAR How it all began' by Jim Brown, one of the designers of
the Chain Home
system working for the Valve Lab of Metropolitan Vickers, who built and ran the CH
hardware from 1937.
Apart from being a incredibly precise recollection of the engineering ("The valve
of a solid copper block about 6 in x 6 in x 4in. ... The 6 in x 6 in faces were machined
about 4 1/2 in diameteer and grooved to take two ceramic tubular insulators which were
4 in outside diameter and 4 in long and 3/4 in thick. On the end of each insulator was
anode which was a copper plate 1/2 in thick ...." etc etc etc and the whole book is
level of detail) it has an interesting and ironic factoid.
The Chain Home 60kW tetrode transmitter tubes were enclosed in boxes about 8 feet high, 8
wide and 8 feet long made from brass sheet and brass angle. To adjust the tubes externally
an insulator chosen from the allowed group of materials of pure mica, ceramics, steatite
Pyrex glass and a substance called Calit.
Calit was a white marble-like material that could be ground to shape and drilled, and so
It was also imported from Germany :)