Farnsworth’s Pontiac St. Plant Slated for the Wrecking Ball?

Readers and Fusioneers familiar with the story of Philo Farnsworth's 1950s and 60s fusion research will recognize this as the address where that seminal research was conducted.  Apparently the building has served its purpose for its present owners: 

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Indiana's NewsCenter has learned a demolition permit has been issued for the so-called Farnsworth Factory on Pontiac Street. The building originally housed the Capehart Corporation, which built radios and record changers. It was later sold to Philo Farnsworth, the inventor of electronic television who built TV sets at the site. The building’s also where Philo Farnsworth performed his experiments with nuclear fusion. No word yet on when the structure will be demolished. There are groups in Fort Wayne working to save it.

via www.indianasnewscenter.com

  • Richard Hull

    Sorry to hear about this, but all things must pass.
    I have been in the building and in the very rooms where the Farnsworth work was done. From the very early basement hovel they were relegated to in 1959 to the upscale upstairs offices where they were moved in 1962 once ITT realized they might have a winner.
    Gene Meeks, Fred Haak and I toured the placed back in 1998. It was empty then. We cajoled a guard into let us in the place. It was up for sale then and still had full power applied so we toured all the old haunts they remembered from the large production floor that turned out Farnsworth TV’s and radios, to the offices of Phil and the research team. Even the large cave and MKII fusor “pit” room was still there. The pit had been filled in, but all the doors were as they were in 1968 when the fusor effort ended.
    I’ll have a number of memories and some images and video tape that will never be possible again, once that old plant is taken down.
    Richard Hull

  • http://tomligon.com Tom Ligon

    We had an old Capehart hi-fi console when I was a kid in Richmond. Richard, Jimmy DeArras got it running … it sounded pretty good. Finally a brother-in-law acquired it, gutted the electronics, and used it for a storage cabinet. Again, no respect for history.
    Yeah, physical things pass. The important thing is to keep the ideas alive.

  • steve turner

    I’m in the building now it’s just now coming down we are getting ready to level the place out and im trying to find as much info on it as possible i more am interested in the cave or pit.

  • Karla

    You want to save it? Buy it.

  • John McIntosh

    I had a friend that ran a printing shop out of the East side of the building back in 2003/2004. We spent many hours wondering around the halls and in the cave imagining the experiments that went on there. One of the days that we were there, a TV crew from the Discovery Channel came with permits from the buildings owner to cut a hole in the floor to get shots of the pit. You could still see the shielding that was left.
    I was very disheartened to hear the news that the building was scheduled for demolition. However, I just went by yesterday and noticed that the warehouse was demolished, but the main office section was still standing. Perhaps there is still hope for the building’s historical preservation.