Here at Glenair we have two bibles.
Two catalogs with a bit of extra weight, but also bit more close to our hearts then the rest of our library. It is our Mighty Mouse catalog on a steady 1,8 kilos and also our back shell catalog weighing in around 1,5 kilos.
Glenair’s entire success story actually started with a back shell, our G1. The very first item number released from Glenairs factory.
But let us look back all the way to 1955. Glenair finds its roots in the company Pacific Automation Products INC. During this time ‘PAPI’ built complex, multi-conductor cables for missile and space launch vehicle applications.
Located adjacent to a runway in Glendale’s Grand Central Air Terminal, “PAPI” developed innovative methods to build jacketed cable assemblies longer than the then existing maximum of 250 feet. PAPI workers would lay out the multi-conductor cables, sometimes up to 1,000 feet in length, on the airport landing strip and carefully blow on neoprene jacketing.
Interestingly, even though these connectorized cables were destined for use in extremely high-tech space systems, their design was relatively simple by today’s standards. At the time, electromagnetic interference (EMI) was still not much of a concern, due to the limited number of electronic devices used in aerospace applications. But the rapid expansion of radio and other wave spectrum devices in aircraft and space systems heightened the number and severity of EMI and RFI problems. Pacific Automation was an early leader in the design and development of metal-wire braid shielding innovations to prevent EMI from grounding to cable conductors.
But there was no connector rear-end standardization across the industry and every connector company basically followed their own design for the number and size of threads and interlocking teeth they would incorporate onto the back-end of the connector. The increased use of braided shielding added additional complexity, as the need for shield termination backshells was fast becoming a universal requirement.
So, the clever folks at Pacific Automation Products decided to help their cable customers by launching a line of connector adapters that could be used across the broad range of mil/aero connectors. And since PAPI wanted to sell the new backshell products to all the other cable shops producing military-grade cable assemblies, they set-up their new backshell enterprise as a separate entity to avoid potential conflicts with their erstwhile competitors.
And so Glenair was born.
Located directly across the street from PAPI, Glenair took its name from the city of Glendale and the company’s street address on Air Way.
The rapid growth of the aerospace industry in Southern California meant Glenair’s growing line of connector accessories was in high demand. And soon the success of the startup backshell business had far outstripped that of the original enterprise PAPI.
And so, following a series of organizational changes, the parent company PAPI reversed roles to become the cable division of the now prospering start-up. And still today Glenair is in peration at 1211 Air Way in Glendale, California and we are still making cables, backshells— and a whole lot more—adjacent to the former runways of Grand Central.
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