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The Fun Side of my Grandpa, Les Flory

Maybe you can tell by the smile on his face in the picture on the home page, that my Grandpa had a good sense of humor.  He was known to like practical jokes. 
 When he was a kid, he and some friends switched front and rear wagon wheels on some of the neighborhood wagons.  Since they were different sizes, the wagons would then teeter-totter on the larger wheels.
The guys in the lab were always trying to get George Morton to quit smoking his pipe there.  They tried adding various stuff like cut up rubber bands or bakelite filings to his tobacco, with the result that it "just made the pollution worse".
Grandma and Grandpa always kept a covered dish of candy in their living room.  My sister, my three cousins, and I were prone to sneaking candy without asking.  One day I opened the metal dish to sneak some candy, and created a godawful racket.  Grandpa had made a widget with a propeller and a rubber band and put it in there, so that if you opened the thing it rang the lid like a bell.  I didn't tell anyone else so I could watch them do it and crack up.



Grandpa's 1921 homebuilt radio.  When he was 14, Grandpa built his first radio.  He credited his high school physics teacher with getting him interested in radio.  Since Grandpa lived in central Kansas, far from any big-city radio stations, his teacher told him not to fool around with crystal sets, and to built a regenerative radio with a tube.  He built a set with a 201 tube at first, which sucked down the storage battery quickly with its 1A filament current.  He used to drive the family car up under his bedroom window so he could charge his battery with the car.  He later replaced the 201 with a 201A with a thoriated filament that drew much less current.
Another hobby of Grandpa's was photography, and in fact he took this picture of the radio. 
Grandpa continued to fool around with radio during college.  Here is a shot of his dorm room with homebrew radio gear.


"What I did on my summer vacation, by Les Flory....."
Grandpa wrote about, in Family Recollections, a few of his activities in the summer of 1927, while on break from college:
"I also wired the house for electricity and a friend and I ran a power line about a quarter of a mile from a transformer in town.  With this experience I wired several houses in town the next summer and even, with my friend's help, ran a 6600-volt line to house about a half mile from town and installed a transformer to connect to the house wiring.
Late that summer two friends (Loyce and George Miller) and I had been toying with an old motorcycle we had bought and decided to take a trip.  We found an old sidecar someplace and to everyone's horror, set out for Colorado, two of us on the motorcycle, and one in the sidecar.  After nursing the decrepit machine and its more decrepit tires for a couple of days we reached Colorado Springs.  We found that the machine would not make it up some of the passes with the sidecar and the three of us so we removed the sidecar and were reduced to travelling two at a time, although we took some short trips with one on the gas tank and one on the luggage rack at the rear.  A highlight of the trip was a walk up Pike's Peak.  We walked up the right of way of the cog railroad.   This provided a good pathway but the climb is still hard if you  are not used to the altitude since the average climb is about 1000 feet per mileand much steeper in some places. It took us nine hours going up and two coming down.  We eventually made it home in one piece with a motorcycle even more decrepit than when we started."

1944 Shot of Grandpa with his Pre-War Homebuilt TV

George Morton, John Ruedy, and Grandpa made home-built TVs in Grandpa's basement.  My dad remembers the big coils of wire for deflection coils.

Grandpa was a very resourceful guy.  One day, all the grandchildren were running around Grandpa and Grandma's newly-built house, up and down the stairs to the basement, and all around.  Grandpa stopped one of us, handed her a piece of sandpaper, and said, "When you run downstairs, slide this down the handrail and leave it at the bottom.  The next one should run it back up."  It wasn't long before his new handrail was sanded smooth as can be.
Grandpa and Grandma had a house full of clocks and music boxes.  They were great fun for them, and for all of us kids.  Grandpa liked 400-day Horolavar clocks.  When faced with the choice of buying an expensive tool needed to replace the main spring or sending the spring to the factory for installation, he chose neither and made his own tool.

Rob Flory