Articles from Our Historian


Y-12 Historian

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In “Y‑12: Local Treasure — National Resource,” a series of articles printed in the Oak Ridge Observer beginning in June 2007 and continuing into early March 2009, and more recently as part of the series “Oak Ridge Treasure, National Resource” published by The Oak Ridger, Y‑12 Historian D. Ray Smith provides richly detailed stories about Y‑12 evolving missions as Y‑12 approaches its 75th anniversary.

Read the Current Issue
One Team – A Historical Perspective

2015 Y‑12: Oak Ridge Treasure – National Resource
Series published in The Oak Ridger
2015-02-12 One Team – A Historical Perspective
2014 Y‑12: Oak Ridge Treasure – National Resource
Series published in The Oak Ridger
2014-10-22 A brief history of the Union at Y‑12
2014-09-19 Y‑12’s environment, safety and health history part 3
2014-08-28 Y‑12’s environment, safety and health history part 2
2014-08-07 Y‑12’s environment, safety and health history
2014-07-11 B&W Y‑12 and 14 Years in Oak Ridge, part 2
2014-07-02 B&W Y‑12 and 14 Years in Oak Ridge
2014-06-13 Y‑12’s favorite stories, part 4
2014-05-16 Y‑12’s favorite stories, part 3
2014-05-09 Y‑12’s favorite stories, part 2
2014-04-24 Some Y‑12 stories captured by Bill Wilcox
2014-03-28 Y‑12 and the history of clearance designators
2014-03-20 Y‑12 and the Jack Case Center
2014-03-13 Y‑12 and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park — a grand partnership, part 3
2014-02-21 Y‑12 and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park — a grand partnership, part 2
2014-02-14 John William (Bill) Ebert Jr. — Longtime Y‑12 Maintenance Manager
2014-02-07 Y‑12 and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park — a grand partnership
2014-01-24 Little known heroes of the nuclear age, part 4
2014-01-17 Little known heroes of the nuclear age, part 3
2014-01-03 Little known heroes of the nuclear age, part 2

2013 Y‑12: Oak Ridge Treasure – National Resource
Series published in The Oak Ridger
2013-12-27 Little known heroes of the nuclear age
2013-12-20 Y-12 – 70th Anniversary, part 2
2013-12-13 Y-12 – 70th Anniversary
2013-11-15 BIll Wilcox – The transformation and second birth of Oak Ridge, Part 4
2013-11-08 BIll Wilcox – The transformation and second birth of Oak Ridge, Part 3
2013-11-01 BIll Wilcox – The transformation and second birth of Oak Ridge, Part 2
2013-10-25 BIll Wilcox – The transformation and second birth of Oak Ridge, Part 1
2013-10-18 A brief overview of some historical details of the city of Oak Ridge, part 10
2013-10-04 A brief overview of some historical details of the city of Oak Ridge, part 9
2013-09-27 Steve Laggis’s Dad
2013-09-20 Bill Wilcox and Y-12
2013-09-13 A brief overview of some historical details of the city of Oak Ridge, part 8
2013-09-06 Ed Westcott at Y-12 and the Westcott Center in Oak Ridge
2013-08-30 A brief overview of some historical details of the city of Oak Ridge, part 7
2013-08-23 A brief overview of some historical details of the city of Oak Ridge, part 6
2013-08-16 A brief overview of some historical details of the city of Oak Ridge, part 5
2013-08-09 “Awesome Eyeballs”— an amazing group of students visit Y-12 and ORNL, part 2
2013-07-26 “Awesome Eyeballs”— an amazing group of students visit Y-12 and ORNL, part 1
2013-07-12 A brief overview of some historical details of the city of Oak Ridge, part 4
2013-07-05 A brief overview of some historical details of the city of Oak Ridge, part 3
2013-06-28 A brief overview of some historical details of the city of Oak Ridge, part 2
2013-06-21 A brief overview of some historical details of the city of Oak Ridge, part 1
2013-06-07 A brief overview of some historical details of Oak Ridge, part 4
2013-05-31 A brief overview of some historical details of Oak Ridge, part 3
2013-05-17 A brief overview of some historical details of Oak Ridge, part 2
2013-05-10 A brief overview of some historical details of Oak Ridge, part 1
2013-04-19 Janice’s start at Training & Technology
2013-04-12 Clifton Truman Daniel’s visit to Oak Ridge and Y‑12, part 2
2013-04-05 Clifton Truman Daniel’s visit to Oak Ridge and Y‑12, part 1
2013-03-22 Union Carbide’s Last 20 Years in Oak Ridge — part 4
2013-03-15 Union Carbide’s Last 20 Years in Oak Ridge — part 3
2013-03-08 Union Carbide’s Last 20 Years in Oak Ridge — part 2
2013-03-01 Union Carbide’s Last 20 Years in Oak Ridge
2013-02-15 A look back at Union Carbide’s first 20 Years in Nuclear Energy
2013-02-08 A look back at Union Carbide’s first 20 Years in Nuclear Energy
2013-01-25 A look back at Union Carbide’s first 20 Years in Nuclear Energy
2013-01-18 A look back at Union Carbide’s first 20 Years in Nuclear Energy
2013-01-11 A look back at Union Carbide’s first 20 Years in Nuclear Energy

2012 Y‑12: Oak Ridge Treasure – National Resource
Series published in The Oak Ridger
2012-12-28 A look back at Union Carbide’s 20 Years in Nuclear Energy
2012-12-21 Y-12 Apprentice Program
2012-12-14 A look back at Union Carbide’s 20 Years in Nuclear Energy
2012-11-23 Colonel Bruce P. Crandall, Medal of Honor recipient visits Oak Ridge
2012-11-02 A charm that has been in space
2012-10-26 More on the term “Fission” continued
2012-10-19 More on the term “Fission”
2012-10-12 Y‑12 and the Knitting Nook
2012-09-21 Y‑12 and Stone & Webster
2012-09-14 Y‑12 and uranium history
2012-08-31 Y‑12, early records from the National Archives at Atlanta
2012-08-24 Y‑12, submarines, work for others and AVLIS — Reader Response:
2012-08-17 Y‑12, submarines, work for others and AVLIS
2012-06-29 Y‑12 Work for Others — a historical perspective, part 3
2012-06-22 Y‑12 Work for Others — a historical perspective, part 2
2012-06-15 Y‑12 Work for Others — a historical perspective
2012-06-08 Y‑12 Shift Change, famous Ed Westcott image recreated
2012-06-01 Y‑12 and the "super enriched Uranium 235"
2012-05-11 Y‑12’s Building 9212 and the Uranium Processing Facility, part 2
2012-05-04 Y‑12’s Building 9212 and the Uranium Processing Facility, part 1
2012-04-27 Y‑12 and East TN Broadcasting System — A Nuclear Family Video Miniseries
2012-04-20 Y‑12 and the 2000 decade — Modernization to Transformation, part 2
2012-04-12 Y‑12 and the 2000 decade — Modernization to Transformation
2012-04-06 Y‑12’s moonbox — a big hit in Texas
2012-03-30 Y‑12 and the 2000 decade — Modernization
2012-03-23 Y‑12 and the 2000 decade — infrastructure reduction continued
2012-03-16 Y‑12 and the 2000 decade — infrastructure reduction
2012-03-12 Y‑12 and the 1990s
2012-03-02 Another key Y‑12 General Foreman remembered
2012-02-24 Y‑12 entered the 1990s and encountered major difficulties
2012-02-17 Some key Y‑12 General Foremen remembered
2012-02-10 Y‑12: Seawolf to National Prototype Center, part 2
2012-02-03 Y‑12: Seawolf to National Prototype Center
2012-01-27 Y‑12 and some leaders in 1980s, part 3
2012-01-20 Y‑12 and some leaders in 1980s, part 2
2012-01-06 Y‑12 and some leaders in 1980s, part 1

2011 Y‑12: Oak Ridge Treasure – National Resource
Series published in The Oak Ridger
2011-12-23 Y-12 and dramatic changes of early 1980s
2011-12-16 Poem gives glimpse into Christmas past for one Y-12 worker
2011-12-09 Y-12 finishes the 1980s in award winning fashion
2011-12-02 Y-12’s history in brief and the early 1980s
2011-11-25 Y-12 enters the 1980s
2011-11-18 Y-12 continues to make changes in the 1970s
2011-11-11 The Power of Choice — Cold War Patriots’ Day of Remembrance, part 2
2011-11-04 The Power of Choice — Cold War Patriots’ Day of Remembrance
2011-10-28 Y-12 History Center and some special artifacts
2011-10-21 Y-12’s and ongoing environmental biomonitoring
2011-10-14 Y-12’s Biomonitoring and Water Quality
2011-10-07 Y-12 continues missions while focusing on environment
2011-09-30 A Christmas letter from Leon Love
2011-09-23 Y-12 and environmental regulations — a way of life
2011-09-09 Y-12 and emerging environmental regulations in 1985
2011-09-02 Y-12 and the emerging environmental concerns
2011-08-19 Ernest O. Lawrence and Y-12 Calutrons
2011-08-12 Y-12 takes on the Cold War
2011-08-05 Manhattan Project National Historical Park
2011-07-29 Electromagnetic separation of isotopes at Oak Ridge — L.O. Love (part 2)
2011-07-22 Electromagnetic separation of isotopes at Oak Ridge — L.O. Love (part 1)
2011-07-15 Y-12’s reputation brings even more diverse missions
2011-06-03 Y-12 and the National Nuclear Security Administration make continuing progress
2011-05-27 The Future is bright for Y-12 — and diverse
2011-05-13 Lawrence Pack, train conductor, and Y-12’s uranium?
2011-04-22 Technologies Enabling Agile Manufacturing (TEAM) — An ORCMT success story
2011-04-15 The Oak Ridge Centers for Manufacturing Technologies — Skills Campus
2011-04-08 Manufacturing Means Jobs — Mike Arms
2011-04-01 Oak Ridge Centers for Manufacturing Technology — The Manufacturing Skills Campus
2011-03-25 Oak Ridge Centers for Manufacturing Technology — What if we got rid of the wires?
2011-03-21 Oak Ridge Centers for Manufacturing Technology — The Manufacturing Skills Campus
2011-03-18 Oak Ridge Centers for Manufacturing Technology — Partnership and Impact on the Semiconductor Industry, part 2
2011-03-11 Bill Sergeant — An icon of Oak Ridge Security
2011-02-18 Oak Ridge Centers for Manufacturing Technology — Partnership and Impact on the Semiconductor Industry
2011-02-11 Oak Ridge Centers for Manufacturing Technology — Insights from Jack Cook
2011-02-04 Oak Ridge Centers for Manufacturing Technology — Dave Beck tells how it all started
2011-01-28 Oak Ridge Centers for Manufacturing Technology — testimonials
2011-01-20 Oak Ridge Centers for Manufacturing Technology, part 2
2011-01-14 Oak Ridge Centers for Manufacturing Technology, part 1
2011-01-07 Ed Westcott’s photography goes on the road

2010 Y‑12: Oak Ridge Treasure – National Resource
Series published in The Oak Ridger
2010-12-24 Critical Experiments Facility and Harold Cofer’s perspective
2010-12-17 Building 9213’s earliest history — Bill Sergeant
2010-12-03 Oak Ridge Critical Experiment Facility (Building 9213)
2010-11-26 Building 9213 — A long and varied history
2010-11-19 Y‑12 apprentices and instructors speak up
2010-11-12 New Hope Center making history at Y-12
2010-11-11 48 Star American Flag from Y-12 Plant in 1943
2010-11-05 Y‑12 apprentice programs through the years
2010-10-29 Y‑12 apprentice programs are a lot like TAT
2010-10-22 Nautilus reunion visit to Y‑12 and ORNL
2010-10-15 Y‑12’s Training and Technology — How it ended
2010-10-08 Y‑12’s Training and Technology — Janice Smith's story
2010-09-10 Y‑12’s Training and Technology — TAT and Ricky Seals
2010-09-03 Y‑12’s Training and Technology — TAT and Don McMurray
2010-08-27 Y‑12’s Training and Technology — Richard Rookard — TAT instructor
2010-08-20 Y‑12’s Training and Technology — TAT and Dave Miller
2010-08-13 Y‑12’s Training and Technology — John Royster's TAT success story
2010-08-06 Y‑12’s Training and Technology — TAT and Tony O'Dell
2010-07-30 Y‑12’s Training and Technology — Case Histories
2010-07-23 Y‑12’s Training and Technology — TAT and John Ray
2010-07-16 Y‑12’s Training and Technology — Bob Gouldy's dad and TAT
2010-07-09 Y‑12’s Training and Technology — "A Design for Success"
2010-07-02 Y‑12’s Training and Technology — Mayme Crowell
2010-06-25 Building 9731 tour was a huge hit
2010-06-18 Special announcement: Building 9731 shines again
2010-06-11 Y‑12’s Training and Technology instructor's story — Evelyn Watson
2010-06-04 Building 9731—Secret City Festival’s Y‑12 public tour
2010-05-28 Y‑12’s Training and Technology instructor's story — Terry Barnes
2010-05-21 Y‑12’s Training and Technology — An exemplary success
2010-05-14 Y‑12 and the Nuclear Posture Review
2010-05-07 Y‑12 through the decades
2010-04-30 Y‑12 Moon Rocks and Jim Williams
2010-04-23 Y‑12’s first open hour—September 2–3, 1967, part 2
2010-04-16 Y‑12’s first open hour—September 2–3, 1967, part 1
2010-04-09 Union Carbide's 20 years in nuclear energy, part 2
2010-04-02 Union Carbide's 20 years in nuclear energy, part 1
2010-03-26 Secretary Chu, HEUMF and Dr. Chris Keim
2010-03-19 Quality at Y‑12, part 3
2010-03-12 Quality at Y‑12, part 2
2010-03-05 Quality at Y‑12, part 1
2010-02-19 Roy Williams as recalled by Margaret Morrow
2010-02-12 Y‑12 and the National Park Service study, part 2
2010-02-05 Y‑12 and the National Park Service study, part 1
2010-01-29 Roy Williams as recalled by his son and family
2010-01-22 Roy Williams as recalled by Bill Wilcox and others
2010-01-15 Roy Williams and others — Keys to Y‑12’s success
2010-01-08 A brief history of the Biology Complex, part 2
2010-01-02 A brief history of the Biology Complex, part 1

2009
(cont'd)
Y‑12: Oak Ridge Treasure – National Resource
Series published in The Oak Ridger
2009-12-25 Y‑12, ORNL and the origin of “work for others”
2009-12-18 Muddy Boots, Y‑12 and looking to the future
2009-12-11 Y‑12, the Cold War, and nuclear weapons dismantlement
2009-12-04 Y‑12 continues to push the state-of-the-art in machining
2009-11-27 Y‑12 leads the way in specialized machining
2009-11-20 Y‑12 builds capacity to meet nuclear testing schedule
2009-11-13 Y‑12 sets the pace in precision machining
2009-11-06 A brief history of the Y‑12 Development Division, part 2
2009-10-30 A brief history of the Y‑12 Development Division, part 1
2009-10-23 Y‑12’s 1958 nuclear criticality accident and increased safety
2009-10-16 America Recovery and Reinvestment Act at Y‑12
2009-10-09 Y‑12 grows and expands in the 1950’s
2009-10-02 Harold Cofer and the COLEX process, part 6
2009-09-25 Harold Cofer and the COLEX process, part 5
2009-09-18 Harold Cofer and the COLEX process, part 4
2009-09-14 Harold Cofer and the COLEX process, part 3
2009-09-04 Harold Cofer and the COLEX process, part 2
2009-08-28 Harold Cofer and the COLEX process, part 1
2009-08-21 Y‑12 weapons work expands in 1950s
2009-08-14 Dr. Googin and the Y‑12 COLEX Process
2009-08-10 Dr. Googin and his early days at Y‑12, conclusion and community involvement
2009-07-31 Dr. Googin and his early days at Y‑12, part 12
2009-07-24 Apollo “Moon Boxes” made at Y‑12, part 2
2009-07-17 Apollo “Moon Boxes” made at Y‑12
2009-07-10 Dr. Googin and his early days at Y‑12, part 11
2009-07-03 Dr. Googin and his early days at Y‑12, part 10
2009-06-26 Dr. Googin and his early days at Y‑12, part 9
2009-06-19 Dr. Googin and his early days at Y‑12, part 8
2009-06-12 Dr. Googin and his early days at Y‑12, part 7
2009-06-05 Dr. Googin and his early days at Y‑12, part 6
2009-06-01 Dr. Googin and his early days at Y‑12, part 5
2009-05-22 Dr. Googin and his early days at Y‑12, part 4
2009-05-15 Dr. Googin and his early days at Y‑12, part 3
2009-05-08 Dr. Googin and his early days at Y‑12, part 2
2009-05-01 Dr. Googin and his early days at Y‑12, part 1
2009-04-24 The Scientist of Y‑12 — Dr. Googin
2009-04-17 Y‑12 lithium-6 production
2009-04-10 Why “25”? and Y‑12 mercury losses
2009-04-03 Y‑12 reopens Buildings 9201-4 and 9201-5
2009-03-27 Just 'another day' at Y‑12 plant, the National Lab
2009-03-20 Beta calutrons and Y‑12 experiments
2009-03-13 Y‑12 Plant prepares to separate lithium isotopes

2009 Y‑12: Local Treasure – National Resource
Series published in the Oak Ridge Observer
2009-03-05 Y‑12 introduces the COLEX process
2009-02-26 Y‑12 begins to separate lithium isotopes
2009-02-19 Y‑12 and the Hydrogen Bomb
2009-02-12 Y‑12 again called on by the nation
2009-02-05 Early steps in the Cold War
2009-01-29 Oak Ridge and Y‑12 grow stronger in the 1950s
2009-01-22 Beta 3 at Y‑12
2009-01-15 The Cold War comes to Y‑12
2009-01-01 Lion Television films at Oak Ridge

2008 Y‑12: Local Treasure – National Resource
Series published in the Oak Ridge Observer
2008-12-25 The Cold War approaches and Y‑12’s workload grows
2008-12-18 NEPA — A grand new idea
2008-12-11 Lilienthal and Groves comments on CEW transfer to AEC
2008-12-04 Tennessee Eastman letter on Y‑12 reduction in force
2008-11-27 Y‑12 uranium storage facility — A dream come true — Part 2
2008-11-20 Y‑12 uranium storage facility — A dream come true — Part 1
2008-11-13 Zirconium-related accident at Y‑12
2008-11-06 Zirconium and hafnium separation at Y‑12
2008-10-30 Oak Ridge picking up momentum
2008-10-23 Even more Oak Ridge Transitions
2008-10-09 Y‑12 replaces “Fort Knox” as standard for security
2008-10-02 AEC and Oak Ridge Institute for Nuclear Studies
2008-09-25 UT gets involved at Oak Ridge
2008-09-18 AEC and Oak Ridge transitions
2008-09-11 Y‑12’s second era grows
2008-09-04 Y‑12’s second era begins
2008-08-28 DOE Oak Ridge Operations managers
2008-08-21 AEC and changes at Y‑12, K-25 and X-10
2008-08-14 AEC and Oak Ridge High School
2008-08-07 AEC and Oak Ridge Operations
2008-07-31 Major General Kenneth David Nichols
2008-07-24 AEC and Oppenheimer
2008-07-17 AEC and control of nuclear weapons
2008-07-10 USAEC, David Lilienthal and Oak Ridge — Part 2
2008-07-03 USAEC, David Lilienthal and Oak Ridge — Part 1
2008-06-26 United States Atomic Energy Commission formed — Part 2
2008-06-19 United States Atomic Energy Commission formed — Part 1
2008-06-12 United Nations Atomic Energy Commission stalls out
2008-06-05 Moving closer to the Atomic Energy Commission
2008-05-29 Preliminary steps to the Atomic energy Commission
2008-05-22 Clinton Lab occupies many Y‑12 buildings and becomes ORNL
2008-05-15 The Clinton Laboratory begins to expand to Y‑12 Buildings
2008-05-08 Y‑12 transition and birth of the national laboratories
2008-05-01 Production work up for grabs
2008-04-24 Nuclear testing continues
2008-04-17 Special Engineer Detachment
2008-04-10 Still more radical changes at Y‑12
2008-04-03 More radical changes at Y‑12
2008-03-27 Y‑12 makes first radical changes
2008-03-20 Post World War II missions emerge for Y‑12
2008-03-13 Bob Ellingson remembers — Part 2
2008-03-06 Bob Ellingson remembers — Part 1
2008-02-28 Ivory (soap) flakes and historic artifacts
2008-02-21 Jack Case — Tool and die make to plant manager
2008-02-14 Jack Case — The man who helped bring uranium machining to Y‑12
2008-02-07 Smithsonian video history interview — Part 2
2008-01-31 Smithsonian interview video history interview — Part 1
2008-01-24 More on buildings at Y‑12
2008-01-17 Heritage Tourism and Y‑12, K-25 and X-10 history
2008-01-10 Some of the buildings constructed at Y‑12
2008-01-03 Operating Oak Ridge’s “calutrons”

2007 Y‑12: Local Treasure – National Resource
Series published in the Oak Ridge Observer
2007-12-20 Both construction and operations continue to increase
2007-12-13 More production buildings and expanded operations
2007-12-06 Operations start and shipments begin
2007-11-29 Construction of Building 920101 — Part 2
2007-11-22 Construction of Building 920101 (Alpha 1) — Part 1
2007-11-15 A calutron stool appears and more
2007-11-08 9731: It all started here
2007-11-01 General Groves and Ernest O. Lawrence visit 9731
2007-10-25 9731: Chauncey Starr — First operations manager
2007-10-18 9731: First building completed at Y‑12
2007-10-11 14700 tons of silver at Y‑12
2007-10-04 Buildings go up at Y‑12
2007-09-27 Design of the Y‑12 calutrons
2007-09-20 OSTI and Science.gov — Not your ordinary website — Part 2
2007-09-13 OSTI and Science.gov — Not your ordinary website — Part 1
2007-09-06 Early planning for construction at Y‑12
2007-08-30 Y‑12 electromagnetic separation process wins approval
2007-08-23 Final decisions that led to Y‑12
2007-08-16 General Groves takes charge
2007-08-09 Colonel Nichols comes on board
2007-08-02 Decisions that led to Y‑12
2007-07-26 Vannevar Bush and Ernest Lawrence — Two key individuals
2007-07-19 Events leading to Manhattan Project
2007-07-12 Ribbon cutting at Y‑12
2007-07-05 Before Y‑12
2007-06-28 Introduction to Y‑12 history