Turns out, this is Major Tom. Never meet your heroes.

Man in a plaid suit modeling a space communication system prototype.

Turns out, this is Major Tom. Never meet your heroes. Nevertheless, I still love this 1969 photograph of a Radio Corporation of America customer gamely modeling one of the company's not quite space flight ready Extravehicular Communications System units. 

This item is part of Hagley Library's RCA Victor Camden/Frederick O. Barnum III collection (Accession 2069). For over fifty years the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) was one of the country's leading manufacturers and vendors of radios, phonographs, televisions, and a wide array of consumer and military electronics products.

This collection was largely salvaged by company historian Frederick O. Barnum III, who recovered most of the materials in the collection from the abandoned photo lab on the 4th floor of Building 10 of the RCA Camden Plant after the plant had been vacated and abandoned by successor company Martin Marietta Corporation in April 1993.

Barnum later donated two more groups of material to Hagley for the collection in 1993 and 1994. These additions were joined by the files of the previous company historian, B.L. Aldridge, and the Secretary's Contract Files, which were donated by an individual who salvaged them from the company's defunct "Hall of Progress" exhibit in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

To view more selections from this collection online now in our Digital Archive, just click here.