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In the fall of 1925 my father entered the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA. He was on the baseball team and was required to take a “War Training” class. He was also on the football team for a period of time, but had to stop in order to earn some money by working as a laboratory employee. Football was very time consuming and there was little time for sports in spite of a lot of pressure from his fellow students and the coaches. As a result he received an F in football.
He did stay on the baseball team however and played the Saxophone in the ‘Cal Tech’ Band and marched in the Rose Bowl Parade on January 1, 1926. All in the band were required to wear white shoes. my father couldn’t afford a new pair of shoes so he wore the only white ones he owned, his tennis shoes. By the end of the five mile march they were almost worn out as well as his feet. He graduated in June of 1928 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering (BSME) and received Registered Professional Engineer License, State of California, No. 3NE5663.
After graduation he went to work at BOYLE MANUFACTURING COMPANY but after six weeks got fed up and quit. He didn’t like the management nor the type of work. His job was to weld barrels and oversee a group of Mexicans and Blacks unloading freight cars.
1928 1935 : KINNER AIRPLANE MOTOR CORPORATION LTD.
My father’s next job suited him much better at Burt Kinner’s company being Kinner’s first graduate engineer.
Kinner Aeroplane and Motor Corp
After working at KINNER one year, my father married Norma Lucile Forman in Santa Ana, CA. June 25, 1929. He took his bride to live in a rented two bedroom house at 2048 Watson Street, Glendale, CA. After a couple years renting the little house he bought it. 12, 1934.
In 1947 Walt had bought the house next door ( a matching twin to ours) and converted the two into one lovely four bedroom home where the family “stayed put” for the next thirteen years.
In 1960, after a total of forty one years living on Watson St. my father and mother moved to the Righter Ranch at 12751 South Tustin Ave. Orange, CA. (Tel: KEllog 8 1711) In September 1966 my father sold the ranch and moved a few blocks away to 12912 Malena Drive, Santa Ana, CA where he and Norma lived out their lives.
In May 1933 my father was laid off due to the Great Depression but never one to let his family down took on a number of ‘odd’ jobs ‘to keep bread on the table’.
The Helms Bakery had trucks (more like vans) filled with breads and pastries. They drove through neighborhoods street by street. Once a week they would be on Watson St. The driver tooted a little whistle all day long everyday gripped between his lips as he drove along in hopes the ladies of the house would hear him and come out with their pocketbooks in hand. My father invented a gadget using a tube connected to the motor’s manifold. He set it up so a hand valve could be opened and the vacuum would make sounds like the drivers made using their hand whistles. McNEIL Company Contractors, Inc. Established in 1886 were located at 5860 Avalon Blvd. Los angles, CA (Tel: AXridge 9035) My father worked on an engine design. When the project was finished they wrote a job recommendation for him.
“We take pleasure in recommending Mr. Walter H. Righter as a very competent and skillful engine designer. Mr. Righter has been employed by the undersigned for the past year, and during that time has turned out work that has been highly satisfactory. In addition to being trustworthy and honest, he is also very diligent and very much on the job, and I cannot recommend him too highly.”
6 1934 : AIRPLANE DEVELOPMENT COMPANY
My father designed a new under chord on a plane for American Airways. The company, located in Glendale CA. later became VULTEE AIRCRAFT COMPANY
8 1934 to 9 1935 : KINNER AIRPLANE MOTOR CORPORATION LTD.
My father returned to KINNER in 1934 and was responsible for the design of valve gear, cams, supercharger mechanisms and related components. The plant once again shut down in Sept. 1939
9 1935 to 2 1936 : HUGHES AIRCRAFT, INTERNATIONAL CINEMA INC. and LOCKHEED AIRCRAFT
Short term, contract engineering jobs
1936 : AIRPLANE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION/VULTEE
While working for Jerry Vultee, my father was the chief engineer on the V1 A “VULTEE “.
The V1 A Vultee
3 1936 > 5 1945 : RIGHTER MANUFACTURING COMPANY.
President and Chief Engineer, my father went into business for himself in 1936. First in his own back yard ‘shop’ which was attached to the garage at 2048 Watson St. Glendale, CA. (Tel: 1113 W). Here he produced the first “Dennymites” with me his daughter Frances as his first and most enthusiastic ‘assemblyman’ and at age 4, his youngest.