Clyde Chivens

Clyde Cuthbertson Chivens

Born February 26, 1915 – Dallas, Texas?
Died: February 28, 2008
Married: Dorothy Hadsell June 30, 1936
Son: Donald Chivens  – Wife:- Martha
Grandson: Daniel Chivens – Wife – Krys
Great-grandson: Kurtis Chivens
Great-grandson: Tyler Chivens
Grandson: Thomas Chivens – Wife – Kate
Great-granddaughter: Kathryn Dickenson Rolin
Son: David Chivens – Wife – Lee
Grandson: Glen: Chivens
Granddaughter: Julie Chivens
Son: Allen Chivens

Clyde Chivens Graduated from California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech), with a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering, June 1935.

Clyde’s first job after graduation was working for a company developing centrifugal pumps.

In 1938, Clyde and his wife Dorothy moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. Clyde went to work for Cincinnati Milacron Co, running tests on centrifugal pumps.

In 1941, Clyde moved back to Southern California and started working for Fred C. Henson Company in Pasadena, who made scientific instruments.

Clyde consulted in the Office of Scientific Research and Development during World War II.

In 1946, Clyde partnered with Harry Boller starting a company naming it Boller and Chivens in South Pasadena, California for manufacturing scientific instruments.

Harry and Clyde were also associated in a firm called High Vacuum Electronics in 1964.

Boller and Chivens was purchased and became a division of Perkin Elmer Corp. in 1965.

Clyde retired from Perkin Elmer in 1983.

Clyde’s family residence was in Pasadena, California, and then later at Emerald Bay in Laguna Beach, California.

Later after his retirement he moved to San Luis Obispo, California to be near his sons Don and Dave.

Throughout his life, his wife, and his three boys were avid campers and active with Boy Scouts.

The family traveled in a 1959 Chevrolet convertible to Alaska on the new Al-Can highway when it first opened to the public in the 1960.

5 Responses to Clyde Chivens
  1. Gene Cross

    Love your site-!

    Had the pleasure of meeting both Clyde Chivens and his son (Don?).

    I was invited to the open house at L & F Machine Co. about 1995 (?) to see the Magellan Telescope (8+ meters in aperture) prior to shipment to South America (Las Companos Observatory). Beautiful-!

    Did you know Al Lilge (aka: Alfred Lilge)? When I first met him, was maybe 1980, during my years of residence in Escondido, Calif. Al had retired from B&C, where he had been a telescope drive engineer. He was living in an A-frame house he built at Palomar Mountain, on the edge of a cliff. Right at the edge of the cliff was his backyard observatory. He had a roll-off roof observatory with a 12-inch Ritchey-Chretien reflecting telescope and torque-tub equatorial mount. The mount was unusual in that the RA drive did not use the usual worm gear drive. I think he used a direct disk drive (or was it a chain drive?). He had a small overhead crane such that he could remove the 12-inch telescope and substitute a giant 36-inch FL f/4 wide angle Perkin-Elmer lens and camera. Though the PE lens and camera weighed more than the telescope, the mount had plenty of extra capacity and could carry the load with ease. Naturally, Al designed and built the telescope and the mount. Al Lilge was an excellent astrophotographer by anyone’s standard of measurement. I could tell you more about Al Lilge, including his adventures as a night assistant on the Hale 200-inch telescope.

  2. Don Winans

    As the author of the B & C website, it was interesting to see the comment on Al Lilge in the Archives section under Clyde Chivens in the Founders section.
    I knew Al well, working with him on many B & C projects.
    In the same Archives section, click the link “A Major Expansion”. In the second photo, Al is standing as the last person in the middle row of the group.
    I would love to make contact with Al. I need his e=mail address to do so.
    My e-mail address is
    I’m remaining in contact with many of fellow B & C employees and several I know would like to get in touch with him.
    I know Al would be very interested in the website. I hope someone will inform him of it..
    I also would encourage anyone that found interest in the website would pass its existence on to others.

  3. John Griese

    I love this site, too. Thanks for putting it together. My other comments are in the section about the Perkin/Wesleyan 24-inch. Needless, I love B & C telescopes. Besides the previous instrument, I have also worked with the 16-inch B & C telescope at Franklin & Marshall College and the 40-inch telescope at Siding Spring Observatory, near Coonabarabran, NSW, Australia. I had always wondered about the origin and history of Boller & Chivens and had looked for references on the Web. It was great to find out about this website. I remember looking at the B & C ads in Sky & Telescope. My fantasy has been to be able to acquire a used B & C 16 to 24 inch telescope.

  4. Eric Johnson

    Having been an employee at L&F Industries in the 90’s, I had the pleasure of working for Clydes son David Chivens. I was the shop foreman who oversaw the assembly of both Magellan 1 and 2 telescopes for the Cargegie Observatories.


    These were fabulous projects for me and the company to be a part of. I think I remember Dave saying, “the telescopes are the crown jewels of my career”. Well they were and still are for me.

    Dave, if you read this, have a look at my new blog in honor of someone im sure you as an aviator are aware of. Jack Frye, my cousins father. An aviation pioneer that brought the airline industry to Americas doorstep.


    It was a joy meeting and talking to your dad at the plant. I hope all is well with you and your family. And please drop me a line with hour email address on the blog. Would love to talk to you about Jack and the Constellation.

    Eric Johnson
    Jack Frye – Aviation Pioneer blog

  5. Larry Steimle

    Clyde was a friend of mine. That’s the way things were at B&C. I’ll never forget his words after we worked a couple of nights in a test tunnel in Costa Mesa trying to finish up the optical testing of a special camera. “There’s more to this than I realized.” When my father died, Clyde (and Chet Wheeler) loaned me a good chunk of money to deal with his estate. I appreciated his trust.

    By the way, Al Lilge, another friend, died 10 June 1988, cancer. There were a lot of good people at B&C, also very talented.