Learn about the stories behind 10 extraordinary inventions. In this video, you'll learn about the proximity fuze.
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Male Speaker: A Proximity Fuze is a device used in missiles, which turns near misses into direct hits. As the explosives detonate within a predetermined distance of the target rather than upon contact. The Fuze contains tiny radio transmitter slash receiver that sends out signals to determine its distance to a target. In 1942, military scientists were unsuccessfully trying to develop a special electron tube that could perform the tasks needed for the Proximity Fuze. Percy Spencer unaware of the project had modified a hearing aid tube to be used with his son's model aeroplane. The tube filled with argon gas allowed the plane to perform flawlessly on signal. Words spread and soon Raytheon was being asked to design the special tube, which would run the top secret radio transmitter slash receiver. Specifications called for it to withstand spens of 15,000 Gs in the blast of being shot from a gun. Proximity Fuze's proved key to the army in the Battle of Bulge and are still being mass produced today.