E-meters, partial history

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E-meters, partial history
50s em dial.JPG
Author Antony Phillips, HPA
Type of Article Category:E-meter
Website http://antology.info
Email ant.phillips@post8.tele.dk

This is a partial history of the Scientology E-meter (Electropsychometer)

Note that I am slightly skeptical about e-meters, in that once Ron wrote that one should avoid the preclear developing a dependence on e-meters, and I think this is true and also applies to auditors. I do not use an emeter when auditing. However in view of the fact that I have this knowledge of the history, want "the true" Scientology to continue, and feel a knowledge of the history (descent, perhaps you could call it) of Scientology is important to understanding it, I feel honour bound to relay this to those who will read it.

For the matter of Matheson's part in the history of the e-meter (I believe he developed it for Ron) you need to look elsewhere, probably on the net, since I know nothing about it.

I would appreciate it if someone so inclined looked into the matter of early e-meters (especially the first) and added it here (in true Wiki spirit). Also it would be very nice if someone added the pictures referred to here (contact me for some) – I am not that hot with pictures. Do so and you will be contributing – In Hubbard's Havingness scale "contribute to" is high. In advance: Thank you if you do - polish your halo up! Ant

My first meeting with an E-meter occurred in Easter 1954 in London England. You can see pictures of it, and something of the story at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdgqweh-4WI 1.00 minutes for about 3 minutes. This emeter had small cans (3 cms. diameter), was powered by a 22½ volt battery and had no means of magnifying reads (transistors did not exist at that time, and it did not have valves - American: tubes). I understand that it was a simple Wheatstone bridge. When I went on the HPA (Hubbard Professional Auditor) course in 1955/6 e-meters were not used.

The book Dianetics '55 contained a reason why e-meters stopped being used. Later editions of the book contained footnotes to this explanation, explaining (to some degree) why the meter was now alright to use. These footnotes have varied a bit over the years. If you are fortunate enough to get your eyes on a pre Miscavige edition of the book, look at Chapter X "Communication Lag", end of first paragraph. As far as I can remember I have seen different footnotes in different printings, one extending to more than half a page small print.

In about 1958/9, when I worked in the London HGC as an auditor, we started to use the E-meter again. We were given (allowed to use) a new e-meter, made in England which we called the Green and Gold meter. Its layout was with a dial above two main knobs. The Americans had what was called (if I remember correctly) the Blue e-meter which had the dial to the right, and knobs to the left (right handed auditor would operate the meter Tone Arm with left hand and write with right hand).

Round about 1962 I lived in a flat in Swiss Cottage (North London) with Jim Pemberthy. In the period up to then it had became important to have an accurately reading Tone Arm (measured PCs body resistance between the two cans/electrodes). We were at the beginning of the use of transistors, and used germanium transistors, which were unstable. The Tone Arm reading varied with temperature, and therefore e-meters had a trim knob, which had to be adjusted so that Tone Arm 3.0 accurately measured the resistance it should. At that time (and earlier) it was possible for any one to make and sell e-meters without much opposition from "official Scientology". Jim did this, designed his own e-meters, and experimented with circuits, so that it was not unusual in the flat to find one of his meters (research model) in the the refrigerator or oven when you came in the kitchen. He was trying to see if his latest circuit improvement did not alter its Tone Arm readings due to temperature changes

Probably after Ron had bought and moved to Saint Hill Manor, in Sussex, England, a new meter was produced, which was in a wooden box, and worked with two (or perhaps four) AA batteries, which needed changing now and then. It was called the Mark IV meter.

About the time I started working at Saint Hill a Mark V meter was introduced. This had a rechargeable battery, which was charged with a lead from the mains directly into the circuitry, from the mains electricity, 110 volts in USA, 240 volts in England – in early models a fault in the circuitry could cause the preclear to get a shock from the mains, which was later rectified. It was therefore unwise to be charging the meter from the mains while auditing.

Pubs Org (Publications Organisation) was started on 1st. January 1968, I was moved into it, and a little later became Director of Production Manufacture, covering the manufacture of all Pubs Org products, amongst them emeters. The man responsible for E-meters (repairing them, and getting first one and then two outside firms to manufacture) was Barry Pemberthy. He had a problem, in that a Mark V meter had been examined by Ron and proclaimed standard, and that all meters later made should be like that one (it had to conform to certain tests, one of them being that when you set the needle, it should swing between 8 and 12 times before it came to rest). The meter Ron proclaimed standard contained Germanium transistors (I think the first transistors). These were phased out by manufactures as Science Advanced and more stable transistors were produced. Barry wrote a dispatch to Ron (more than once) asking for permission to use the newer transistors and explaining why (he could not get germanium transistors). However (bureaucracy!) dispatches to Ron went "up the lines", having to be read and approved by each terminal on the way up. More than once the request was returned to Barry before it got to Ron, by someone telling Barry not to waste Ron's valuable time because Ron had seen and approved the present Mark V already and that was enough.

This account ignores other "Church" e-meters, though I did own a Mark VI, in a plastic case, Produced in various colours, supposedly the same (or very) similar circuit to the Mark V. After I left Pubs Org ('73 about) I supervised some electronic engineers voluntarily repairing e-meters in Denmark and Germany, and my understanding from them was that the quality of church meters produced at that time varied, but the Mark VI was not much better, and sometimes inferior to the Mark V.

Free Scientology[edit | edit source]

Science advanced, in this case electronics, and Scientology "advanced", in this case people got thrown out or left the official network and formed independent Scientology. In my case I got thrown out in 1983, and rather quickly established a sort of network of contacts.

At this point in writing this article I went stale. It seemed to me that what I had written was important to understand something of the present position with e-meters in Scientology, but was a bit stuck in writing more. And I wondered why I had not written it down before. And then I wondered if I had. I got suspicious, had I? And when I looked I found I had. :-( (see http://www.antology.info/articledetails.php?id_art=13 ) (There are some pictures there.)

So now I can get round to what I originally had thought to say in this article.

Moan (or should the heading be Motivator?)[edit | edit source]

In most of my time in the "Church" I have believed what Ron said – indeed come to accept as stable data. Early on (God knows where, but it was in writing) he wrote that in the development of the e-meter he had found it was disastrous for people who did not understand auditing to come with suggestions to improve the e-meter. They just did not have a clue and led development up the garden path. I believed this while I was in the "Church" (and afterwards). Possibly due to this datum the development of the e-meter was slow in the "Church", and I do not think the more recent "Church" meters were much of an improvement.

Free Scientology E-meter Developments[edit | edit source]

When we came out of the Church development speeded up. I had a connection to Barry Pemberthy, who was now himself manufacturing e-meters and selling them. One thing that happened with his meters was that when you got a change in needle position (including when you turned it on) the needle went straight to the correct place – no 8 to 12 swings til it settled down. He also eliminated the trim knob for with modern, stable components it was not necessary. In his third e-meter, Ability Meter 3, the need to manually adjust the tone arm when it went off the dial was eliminated – it automatically came back when the needle came to the end of the dial, or you could press a button to get it to centre, useful if you were about to ask a question where you needed to see if the item read. These in themselves were great improvements. In the "Church" days, training included hours practicing getting the needle back on the dial. I found this particularly trying, and I found my confront of the preclear was much better when I did not have this problem, because of using Barry's meter.

In Barry's meter (and no doubt many more) the circuit was improved greatly, so that batteries did not need charging, and in fact charging was eliminated, replaced by four AA batteries which lasted many months (even years - it was claimed they lasted the shelf life of the battery).

In "Church" e-meters there was a clumsy (and rather ineffective) Tone Arm counter. Free Scientology meters contained a digital electronic read out of the Tone Arm for the session. Later meters also eliminated the Tone Arm – there was a digital reading of what the Tone Arm was.

I had confidence in Barry's meters, knowing his "Church" background and how meticulous he was, but there were many others, which I was skeptical about (the hidden stable data of Ron's that "others could not make good meters" still stuck in my mind!).

With "Church" e-meters the preclear could make movements with his/her hands which showed up on the dial, and some auditor training time was spent learning to recognise body movements (so they were not counted as a result of mental changes), which of course demanded a bit of attention - attention which would have better been used on the preclear. Circuits were made to eliminate body movements showing – and I remember once at a conference, going on a meter (I think made in Australia), and when I made the gross body movement of dropping the cans, the tone arm and needle stayed where they were.

Of course these first Free Scientology meters (middle 1980's) came at a time when Personal Computers (also referred to as PCs) were unknown. However when we got these "home computers" developers worked on those. You did not need to buy a whole meter. All you needed was a portable computer, cans and an electronic input (possible via wireless or Blue Tooth) to your personal computer. Circuits were developed where you could record the session (vocally and, synchronised, the reads and TA). It is also possible, using Internet and possibly Skype to audit a pc who holds the cans, while you see the result on your portable computer – though people also use telepathy for this which is not really a technical advancement, though it met as much opposition as "new fangled technology". At http://clearingtech.net/ you can see one of these computer e-meters.

Newer electronic technical advances include digitalising, and printed circuits, and these have been used. However, until less than five years ago, the readout used a needle (or picture of a needle on a computer screen). To me (not an electronics person) it (now, hindsight) seems a bit odd that no one thought of eliminating the needle (something which sort of mesmerized me, grabbing my attention as auditor). But the electronics behind the various important e-meter movements (examples: floating needle, fall, dirty needle) have been analysed and given another form of read out (not needle): coloured lights. This makes the data we have in Scientology about "measuring " the mind available for other fields working to help people, such as EFT, (Emotional Freedom Technique). You can see one of these instruments at: http://www.inner-trac.com/ .

What will come next?[edit | edit source]

I wonder what next modern scientific wonder will pop up to replace looking and listening directly to the preclear, observing phenomena with ordinary human eyes and ears, with a modicum of intuition?

Future is exciting :-)

Enjoy it (the future) - and my very best wishes if you involve yourself in helping fellow humans (and pets, etc. also, if you like).


Reference[edit | edit source]

There is another article on e-meters at [[1]]
There is also a note under discussion.