Model 115 "Super Scintillator" (1953)

Manufactured by Precision Radiation Instruments of Los Angeles California, the “Super Scintillator” was one of the first survey instruments to employ a NaI scintillator.  The NaI crystal, small by today’s standards, was 1.5” x 1”. The electronics and probe were housed in a 5” x 11” x 14.5” case. Since the Super Scintillator was specifically designed for airborne and vehicle gamma surveys, it allowed the user to set a shorter time constant than was employed with typical hand-held systems – this facilitated operation at high speeds. For surveys from aircraft, the manufacturer recommended speeds under 100 mph and altitudes of 50 to 100 feet. A pilot light was employed to guard against leaving the unit turned on. Two jacks were provided so that it could be connected to a continuous strip recorder.  

This particular instrument is of very early construction: the scale on the meter was numbered by hand and the small meter found in later versions on the outside of the case is missing in this example. A stamp in the instruction manual that came with the meter states that it was received by Radiation Instruments Branch, August 12, 1953 .

Range:  0 – 0.025, 0 – 0.05, 0 – 0.25, 0 – 0.5, 0 – 2.5 and 0 – 5 mR/h.  

Batteries:  eight 1.5 volt, four 67.5 volt, and two 22.5 volt  

Dimensions:   3.5" x 12" x 15"

Weight: 16 pounds  

Price:  $595.00 in 1954.

For some reason, maybe it was just a part of being in LA, Precision Radiation Instruments was also in the music business. While none of the PRI-owned labels (Craftsman, Tops, etc) were household names, they did produce records for some reasonably well known entertainers such as Mel Torme and Lena Horne. One PRI 33 1/3 record worth mentioning: "If the Bomb Falls," a primer on surviving a nuclear attack.

Donated by the U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge Operations


AEC Radiation Measuring Instruments, RIB-8 (supplement 2) July 1, 1954 ;

Precision Instruments catalog, form 1001B, 1954 copyright;

Instruction Manual for Model 115 “Super Scintillator,” no date on manual but circuit diagram is dated November 18, 1952 and there is a stamp indicating that the manual was received August 12, 1953 .

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Last updated: 05/10/11
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