California Institute of Technology


Wouk Exhibit
· Introduction
· Caltech Connections
· Charging Ahead
· Vic and Herm

The Victor Wouk Collection






Wouk Exhibit

Charging Ahead
(Click to view larger image)

image 30,000 Volts
Product data from Wouk's first company, Beta Electric Corp., founded in 1946. Wouk remained the chief engineer of the company after it was sold to Sorensen.

image Letters Patent for Wouk
Wouk's 1974 patent for a hybrid power train.

image Schematic diagram of hybrid circuitry
Wouk executed all the drawings, including this schematic diagram of hybrid vehicle circuitry, for Petro-Electric Motors, ca 1971.

image The press heralds Victor's ingenuity
Throughout his career, Victor's work in electronics and the automotive industry was featured in dozens of newspaper and magazine articles. This example from 1958 was written for the Sunday Herald.

image Dapper advocate of the EV
Victor alongside a GM electric vehicle at the Virginia Power Headquarters, Fairfax, Virginia, 1997.

image The Gulton Electric Vehicle
Wouk explains to New Jersey Congressman Edward Patten the function of the nickel-cadmium batteries in the power system of the Gulton-American Motors electric car in November 1969.

image Beta Electric Corporation testing equipment
Series 3000 Portable DC Overpotential Testers, high voltage equipment from Wouk's company, Beta Electric, ca 1955.

image Caltech News features Victor
In 1975 Caltech News brought to the campus Victor's gambit to develop and manufacture a hybrid car. While the article championed his cause, Victor was also quick to applaud Caltech for his achievements: "I feel that whatever success I've achieved in my life--by whatever criteria you care to measure success--I owe to Caltech."

image Petro-Electric Motors contract
Petro-Electric Motors, a Victor Wouk company, received its first EPA contract to build a hybrid vehicle in May 1971.

image Beta Electric nameplate
Wouk formed his first company, Beta Electric, in the early 1950s. It was soon doing $1 million in sales producing high powered test equipment. The tag was the general nameplate for all Beta products, ca 1949-50. "Jonny" refers to Victor's son, Jonathan.

image Herman invests in the hybrid
Victor's brother was an enthusiastic and financial supporter of the attempt to develop the first modern hybrid. He even coined the name Petro-Electric Motors.

image A smaller EV
Victor takes an interest in all kinds of alternative and low-emission vehicles. Here he rides in an unusual electric vehicle manufactured by Citicar (ca 1974), a company that folded quickly.

image Institute of Radio Engineers badge
Victor served on the executive committee of the Institute of Radio Engineers from 1956 to 1962.

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