I made a post on the thread https://www.fencing.net/forums/threads/worth-the-upgrade-to-bayonet.143367/ and it was getting off-subject. sdubinsky asked a good question and it got me thinking about the evolution of the fencing test box. There are a number of U.S. Armorers who are making wonderful, useful and innovative test boxes and it all started with the experiences of the '84 games. One of my jobs was in charge of inventory and testing the equipment we got, so I have first hand knowledge of this. At that time Uhlmann was the standard, but those of us who worked the games were wondering why. There were the scoring boxes. For years before and after they were the go to when hosting a Worlds, but they didn't follow the rules. At the time, the rules stated the buttons were to be on the top or front of the box and the clock was required to be visible to the fencers. The problem the buttons were on one side and the clock was on the other and unless you were right in front of the box, you couldn't read it. From the on-guard line you could not read the clock. We had to fix almost half the gauges, either buying 0.5 shim stock and modifying it for thin gauges or filing down the 1.5 shim. The Uhlmann weights were considered the most accurate in the world and they were until 1984. The problem was they started their Blue phase. They added some beautiful blue plastic to their steel weights, but this added between 2 - 2.5 grams. We had to drill out a lot of weights to make them legal. Their lamé test weight were made out of steel and had a 4 mm diameter tip. We weren't too worry about the steel (the rules required brass at that time), but it should have been 4 mm radius. We used ones that Dan had made. But the real tragedy was the test boxes. They were built to work off of 220 volt/50 cycles. The 220 volts was not a problem as we had transformers, but the 50 cycles was. It had a single meter and was not designed to detect shorts in body cords, nor in Epees. But that wasn't the worse, switch between the inputs gave us different readings on the meter. We couldn't trust it, but we were lucky. Dan had built 50 test boxes. This wasn't the Dan boxes everyone is familiar with and bought by over 20 national teams. These had 5 lights, 3 green and 2 red. We proved these were more accurate and more usable then the ones built by Uhlmann. At 5 ohms, the green lights would dim and at 10 ohms the would drop out completely. Yes they wouldn't show the difference of 0,1, 2 or 3 ohms resistance in body cords or weapons, but so what. If the resistance was under 5 ohms in each line that is still well under 100 ohms for the entire circuit including reels, floor cords and we had tested the machines to handle at least 200 ohms. For lamé we had a number of Simpson 262 ohm meters with their 7" 4.5 ohm center scale to cover that. Because of that Dan designed 2 main test boxes. A 1-meter for an Armorer to carry to the piste and a 3-meter for control. Since he worked for General Dynamics he had access to military spec suppliers so what he built would be extremely accurate. Since his background was as a commercial artist an Armorer could be handed one and know instantly how to use it. Since he believed in planning for different needs, he made it versatile. Each box was unique to the Armorer who got it. When Dan, Joe and Ted designed the Armorer Certification, to achieve the highest rating, the Armorer had to design and build a test box. Mine was a machine test box. There are a number of better ones, but this was mine and I still have it and use it often. Since then many U.S. Armorers have come up with their own version of a test box, each with their own take. There are a number of European & Asian companies who are selling their own test box, but I have not seen any that can hold a candle to many of our home grown self-built test boxes. I have experienced why being called a U.S. Armorer is considered one of the highest honors in fencing. The SEMI report for the '84 games stated their were more International level Armorers in the U.S. then in the next 5 country combined.