- Robert Page grew up near Dr. Rife's laboratory. He became
Rife's friend and confidant.
- From a letter to John Hubbard from Chris Bird written
prior to this interview:
- "This guy Robert Z. Page is a real find. He is a
long-time Navy expert on pest-control and knows his parasitology, microbiology
etc. Has lots of awards for his work on the wall of his den. He is also
a captain USNR. I hope to spend some more sessions on what he knows and
- Christopher Bird is visiting Page (age 57 at the time
if this interview) at his home in Springfield, Virginia. They are together
when John Hubbard telephones from Buffalo, New York. It is spring 1976.
- A ringing telephone is answered.
- Hubbard: May I speak with a Mr. Robert Z. Page, and is
there a Mr. Christopher Bird there please?
- Page: Mr. Bird is here and I'll put him on this phone
and I'll go upstairs and take another one.
- Hubbard: Oh, you're Mr. Page?
- Page: Yes.
- Bird: Hello John. Well I've learned a lot already. Well,
this guy really knows his onions, and he'll get on the phone here in a
few minutes and say a few words to you about what he has been telling me
- but one of the KEYS to the whole (Rife microscope) thing is the method
of illumination. And he (Page) has patented the same (as Rife's), or a
very analogous method, and for the last ten years he has had absolutely
no success in marketing it because of pressures all over the place.
- Hubbard: Well, that's strange. That's very odd.
- Page: Well anybody that wanted to could make that thing
and put it up for sale. If you were dependent on any of the existing companies
that produces for anything that you need: any of the companies like Bausch
and Lomb, or American Optical, or Zeiss, or any company that exists because
they make and sell microscopes - then you are out of luck. If you have
an optical company that can give you what you need without doing that,
then you are ok. If you have a company that makes lenses strictly for cameras
and not for microscopes then they would probably make it for you. One thing
this won't do is show you very much in a section of tissue, well, it does
to some extent.
- [Page is speaking of his own patented microscope color-illumination
- is based upon Rife's monochromatic approach to illumination).
- Note: The term "monochromatic," which will
be used throughout this interview,
- means: a singular color of light. White light is full-spectrum
light and contains all
- colors simultaneously. Monochromatic light is narrow-spectrum
light and contains
- any one color of light singled out - Ed]
- It works beautifully well with particulate matter. What
I have done with it is to add some features in addition to the monochromatic
oblique illumination that Roy Rife used, to make it a more useful thing.
You can widen out your band of light, take something beyond monochromatic,
and it looks green, or it looks red, or it looks violet, but it's a much
wider beam and it doesn't give you this resonant frequency which is akin
to spectroscopy on a microscopic scale
- (Summary of abridged passage): Page slips into a disjointed
bout of technical description concerning adaptations that can be made to
his patented system. Then a lengthy technical discussion concerning different
microscopes that have been patented, but that are not produced because
they threaten the market. Then
- Page: (continuing) Now I don't know whether you remember
the pictures in Life magazine back in '51, late '51. Roman Vishniac? He
had a color system for microscopy and he refused to tell anybody what it
was all about because he was a professional photographer and he was afraid
somebody would find out how he took these pictures. If they could take
pictures he wouldn't be able to sell his. But it was a several page color
spread. He used light from oblique angles to color his specimens with phase
- Bird: You made the point (in an earlier conversation)
that after Rife solved the illumination problem, he then solved the problems
of spherical and chromatic aberration, would you tell us a little more
- Page: Well yes, to get away from spherical aberration,
which is the worst offender there, ordinarily, you go to parabolics. Again,
no more circle of elimination.
- Hubbard: He built parabolic lenses?
- Page: Yes sir, he learned to grind them himself.
- Hubbard: Oh. Who did this?
- Page: Rife.
- Hubbard: (Emphatically) He built parabolic lenses?!!
- Page: Well, you know, an awful lot of astronomers grind
their own (lenses).
- Hubbard: Yes, I know, but, did Rife say that there were
parabolic lenses in his illuminator?
- Page: Well, he told me that he had learned how to grind
parabolic lenses and if that's the way he solved his no, not in his illuminator,
in his microscope.
- Hubbard: In his microscope.
- Page: Not in the illuminator, no. That's a fairly simple,
- Bird: (To Hubbard) And Mr. Page told me that Rife went
to Holland and he learned how to grind parabolic lenses in Holland.
- Page: It may have been Germany.
- Bird: Germany then. [It was Germany - Ed] OK, so he got
rid of that aberration that way, and the other aberration he got rid of
- Page: First he went to quartz like everybody does, and
he wasn't satisfied with he told me he wasn't satisfied with quartz. And
so he solved his problem. And I said, "You used mirrors, huh?"
And he gave me a funny look, and then he laughed
- Hubbard: (Interrupting) Well now, when did you first
- Page: Oh I don't remember. It was years ago in my childhood.
I don't even remember.
- Bird: Well now John, getting that part of the story,
I already have an hour of it on tape, so why don't we just stick to the
technology and ask him the questions while he is on the phone, and I'll
send you the other part of it with everything that Mr. Page can recollect.
- Hubbard: Well, I'm particularly interested in how Mr.
Page got introduced and what did he do?
- Page: My parents knew him (Rife) for a number of years.
For a while I lived across the street from his laboratory.
- Hubbard: Oh, I see.
- Page: This goes back years and years and years, and I
was a child.
- Hubbard: All right, now, did you personally look through
his number three
- his big universal microscope?
- Page: No, I never looked through it.
- [Rife produced a series of five different microscopes
- identified by numbers 1 through 5 in the order of their construction
- the Number 3 Rife Microscope is the Universal Microscope (the "big"
one) completed in 1933 - Ed.]
- Hubbard: Did you personally look through his number four
- Page: No.
- Hubbard: Did you yourself see any pictures, which Rife
had made with the big
- Page: Yes. A bacillus coli is a huge thing. It was "B.
coli" back then, and it was
- a huge sausage, and inside it were all kinds of structures,
and he was
- telling me what he thought they did. But they were not
in any books any
- place, they were never in anybody else's illustrations.
Nobody else had
- seen them.
- Hubbard: Now, did he tell you when he made these pictures
of the typhoid bacillus? What year did he make the picture in?
- Page: Well, the particular that I was talking about was
not a typhoid, it was a bacillus coli, most of us carry that around (in
our intestines). He had a number of pictures. I think he had one of the
typhoid bacillus, but it wasn't as interesting, and it was a little bit
smaller, as I remember. He had a bunch of these hung on the walls in the
hallways in his laboratory: pictures of a number of things.
- Hubbard: All right, now then, have you personally looked
at the report in the Smithsonian Institute where Seidel shows a picture
that was reported as a typhoid bacillus?
- Page: No.
- Hubbard: You haven't.
- Bird: I can make that picture available to him and I
shall do it before I leave for the mid-west.
- Hubbard: All right. I would like for you to tell me then
later, Mr. Page, if this is what you think is the same image of what you
thought was the bacillus coli?
- Page: Well, he probably had some, he had photographed
a great many things, and this particular one though he said this was the
B coli. He was telling me what the differences in some of these new structures
that he had seen were - based on their chemistry.
- Hubbard: Let me ask you this, had there been a fire?
Had there been a fire in his laboratory in the time that you were around?
- Page: Fire? Fire? It doesn't ring a bell.
- Bird: What the Professor is asking, Mr. Page, is that
there are no pictures left and he made movies as well - and all of the
pictures, and all of the movies have gone, and disappeared, or been stolen,
or been burned, or been something or other.
- Page: Well I don't think they were lost in a fire. Now
there may have been a fire because somebody wanted a Fire Sale - that sort
of a thing. This I don't know. Or possibly to destroy something. His laboratory
was not burned down. It was used after. In fact he sold it, and the person
that was using it was a chemist who worked for the outfit that makes Southern
Comfort whiskey. The guy was working on essences. And that's all he worked
on - the man that was in the laboratory that was bought for him from Roy
- Hubbard: Well now, let's go back a minute. You say you
were a child across the street from Rife's?
- Page: No, I wasn't a child living across the street from
him. I knew him when I was a child, but I lived across the street from
his laboratory, not across from his house. His house was on another street,
sort of diagonally through a couple of vacant lots. They are not vacant
lots now of course, but that was after World War Two. My parents bought
part of the Bridges estate when it was put on the market.
- [The "Bridges estate" was owned by the wealthy
Amelia Timken-Bridges, Rife's main benefactor. Rife's first laboratory
was located "above the garage on the Bridges estate." Rife's
second laboratory, built near the Bridges estate, is the one to which Page
is referring - Ed]
- I helped my folks build a home there after World War
Two. My wife and I helped them weekends and evenings while I was going
back to school and as soon as the second bedroom was finished we moved
into the house. That's when I was living across the street from him for
the second time.
- Hubbard: What I am trying to get at Mr. Page, is as much
as possible of the history of the photographs that were made with this
microscope. This is crucially important. So as far as you know then, there
was no fire destruction in Rife's laboratory up until the time you met
- Page: Well, I met him when I was a child, and he had
a lot of these pictures then.
- Hubbard: A lot of them. Do you mean ten? Or twenty?
- Page: Oh gee, I don't know. He had, well, just in his
hallway there was probably, oh, a dozen and a half, something like that.
- Bird: And these were blown up just to put on the walls
of the hallways.
- Page: Yeah. But there were other pictures too, in some
of the other rooms. I remember one room in which he had one pretty good-sized
area, but there was something in there: racks for storage batteries. But
that has nothing to do with the microscope.
- Hubbard: Let me ask, when did you leave the neighborhood
- laboratory and his home were?
- Page: Oh, let's see, '47. Then, I never really came back
to live there anymore - but I guess because my folks lived across the street
from him there, it was their home, where I lived for a short period of
time -I'd stop to see him every time I'd come into town.
- Hubbard: When is the last time you saw him then?
- Page: I guess the last time I saw him was when I was
back as a hospital patient. I'd come back from Korea and I was a hospital
patient in San Diego. That was pretty much '52.
- Hubbard: Had Mr. Crane joined Rife at that time?
- Page: I don't associate that name with anything specific.
But the last time I saw Roy Rife was at his home on Zola street. He opened
his garage and showed me some of his units - that had nothing to do with
microscopy - that he was selling for junk parts for radio hams to come
pick up the parts and use them. He had the ghosts of three of them left
at the time that I saw them. That's the last recollection I have of seeing
- Bird: Those were the ray devices.
- Page: Yeah. They looked like small diathermy cabinets
on wheels and
- Hubbard: He was taking them apart and selling them?
- Page: Well he preferred to sell whole units. If somebody
only wanted part of one, why then he would cannibalize one that had already
been cannibalized to some extent. He was just trying to get the money off
them. His eyes were shot - he couldn't see much of anything anymore. He
had already gotten rid of his microscope, and all the equipment and everything
else, and he sold his laboratory, and he was running out of money to live,
and he could hardly see what he was doing.
- Hubbard: He could hardly see. And this was in 1952?
- Bird: You remember Professor that he was going to (Dr.)
Heisner there to try to get his eyesight back.
- Hubbard: Yes. So, the time that you last saw him Mr.
Page he was really not alert and able to work was he?
- Page: He couldn't see. His eyes looked red and they were
a little runny. He told me how much trouble he was having with them. The
light outside bothered him. When we went out the door and down the steps
he had a little problem with the steps, and we got out to the garage and
he showed me the units and I said I wanted to buy one.
- Bird: Mr. Page told me, Professor Hubbard - and this
comes directly from Ben Cullen - that he would work for hours and hours
without moving, getting these things to illuminate.
- Page: He used the big microscope on a hydraulic device.
It was a barber chair without the chair on it.
- Hubbard: Oh! Which scope?
- Page: That was the big one. The eyepieces came straight
out from the top of the thing - and then he had one above that for photography.
The only way he could rest his back or his neck was to jack this thing
up or down a little bit. He would sit there for hours and hours at a time
taking one picture. That's why I was kidding him one time: I said, "Why
didn't you drive those things?" - you know. And he thought for a while
and he said, "I don't know, I never thought about it."
- Hubbard: Having a motor drive on his focussing unit?
- Page: Right. And that was right after he told me that
he was the brightest man in his whole generation and probably two or three
generations each side of it.
- Hubbard: He said what now?
- Page: It was just less than a minute after that, I think,
that he had told me that he was probably the brightest man the most brilliant
man, in his generation, and perhaps a generation or two each side of his.
(Laughs) I said, "So why didn't you ever think of driving those things
- Bird: It was not just driving the microscope but also
- Page: Yeah, that it was, the prisms to illuminate it
because he would spend hours he'd turn one prism just slightly, revolve
it just slightly, and then he would slowly go through 360 degrees with
the second one. Then, he'd move the first one again, very, very slowly.
Anytime he would come to anything that would light up suddenly under the
microscope he would stop.
- Bird: When he rotated the prisms, he'd get a certain
kind of monochromatic light, depending on where the prism was, and then
he could light up not only a specimen, but part of a specimen, to reveal
something in it that no one had ever seen.
- Hubbard: Well Chris, this is what is most important for
me to find out from Mr. Page. On the big universal microscope there are
two sets of facing prisms that were rotatable through an axial cable to
- Page: Well I thought each of those one set was immediately
- Hubbard: One set was immediately above another.
- Page: I didn't know he had sets of prisms, I thought
he only had two prisms.
- Bird: You may be talking about another microscope?
- Page: Well this cable device and all, that you are talking
about, yeah, he had the simple knobs out in front, that took him hours
and hours to rotate these things.
- Hubbard: This is the universal microscope that I am talking
about. Was this the one he was looking through?
- Page: A very large barrel? Stainless steel? A beautiful
- Bird: I think it's the number five (microscope).
- Hubbard: Well, number five was in England.
- Bird: No, it didn't go to England 'till 1940.
- Hubbard: What year are you talking about now Mr. Page?
- Page: Oh gee, um, well, I could have been looking at
the thing before the war and talking about it afterwards.
- Hubbard: Well if he was looking through the microscope
before the war, it could have been the Universal. If it was after the war
it could have been the number four, or number five before the number five
went to England. But I think that number five went to England in 1940 -
so that would mean that it would either be number three: the universal,
or number four.
- Page: Well the last one that he had, that I saw him with,
was a very large barreled, stainless-steel housing - and that's what made
me think of mirrors because it looked like a short section of a telescope
- Hubbard: Did he have numerous attachments on the side?
- Page: No this one was fairly simple.
- [At this time Hubbard had already been to Crane's house
and had examined the Universal (number three) and the number four Rife
microscopes - Ed]
- Hubbard: OK, now then, let's go back then. So now we
are dealing with number four then. Now the number four only has but one
set of prisms on it - between the illuminator and the sub-stage condenser
there is one set of prisms. The prisms rotate in opposite directions to
- Page: Yep.
- Hubbard: And that set of prisms is only about as thick
as your finger. Do you remember? There are some numbers on the sides.
- Page: A finger and a half.
- Hubbard: A finger and a half. OK. Now, there was some
numbers on the side of that prism. But you say he would rotate this prism
- Page: Yes, by turning the knobs out front. It was way
back in the back of this thing, he couldn't reach around to it.
- Bird: He rotated the prisms John, in order to get the
monochromatic illumination, to shift through the spectrum and select what
he wanted, to illuminate the specimen whatever it was.
- [This was the key to the unique illumination system in
Rife's microscopes. He used light to stain the sample (to illuminate structure)
instead of the dyes and stains of standard light microscopy. The result
was that instead of looking at dead microbes (normal microbiology), he
was able to image them (at much higher resolution) while they were still
alive and functioning - Ed]