Geological Scintillator from “The Cage”

For the most part, I spend my time worrying about props that we are likely to use in one of our productions.  So this means trying to find things we’d likely see around the Enterprise.  I try not to be too interested in props that would see little use; these things can get expensive and we have a limited budget.  But once in a while, something nice comes along that’s just too good to pass up–even if it’s not likely to be used. 

With that as a set-up, there was a prop that we saw just once–‘way back in the first pilot episode “The Cage.”  We see that the  Geologist (that’s what this guy is called in the script: “Geologist”–played by Ed Madden) has some kind of device slung over his shoulder.  Some Old Timers might recognize the device as a 1950’s-era “scintillator” (Geiger counter/radiation detector).

We never get a really good look at it.  But here’s a shot from the transporter room before the landing party beams down:

 Geology Scintillator

Once they get down to the surface, you get a few more angles of this thing:

Geology ScintillatorGeology ScintillatorGeology Scintillator

It turns out that, specifically, this devices is a “Scintillator Model 111 Portable Scintillation Counter.”  It was produced by Precision Radiation Instruments, Inc. of Los Angeles, California in 1954.  Once in a blue moon, these things come up for auction on ebay.  (In fact, some folks might remember when one of these showed up on the reality T.V. show Pawn Stars not long ago.)
So here are some shots of my recently-acquired “Scintillator Model 111 Portable Scintillation Counter:”
Star Trek Phase II Vintage Scintillator Model 111Geology ScinitillatorGeology ScintillatorGeology ScintillatorGeology Scintillator

The scanner itself snaps onto the battery case.  It, of course, unsnaps, too:

Geology ScintillatorGeology ScintillatorGeology Scintillator


I don’t know if this old “Cage”-era device is still in use on board the Kirk-era Enterprise.  Similarly, I don’t know when or if we might see this thing in one of our productions.


As always, questions, comments, feedback, and, of course, “shares,” “likes,” or “+1s” are always appreciated.

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Author Greg Schnitzer

Gregory L. Schnitzer is Co-Executive Producer on the fan-based Internet series Star Trek New Voyages/Phase II (formerly known as Star Trek New Voyages). Greg is a Registered Nurse and is often in charge of Emergency Medical Services at the Star Trek New Voyages/Phase II shoots. He is also the production's Property Master and on-again, off-again Set Decorator. Born and raised in Los Angeles (which he still calls "home"), in real life, Greg is a Registered Nurse, currently working in Health Information Management at a variety of medical facilities in the greater metropolitan Washington, D.C., area. Find Greg's page on the IMDB at:

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Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Chris Russo says:

    Great to see the prop genuis back!
    Keep em comin!

  • Chris Russo says:

    And this interesting tidbit:

    “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.


  • Leonardo Pinhel says:

    It seems to me that on “the cage” they removed the hand grip, givin a more star trek look to it… What I would do in carefully remove the pointer gage and insert a round display with those circular mosaics that we can see on the bridge, overhead close to the science station, would be a perfect fit! Of course, I would do that with care to not destroy any parts and to allow the reassembly of this historical instrument (I like such things…).
    It can be used as an “extender radiocorder” used both in engineer, to detect foreing particles and radiations in a better way than a tricorder, and on its original setup in geophysics, as it can, by this active detection (there is why is so big) to scan deeper and more precisely for geoformations, vulcanic activity, gravimetrics… etc
    Hope you like my idea :)

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