Have You Thanked George Payne Today?

What more could you ask for? A little vino and the latest TH’er’s Express!

Got the fall issue of the Paul Tainter’s very informative newsletter today and one article that really caught my eye concerned George Payne, a gentleman I met back in the mid 80’s. I lost track of him over the years and wondered about his whereabouts. Now I know….

I contacted Paul and he was kind enough to allow me share the article here. Thanks Paul, and thank you George Payne.

George Payne –Electronic Genius

 Treasure Hunter’s Express/Second Edition/vol. 12/No. 1

Many of you probably had the opportunity to meet and talk with George Payne at one of the Treasure Expos. A very quiet, highly intellectual person, he would go into great depth on the design of the detectors and their operational systems. Probably no one has designed, developed and introduced as many new and dramatically different concepts into the operating systems of detectors than George Payne.

George began designing metal detectors to help pay his way through college. At that time BFO’s and TR’s were the common detectors and the industry was at a standstill in development of new products.  There was a form of discrimination available, but the ability to detect objects more than a couple of inches deep took real skill, and when the ground was severely mineralized detecting targets just below the surface was all but impossible.

In 1969 while attending Oregon State, George started working part time at White’s Electronics in the engineering department, working in the design of magnetometers. Upon graduating in 1971, he signed on full time at Whites. Convinced that significant changes could be made in detectors, George worked to design a better machine. His first success in new development was the introduction of the first VLF detector in 1973. This design and patent are the foundation for most of today’s ground cancelling metal detectors.

Moving to Arizona in 1976, he continued his career in the field by working for Bounty Hunter. Not satisfied with his first accomplishment, he embarked on a totally new idea – the ability to discriminate targets while ignoring the ground signals. This led to the development and introduction of the first VLF motion discriminating detector, the Red Baron in 1977. By today’s standards this detector was primitive but at the time it was way ahead in depth capabilities of other detectors when used in heavily mineralized areas.

Shortly after this George returned to Oregon and to White’s. There, in a few months, he developed another first – visual target depth indication.

His foresight was impeccable….his mind was always working far into the future with his next development.  And his next design was radically new, something that revolutionized the industry again – he would develop and introduce a new detector designed and built by his newly founded company, Teknetics, Inc..

His new technology was the introduction of something called target ID. His Teknetics 8500 and 9000 series introduced in 1982, were the first detectors to offer target ID, the ability to indicate a target’s probable identity. Today that is common place but at that time this giant step in technology was astounding.

Photos courtesy of Treasurelinx (thanks Sven)

About the time the hobby was understanding all these new concepts, he was busy working on his next innovative concept which evolved into one of the most complex features – the concept of notch discrimination. Initially designed to give the metal detector operator at treasure hunts a competitive edge, George developed a feature he called “target select”. This allowed the operator to hone in on one type of target and ignore all the rest.

His next projects were the development and introduction of “surface blanking” which would allow operators to ignore targets near the surface while detecting targets buried deeper.

Before he could introduce all his ideas, his company Tek, Ltd., ceased to exist. Shortly thereafter he began consulting work for Compass Electronics and private companies.

Today George is working in the engineering department for Metal Detectors, Inc., a smaller second generation owned business that manufactures metal detectors for the lumber industry.

It is said that George’s basic target ID system has gone into more metal detectors sold than all other target ID systems put together.

George possessed exceptional inventive abilities in the metal detector field. His list of patents is extensive. He was truly an electronic genius and the metal detector industry has him to thank for the innovations that took the machines from a technological standstill into the modern electronic age. Thank you George!

(Source material Treasure Facts)


Patents – George Payne


I’ve shared material from the Treasure Hunters Express here before. Treasure Symbols is just one example. If you’re interested in subscribing to this publication write to:

Treasure Hunters Express, 335 N. William Ave., Fremont, NE   68025   (Published quarterly, $20.00 per year) or email Paul at tretrove@yahoo.com. I highly recommend it.


Early Paul Tainter….




Filed under Metal Detecting

9 responses to “Have You Thanked George Payne Today?

  1. Bob Sickler

    One of my all-time favorite metal detectors was the Teknetics Mark 1 purchased in 1985. Fabulous target ID so accurate that I could literally read the difference between clad and silver / dimes and quarters. My only issue with the detector was its size and weight. It ran on 14 AA batteries which added significantly to the weight. In one conversation years ago, George Payne told me that he used totally off-the-shelf components in his designs to avoid having to make custom manufactured IC’s, thus lowering the cost of build and repair… But, as a result, the large size of the circuit boards and ultimately the detector housings on the first Teknetics series. You have to admit though, they were exciting like nothing you ever saw before when the ads first hit the magazines!

    Not too many years ago I tried to inspire George to redesign the Mark 1 into a smaller package. By that time he was already working in the lumber industry plying his genius in a different venue, locating metal internally in trees to protect expensive saw blades. He at first seemed interested in my proposal, but later declined my “MicroMark1” concept… He was just comfortable working where he was and no doubt happy to leave the cut-throat competition of the metal detector industry. George Payne is one of the true innovators in metal detector electronics engineering who seemed to never care about the spotlight. My current metal detector comes very close a miniature Mark 1 concept. Fact is without George Payne and his many patents, today’s detectors might not exist! Thank you George!

  2. The Compass77b’s DNA surely springs from the Red Baron? Doubtless George had a profound effect on detecting roman and Celtic habitation sites here in the UK. Thank you George!

  3. Randy Dee

    Thanks Dick for a very interesting article, just shows how things have changed over the years.

  4. LR

    i totally love reading the history… Thank you very Much Dick.

    when I was 13, it was 1985. I did not own a detector yet, but bought every copy of W&ET I could and read them cover to cover… I read every book I could find about metal detectors from the library as well. An Uncle had given me several books about electronics and he lived in Texas, worked for Texas Instruments and told me, if I really wanted I could build my own… It never worked out. But I remember reading about Teknetics and all those other models. I did end getting a metal detector when I was 14 for my birthday – from Radio Shack. Micronta 4000… i never did figure it out proper. But I used it every where I went… Because of W&ET magazine, I ended up writing letters to some of the authors and sellers pages etc. and made several pen pals who helped me learn. Eventually meeting many old timers who would sometimes visit campgrounds near where I lived and invited me around to learn first hand about metal detecting… ah… so many very wonderful memories….

  5. Tony

    Very interesting articles. First off George Payne should be considered for some kind of medal for all of his life long work, enabling millions to enjoy this crazy hobby! Then you go ahead and add in a favorite subject of mine, cache hunting…..gets my blood moving and the juices flowing (not the wine juices) – so far I haven’t found one but I’ll keep my hopes up, you never know

    • “Then you go ahead and add in a favorite subject of mine, cache hunting…” Assume you’re talking about the article on the first page of Paul’s newsletter. He always has projects going….

  6. john taylor

    a good mention would be “paul tainter” has some archival publications for sale besides his excellent news letter. very reasonably priced and can be used for research. all in all,a very knowledgeable fellow. $20.00 for his news letter is an exceptional bargain when understanding the wealth of knowledge that is available.
    to attempt to “match” his level of expertise in the hobby would be an exercise in futility any where else. i’m just sayin’


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