|And, the sound of breaking glass...
Both Hewlett and Packard reminisce about the time they had a drill press right next to one of the plate glass windows and Bill made the mistake of starting the drill press up with the key in the chuck and the key went right through the plate glass window and stuck in it, producing a rather large whole in the glass!
Bad experiences with windows and broken glass were about to continue...
They were exposed to the public since they had great plate-glass windows right along the sidewalk that allowed everyone to look in. It was decided privacy was needed, so they painted those windows black. Unfortunately, the windows faced towards the setting sun and got so hot one day they all cracked and had to be replaced!
One Product is not enough!
It was a combination of Hewlett and Packard’s study of General Radio which was the electronic instrument company in the country and perhaps in the world market as well. The fact that Al Crossley and particularly Norm Neely thought it was very important to have more than one product to sell to a customer, steered them towards developing complimentary instruments to the 200A audio oscillator. The second product to be added to the line was the 320 distortion analyzer.
Distortion Analyzer, Model 320. Photo courtesy of Hewlett-Packard Company.
Packard remembers that they made some simple passive distortion analyzers, they were tuned but contained no filters. This product was successful and then Bill developed a wave analyzer which also became another significant product.
HP 300A Harmonic Wave Analyzer. Photo courtesy of Hewlett-Packard Company.
They then moved to incorporating a gain set into an oscillator, which became the product known as the 205A.
There was a little different approach to gain sets because oscillators had been considered to be low level devices and the attenuators were inserted after the transformer. Hewlett-Packard put the transformer after the attenuators, which caused some serious problems but as it turned out, the 205A was a very important device later because it provided a higher power audio source and exhibited good control around 5 watts. Many of the 205A’s were sold to people in the war effort in subsequent years to follow.
The 210A square wave generator that they developed added to building up a group of complimentary instruments. Not get involved in scattered areas proved in the long run to be an extremely important decision.
The 210A Square Wave Generator, another innovation! Photo courtesy of Hewlett-Packard Company.
The production facility was a compact room where a handful of employees turned out a half-dozen instruments.
Working in the 'Tinker Bell' building in 1941 are (from left) Glenn Zieber, Al Spear, John Terry, and Harvey Zieber, who was Hewlett-Packard's first employee. Photo courtesy of Hewlett-Packard Company.
And, even more employees.
One of their first employees was Harvey Zieber, who came to work for Hewlett-Packard during the garage days at 367 Addison Avenue. Harvey of course followed them when they moved down to Tinker Bell’s. Up until that time, Lucile had been doing all the secretarial and accounting work in her spare time, and they decided to hire a secretary, Helen Perry. Dick Arms was hired as their first machinist. The next two employees to be hired were Harold Hance and then Brunton Bauer.
Another early employee to join Hewlett and Packard in these early days was Bill Girdner, who Dave remembers, "Bill was a good mechanic and had a good deal of ingenuity and was very contributory..."
Bill and Dave remember other people from the past that were to make Hewlett-Packard a success! Al Spear, who was a cabinet maker, and Mr. Traxler. Later on Glenn Zieber, Harvey’s brother joined the team as well.
Ernie Schiller, a sheet metal man, had a shop just down the street from Bill and Dave’s Addison Avenue garage. They remember that Ernie Schiller was a gruff old fellow, and when they would visit, he’d act as though he didn’t want to see them! Ernie was a good mechanic and a good craftsman and made Hewlett-Packard’s sheet metal for many years. In fact, Hewlett-Packard kept him so busy, they were his only client. When production got even busier, a person from Hewlett-Packard was assigned to Ernie Schiller to help.
Charlie Cole, who created the Hewlett-Packard's first logo, also was their advertising agent. In addition, Charlie had a great deal of business experience and was helpful during the formative years of the company. Harry Dowe, another early associate, handled all of Hewlett-Packard's insurance until the volume became too large for a single agent to manage. Bill and Dave have fond memories of the people who were early associates.
America enters the war.
Bill served in the U.S. Army during World War II while Dave ran the young company. Years later, Bill directed HP while Dave was U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense. Photo courtesy HP Archives.
In February of 1942 America’s involvement in World War II was intense and Bill Hewlett was called back into the Army. He went to Washington and worked in the office of the Chief Signal Officer.
World War II meant orders from the government for Hewlett-Packard for their audio oscillators, vacuum-tube voltmeters, and then the 205A, which was used in the proximity-fuze production. Hewlett-Packard had become well enough known by that time, so when the requirements to tool-up for some of these production projects developed, rapidly increasing orders provided money to pay tool-up costs.
Aside: For further information on the proximity
fuze, see Edward Sharpe's article in this issue. click to go there!
Dave remembers the sales volume was about the 100K level in 1941, and due to the massive amount of equipment they were building, moved up to a million dollars very quickly thereafter.
Women enter the manufacturing field.
Hewlett-Packard began to hire people quite rapidly and they devised some simple employment tests including a manual dexterity test. Dave cites, "...it was to simply ask the applicants to bolt some sockets into a chassis, which of course was one of the jobs they were going to do anyway..." and using this time measurement, they were able to determine the prospective employees manual dexterity.
The majority of workers in this World War II era HP photograph are women!
Since the men had been sent off overseas to fight the war, there was a need to fill positions in manufacturing and women were available. It
page 28 & 29
|turned out that the women excelled at assembly work, and during the war were to build airplanes, electronics equipment and more! After the war, in many industries, women were to return to the household. Hewlett-Packard was an exception, and continued to keep quite a number of women in their work force. Photo courtesy of Hewlett-Packard Company.
Bill and Dave remember Frank Cavier and Noel Eldred, two other key personnel that joined Hewlett Packard during the war years. The company had grown, and Noel Eldred joined them in late 1942 or early 1943 as the business manager. Noel had been general manager up at Heintz and Kauffman, and brought with him a great deal of experience. He helped on engineering work, but his real contribution was in two areas.
As Hewlett-Packard needed some more technical strength, Dave convinced Noel to come to work for them. Noel's job was primarily to help out on the technical work. Later, after the war, he showed a great flair for sales and marketing. During World War II Noel Eldred was a great asset in technical projects, as well as being in charge of production for a while. After the war, Noel was of great help in the marketing program. Dave remembers, "...I liked to do things with a broad brush and he’d fill in all the details and it worked out fine."
The following memories, though out of sequence, are relevant to continue this story about Noel.
When Bill And Dave were seniors at Stanford, Dave went looking for a job that was near school. He went to Heinz and Kauffman to see if they had any openings available. This is the first time Dave met Noel, who gave Dave his job interview. Dave tells us, "...and fortunately as it turned out they didn’t have a job... because I might have just stayed there..."
This was one of those decisive points in Dave's life, and had it been scripted in another manner, it would have changed the entire outcome of our story. In those days people were more apt to go to work for a company and stay until retirement. These people had experienced the depression, and knew that a job that you had, was a job to keep! In the years to follow though, younger folks, who had not experienced the direct terror of the depression, would be less loyal to only one employer from start to retirement.
Aside: I can remember my father talking of the depression times, and how tough it was to survive through this period. I think I have been rather conservative in business because of his influence. He too, had many of the same views as Bill and Dave did regarding 'pay-as-you-go, as he felt that if you didn't pay, but you owed, and bad times came, you would lose! A wise man my father was...
On a humorous note though, it seemed all fathers that went through the depression as children always had the same stories to tell. In comparing notes with my friends and associates throughout my life, this common theme of hard times and helping earn a living so the family could eat, as well as the legend of walking through 5 miles of snow to get to school- naturally with shoes that had holes in them, was a dominant theme in the existence of people who were my father's contemporaries. We used to joke that perhaps they had gone through a 'fathers school', which schooled them in stories to tell their children, and therefore they all had the same stories! Seriously though these were hard times, and just being able to survive through them was a challenge. -Edward A. Sharpe
Hewlett was to acquire other employees from Heintz and Kauffman, including Bill Doolittle who joined Hewlett-Packard during World War II as a test technician.
During the early part of the war, Hewlett-Packard continued to make the audio-frequency products that they were famous for, with only slight additions to the product line.
Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett in 1943. Photo courtesy HP Archives.
Microwaves - A new vista.
In the early 1940's, a turning point in product direction came when Hewlett-Packard became acquainted with the Naval Research Laboratory. Dr. Andy Hiath, at the NRL had been working on microwave high-frequency signal generators using lighthouse tubes and coaxial transmission lines. Dave remembers calling on the Naval Research Laboratory off and on and Dr. Hiath expressed a need for someone to build microwave signal generators. It was agreed that Hewlett-Packard would take this project on. Dave looking back on events, cites that, "We really were a little overly ambitious because when we got back we didn’t have any of the tools needed." Hewlett-Packard was soon to devise the technology and hire the people necessary to do the development work. Norm Schrock joined Hewlett-Packard about 1944, and was instrumental in the design of these microwave signal generators, and other projects that Hewlett-Packard would continue to collaborate on with Dr. Hiath.
Dave felt that this was a another turning point for the company, "...because that got us sort of at the forefront of the microwave business." Based on decisions, Bill and Dave had made following the war, Hewlett-Packard was in the microwave business to stay!
Dr. Andy Hiath, later during the war, was to use Hewlett-Packard's oscillators for an active electronic counter-measures device which was designed to pick up the radar signal, synchronize on the signal, and generate pulses which could be moved either before, ahead, or use noise pulses to blanket the incoming pulse. The equipment functioned to cause a ship to appear as though it was somewhere else. The name of this large undertaking was the Leopard Project.
Hewlett-Packard manufactured the entire system, which included designing the antennas and servo controls for them. The design trick was to minimize interference between the sending and receiving antennas. The countermeasures equipment included what was called an ‘A scope’, which was essentially an oscilloscope. The development work on this scope was instrumental in introducing Bill Hewlett to Howard Vollum, who during this war period was working on development of the 'A Scope,' and later would co-found the Tektronix scope company. In later pages we will cover more about Howard Vollum.
Fulfillment of the Leopard contract required Hewlett-Packard to have the equipment ready to sell by mid 1945. The pilot model was tested in February 1945, on Chesapeake Bay. It was a real job to get the equipment to production status in time. But as always, everyone at Hewlett-Packard pitched in and the job was completed! (3)
The Leopard contract was one of the largest government contracts that Hewlett-Packard took on, but it was not large in terms of overall business. Towards the end of World War II, Hewlett-Packard had increased to a total of 200 employees, and the sales figures were about 2 million dollars. Dave cites, "...that was about the right number for that many employees in those days..." The volume of work during the war period enabled Hewlett-Packard to build strength into the company and provided a good foundation when Bill returned from the Army.
When Bill Hewlett joined the Signal Corps for the second time, he was assigned to the office of the Chief Signal Officer at Fort Monmouth. Bill reported to Colonel O’Connell who interfaced with the National Defense Research Council (NDRC). The NDRC was involved in many areas including as Bill remembers, trying to tell the Army and the Air Force how to run things, which incidentally Bill feels they should have done. Remembering back on his days with the NDRC, Bill says, "...they were kind of a pain in the neck to the Signal Corps". Colonel O’Connell assigned Bill Hewlett to be the Signal Corps contact with the NDRC, which put Bill in charge of the research section, and Bill says that it, "...was mainly a one-for-one defense against the NDRC."
Bill Hewlett found himself in an interesting line of work and facing new challenges! He gained the opportunity to make new contacts with people participating in equipment development, which after the war, turned out to be important contacts to Hewlett-Packard.
Bill remembers that in the end of 1942, or the beginning of 1943, he was sent out to the Pacific area. Since he needed to go to a western seaport in California, he was able to visit Dave and Lucile, who had moved to Matadero Road when Hewlett-Packard had moved the shop activity to Tinker Bell’s. The visit was an opportunity for Dave and the rest of the gang to throw a great party for him! Bill proceeded to Australia and New Guinea to test equipment under actual field conditions.
After his tour overseas Bill returned to Washington. Near the end of the war, the government recognizing his capabilities, transferred him from the Signal Corps and assigned him to the new development division of the War Department’s special staff under the command of General Borden. Bill Hewlett thrived in his new job, and again used this opportunity to make more contacts. Just before the war ended, Bill was again sent out to evaluate equipment that was being introduced in the Philippines. When Bill arrived in Guam, the peace was declared and he was stranded! Bill eventually found his way to Manila and discovered his orders had been changed.
Bill Hewlett was assigned to the intelligence team that went into Japan before the subdued enemy could destroy any electronics technology. This team, which Bill considered a top notch group, was supervised by K.T. Compton from MIT. Bill Hewlett and his group, for two or three weeks, traveled all over the main island of Japan, giving Bill a good chance to see how Japanese industry was structured.
Throughout Bill Hewlett’s duty and travels during the war years, his insight increased through exposure to diverse environments and a wide variety of people. Many of these people were to become close personal friends and later, customers.
Bill Hewlett, now with the rank of Lt. Colonel, returned to the United States in December after the war ended. Bill drove home to Palo Alto, and remembers, "I remember we arrived home just in time for Christmas and got back in the stride of the company again..."
Hewlett-Packard was to win many of the Army-Navy 'E' flags for excellence in innovation and production during World War II. Just to win one flag was an accomplishment!
The war ends-distribution in place-new challenges ahead!
The distribution system for the domestic market worked consisted of: Neely, who was on the Pacific Coast; Crossley, who was in the Midwest; Burlingame, who was really the eastern seaboard; Earl Lipscomb, down in Texas; Bivins and Caldwell, in the south; Ron Merritt, up in Washington. By the end of the war, Hewlett-Packard was committed to the manufacturer’s representative formula of distribution system. In the post-war years Noel Eldred took over working with the reps, and Dave cites that, "He had some good marketing ideas."
Bill and Dave also firmed up Hewlett-Packard’s commitment to stay in the instrument business and another very important decision they made was to continue microwave instrument development. They knew that these instruments were not going out of style unlike General Radio, who cut back development in this area. In addition, Hewlett-Packard was to add a large line of waveguide components to the ever-growing product list.
Horace Overacker, who had been called back to Boston at the Harvard Radio Laboratories with Fred Terman during the war returned to Palo Alto when the war was over. Horace, who had made many important contributions before the war, is remembered by Dave Packard, "He was a very ingenious engineer and we designed what turned out to be very good signal generators during that period."
Bill also fondly remembers Horace Overacker. One of the requirements on the 300A Wave Analyzer was the need for very stable micro-condensers. Horace, who had been one of the Federal Radio employee alumni, had a small business making component parts. He had a technique for silvering mica and made all the mica condensers for Hewlett-Packard during the early years.
Bill Hewlett (left) and Dave Packard (right). This photo was taken shortly after the end of WW-II. They are standing next to a horizontal mill in the machining section of the shop. Photo courtesy of Hewlett-Packard Company.
Business takes a dip.
Bill remembers the post-war years as a painful situation in which they faced having the company shrink from about 200 to 80 people. Since the war had ended, the military contracts were not plentiful, nor was the ongoing wartime purchase of equipment by the military present. Dave recalls that business during the peak of wartime was about a million and a half, but had dropped to half of that amount by 1946. This scenario was a totally new experience for Bill and Dave, as they had never encountered a large dip since they started the business. This was an important lesson, as they learned not to base business on large government contracts that can come and go thus causing large surges and dips in business activity.
Hewlett-Packard, after the war, sought to attract people who had worked at the Radio Research Laboratory at Harvard and other places of similar caliber. Bruce Wholey, Art Fong, Horace Overacker, and Ralph Lee were some of the people to join forces with Hewlett-Packard during this recruitment effort. This was a tough commitment to make
page 30 & 31
|since adding new employees adds to the cost of doing business. The decision to cut back to a bare minimum structure, or only trim slightly in anticipation of Hewlett-Packard growing was a tough decision. Bill and Dave had confidence in their ability to progress and did not make drastic cuts that would have been damaging to the company in the long run. They also considered the commitment they made by acquiring good new engineers as a valuable investment in the future.
During these financial tight times after the war, all the employees at Hewlett-Packard worked very hard and were rewarded by the effort! By the end of the 1940’s they had added enough new products to push Hewlett-Packard close to where they were during the war time peak production years.
The 410A Voltmeter is born!
When Bill returned from the service one of the main projects they had in the laboratory under development was the 410 voltmeter. This instrument was significant since the voltmeter measured voltages in frequency ranges up to 700 megacycles. There were no diode tube that worked well on the market in this frequency range because they were physically they were the wrong shape. Hewlett-Packard went to Eimac, who designed a special microwave diode tube that possessing the quality of short leads which lowered the impedance.
Jack Petrak was the engineer on the 410 voltmeter and Bill cites, "I can remember we broke one of our cardinal rules on that and advertised its performance before we had it invented" This rule, was one that both Hewlett and Packard had always in the past adhered to. It was a wise rule, so that they would not set the expectations of the customer higher than the specifications of the unit when it was finally in production. Bill continues, "... poor old Jack just sweated blood to get this thing out because we just pulled 700 megacycles from thin air..." What Jack was trying accomplish, was to design a unit, to a specification which was three times higher than anyone else had ever accomplished! All of the expectations set forth in the specifications were achieved and the 410 Voltmeter turned out to be a fine product.
Thinking back on the 410 voltmeter, Dave remembers that it, "was kind of a marginal design in that we had that special diode and the control of the parameters of the diode were tricky..." As with microwave tubes that Dave and the Varian brothers had worked with at Stanford, the closeness of spacing of the vacuum tube elements was to be of paramount importance. Dave continues on that they sought to, "...have small capacity so that the anode was just a little small wire, but that meant that the emission velocities were quite high..." The counter-effect to this was that they got an output at zero voltage input and it had to be balanced out. This balance was achieved by the addition of another diode to the circuit.
The 410 Voltmeter, was the only production instrument that would make measurements at that high a frequency, and it provided something very badly needed in the electronics world. Dave Packard sums up the 410A Voltmeter when he said, "...it was a real breakthrough..."
Bill comments, "It did a lot of things, Dave, that we never think sometimes of giving credit for..." What Bill is describing here are spin-off's and creation of other equipment and ideas to bring the product under design to fruitation. Bill cites, "...we had to invent a lot of other measuring techniques to prove to our own satisfaction that it met these specifications." In industry, the standard calibration practice is to have any test and measurement equipment traceable to the Bureau of Standards. Hewlett-Packard, needing to make power measurements, built their own equipment to accomplish this. Bill remembers, "... we coordinated with the Bureau of Standards and at that time our techniques were better than the Bureau of Standards."
Another interesting manufacturing problem that arose on the 410 Voltmeter was that in order to maintain electrical characteristics, a coupling capacitor, as close as possible to the anode lead of the diode tube was needed with a resistance built in. Hewlett-Packard did the design work, and they needed a company to do the actual plastic molding work. Hewlett-Packard sought the advice of Remler, who had been in the radio business since the 1920's, and was a specialist in plastic molding techniques. Remler during this time made radios, knobs, plastic tube sockets, and many other components. Remler, built the molded capacitor-resistor unit for Hewlett-Packard, and became one of the companies that helped make Hewlett-Packard a success by providing an outside solution to a unique problem. The 410A Voltmeter was released in 1946.
Aside: A fantastic chronicle of Remler's product line may be found in the collections of early magazines at the Southwest Museum of Electricity and Communications in Phoenix. During the later days of radio and radio parts production, Remler made a rather famous line of radios called the 'Remler Scotty' series. These radios were easily identified by the small Scotty dog that was on the front of the radio. There is an example of a Remler Scotty in the museum. -Edward A. Sharpe
Bill and Dave’s Electronic Lettuce Thinner
or, heads up in Salinas!
The Lettuce Thinner was to be one of Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard’s more diverse projects! They became involved in this project through their patent attorney Paul Flehr, and if you look later on in this same section, you will notice Paul’s signature on the original patient for the 200A Audio Oscillator. From the information at hand, the person seeking Bill and Dave’s help was named Leo Marihart in Salinas California. Leo, who had been referred to Bill and Dave for advice by Paul Flehr, had a lettuce farm and had been developing an idea to thin lettuce and other row crops in an automated manner, but was encountering problems.
Bill and Dave became intrigued with this concept, and although there was a large investment of time and money, it never reached completion. Bill and Dave agree that it was interesting experience, and they believe that, sooner or later, automated farm equipment will be practical. Bill and Dave were trying to spread their interest in the electronics business over a wider area, and believe the lettuce thinner was just ahead of it's time. This event also continued to remind Bill and Dave that the instrument business was their strongest area.
Aside: Any Engineer with a creative minds enjoys experimenting with diverse areas and concepts. If an engineer doesn't go off on a tangent once in a while, he will never know if a concept would have worked, or not, and it will cause a haunting feeling until the end of his days on earth! -Edward A. Sharpe
The 'World Class' team continues on!
Both Hewlett and Packard had selected a world class team, and fortunately they had not cut back to the point of non-functionality. Another employee who was to become part of this team, and was very important during the 1940's, was Rufe Kingman.
Bill remembers that Rufe Kingman had worked for Joshua Hendy which was part of Westinghouse and after being retired due to his age during the war time prior to working at Hewlett-Packard. Prior to working at Westinghouse, Rufe had been an old mechanical engineer working in the mining business. He knew all kinds of tricks about machine shop work and he helped Hewlett-Packard producing tooling, especially during the Leopard electronics counter measures project. One very important contribution was Rufe's creation of a machine that would punch soldering lugs from strip material and insert them into plastic boards, 'Kingman boards' as they were called. That design reduced fabrication time by 1/6 and became a standard component board for Hewlett-Packard.
Dave commented, "We got down to a fairly low level in the late 40’s but the important thing is that we were able to keep a good team together." Of course having a good team was a lesson Bill and Dave had both learned in sports in high school and during their Stanford University days. Dave adds, "We were able to add some good new products and then as the industry really took off in the early 1950’s." The Korean conflict, the cold war and the start of the space program in the early 1950's created a dynamic marketplace for electronics instrumentation and Dave remarked, "...we were in a good position to grow with it."
Hewlett-Packard had been a partnership until incorporation on August 18, 1947. One important reason to incorporate a company is that it becomes a legal entity. In this manner an incorporated entity is just like a person is in the eyes of the law, however, unlike a person that is mortal, an incorporated company can live forever. This advantage is obvious because if a partner passes away, the estate litigation can drag out for extreme periods of time, and disrupt the productivity of the company.
Another benefit of incorporation, is the ability to raise capital by selling stock. This stock issue is interesting, as many companies, including Hewlett-Packard, are currently in part owned by employees. The benefits to the company are obvious, if a person has the ability to be an owner of the company they work for, that person's productivity will be vastly increased! A person that owns 'a piece of the action' is not working for someone hidden away in a corporate office, they are working for themselves! The better the company does, the better they will do in the form of stock dividends and the net value of his stock increasing!
Indeed they were in a position to grow with all of their key people in place, both in management and engineering. By 1949 to 1950, Hewlett-Packard was back up to a level of around 200 employees.
Bill remembers another early person from the early days of Hewlett-Packard. Harold (Swede) Wild was working for Goodenough, who built two buildings for Hewlett-Packard. At the end of the job, Swede decided he’d like to come to work for Hewlett-Packard and although Swede hadn’t been a professional machinist, he was very good with his hands. Swede and Dick Arms hit it off immediately and provided the nucleus that had great influence on the future of Hewlett-Packard from the machining standpoint. Both Dick's and Swede's talents were to shine when Hewlett-Packard became involved in the mechanical design and manufacturing of waveguide components business starting in the late 1940's.
Bruce Wholey and Horace Overacker worked on signal generators and provided constant advancement of Hewlett-Packard’s line of audio frequency equipment. This line of microwave equipment, which included signal generators, and the addition of waveguide equipment, including standing wave indicators and slotted lines, was to become a very strong product line.
It was toward the end of that period that they sponsored Al Bagley and Cortland McKenna to study the possibility of making some nuclear counters. Hewlett-Packard developed some ideas along this line, but they decided not to go into the nuclear counter field. The upshot of this development process was the creation of the 520 series of counters, and in the genesis of the 524A, Hewlett-Packard's first 10 megacycle frequency counter. Although Hewlett-Packard had started with an idea of making a nuclear pre-scaler that would count at the rate of 10 million counts a second, Al Bagley found if he put a one second gate on it, he could make a direct frequency counter that would work up to ten megacycles! This turned out to be a major contribution to the electronics industry, as the highest direct reading frequency counter in existence had a top limit of 200 KC.
Al Bagley with the prototype of Hewlett-Packard's first 10 megacycle frequency counter, the 524A. Photo courtesy HP Archives.
Pipes and the plumbers.
Varian, who had been in the waveguide business previously, decided that they weren't going to continue to pursue that sector of the marketplace, and Hewlett-Packard added waveguide components to their product line. This waveguide equipment consisted of couplers and related items. Ed Ginzton had pointed out that a very sophisticated slotted line could be built by having two slabs of material together; and this was the genesis of Hewlett-Packard's microwave hardware busines. In 1948 Hewlett-Packard displayed the slotted line standing wave indicator and a microwave power indicator at the New York IRE show.(3) This instrumentation was the beginning of what became the large line of microwave products that Hewlett-Packard offered.
Hewlett-Packard began designing a carriage with variable waveguide and coaxial elements. Dave remembers that they were working with Rufe Kingman to develop this idea. Dave cites, "I remember one morning I was taking a shower and I thought of the idea of mounting those linear bearings on a frame" This was very critical, as at microwave frequencies everything is very touchy dimensionally. Dave continues, "...and setting the frame so that the top of the waveguide element that you want had an indexing point and Rufe worked out that design." Again Rufe Kingman made the project a success with his engineering skills! Hewlett-Packard had gotten into a line of waveguide equipment with the help of Rufe Kingman, who did a lot of work in designing mechanical components of waveguides, slotted lines and other accessories.
Aside: One wonders, if the people that designed the Hewlett-Packard ads in the late 1980's were privy to some of the information used in this research work. The television commercial showed a Hewlett-Packard employee in the shower, where the employee would be struck with a bright idea and run from the shower to call someone and pass the idea on! The theme for this series of commercials was 'What if...' -Edward A. Sharpe
Dave remembers in the first 10 years of the business, Bill and he spent long hours working in the shop themselves. Both of them periodically would go out on recruiting trips to hire students, and they knew everybody personally. Dave believes that this added what was called the personal element, or the HP Way as it turned out to be named later on. Dave felt that many of our employees were good friends, when he says, "I remember thinking and making the comment that most of the best friends I had were working here in the company," and he believes that general philosophy was very important in forming their corporate objectives later on.
Dave described that in the early days their sales representatives had a very important influence on Hewlett-Packard's product line. One day, during a conversation with Bill Hewlett and Norm Neely, Dave remembered they discussed that they had the 200 series audio oscillator, but needed other products to complement it. Bill remembers one of the outgrowths in the representative form of selling, when he says, "The salesman really was representing the customer in many cases... instead of the company..." Bill felt that the sales representative would take the customer’s position with the company and it made Hewlett-Packard realize clearly their responsibility to the customer. Bill continues, "I think that long after the reps had been acquired, we still kind of maintained that approach and we worked very hard." Bill believes, "...this again is one of the things that appears in our objectives now,... our responsibility to our customers..." What now appears in the Hewlett-Packard corporate objectives was an outgrowth of what Bill and Dave learned during the first ten years of business.
Dave remembers an incident which illustrated an example of the point Bill was discussing about sales representatives representing the customer. Bill Purdy, who was a sales representative with Allen Bradley, visited Bill and Dave in the early days when Hewlett-Packard had about three employees. If a normal purchaser went down to the local radio shop they would pay 10 or 15 cents for a one watt resistor. Bill Purdy set up Hewlett-Packard with a manufacturers account which allowed them to buy resistors wholesale for about a cent apiece. Bill Purdy was clearly interested in helping Bill and Dave, and was a very good move for Purdy, because Hewlett-Packard became one of his big customers.
Bill remembers that it was in the early 1950's that Ed Porter joined Hewlett-Packard. Ed Porter had been an old friend of both Bill and Dave during the college years and also Ed had socialized with Bill during the war years. Bill and Dave talked Ed into coming back and running the production end of the business for Hewlett-Packard.
Some highlights from the 1950's were: During this era Hewlett-Packard introduced an unheard of 20 products a-year. In 1951 a Second factory building, a 21,000 sq. foot twin to the 1948 structure. This was the year Hewlett-Packard introduced their waveguide components. During 1953 and 1954 a 28,000 sq. foot factory building was added. Also in 1954 the new 44,000 Sq. foot Administration building was competed. 1954 brought innovative new products such as the Traveling Wave Tube Analyzers, the 400D voltmeter, the 521 and 524B Frequency
page 32 & 33
|counter and the AC4-A Decade counter. These instruments promised to increase Hewlett-Packards's leadership in the field further! By 1954 the facilities occupied an eight acre site, with almost 4 acres under roof.
I was working in my lab late one night...
Barney Oliver head of Hewlett-Packard Research Laboratories. Photo: Supplement 1954 Watt's Current.
1952 was an important year with Barney Oliver joining Hewlett-Packard. Now, both Bill and Dave had known Barney since their days in Fred Terman's classes at Stanford, and they made several attempts to entice Barney away from Bell Laboratories to join them. Every time they asked Barney, Bell would offer him a challenging project, and he would stay there! Time was on the side of Bill and Dave though, and finally Barney wanted to come to California. The reason was two-fold, partly to work for Hewlett-Packard, but also because his mother resided in California. This addition of Barney Oliver completed the formula for success! Hewlett-Packard's basic organization went like this: Eldred in charge of sales, Porter in charge of production, Barney in charge of R&D and Cavier in charge of finance. This basic structure, by 1952, was to remain intact for many years to come.
To give the reader some light-hearted insight to the goings-on at the laboratory in this era, we offer you the story Barney Oliver did for the Hewlett-Packard 1955-1957 supplement to the 1954 anniversary issue of Watt's Current.
H-P Development Lab. Organization
By Barney Oliver (Hewlett-Packard Research Director)
Every cent -hp- makes comes from the sale of electronic test instruments. Every one of these instruments began with an idea. And every one of these ideas went through a period of gestation in the development lab before it became a thing of wires and metal and plastic ready to emit its first howl (distortion down 50db) or wiggle its little pointer one millivolt full scale). How this happens- how the idea gets transformed from a gleam in the engineer’s eye (more often a glazed, far-away look) into a collection of tubes and dials and resistors which may look wilder than its inventor but does something useful is the real "inside story" of the Lab.
Who Gets the Ideas?-
Before we see what happens to an idea in the Lab, let’s find out where it comes from. Who gets these ideas? Where is the fountainhead? Actually there is no shortage of ideas. There are usually more ideas than we can use. Everybody has ideas. The boys in the Lab find measurements to be made for which no equipment exists-so they invent a setup to do the job. Often their solution is just what others with the same problem need. Our reps come up with ideas. In selling our gear they come to know their customers’ needs. Sometimes they come up with feasible solutions, sometimes they just let us know the market is there for a certain product. Sometimes an idea just comes from nowhere and creates its own market. There’s no dearth of ideas-there’s no one fountainhead-it’s raining! Let me hasten to add that all this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t tell us your pet idea. No matter how many ideas we’ve heard, we’ll gladly listen. Yours may be the most.
The point I would like to make, however, is that the real problem is not to have ideas but rather to select ideas. This is where judgment enters the picture-both engineering judgment and business judgment.
The Idea Becomes a Project-
To warrant serious attention an idea must be both practical and useful. There are many "inventions" which are worthless because they just can’t be made to work. I don’t mean here the obvious frauds such as perpetual motion machines which violate some natural law. I mean rather the devices which are fine in principle but which involve such critical processes or adjustments, or are so complicated that there’s no hope of their running for five minutes without trouble. Or the devices which are qualitatively sound but which fail when you put the numbers in, such as the microphone (attributed to Einstein) with no moving parts which works on the variation of dielectric constant of the air when compressed by a sound wave and which is fine except that its output in response to an atomic blast is below thermal noise! Engineering judgment tells us which ideas are practical in this sense.
Out of those ideas which are practical, a smaller number is useful. To be useful an invention must not only fill a need, it must be an economical solution to that need. If not the best, it must at least be a better way to do a job. It must save time or money or human lives (or, alas, perhaps destroy them). The decision as to which of the practical ideas are also useful is a matter of business as well as engineering judgment.
If an idea is both practical and useful (and in our line of work) it becomes a possible project. Here it must take its turn with a number of other possible projects. We have a limited amount of manpower, so we can work on only the most promising ideas. So here it becomes a matter of priority. Even if an idea is both practical and useful, other ideas may be more so. Roughly speaking, the simplest idea with the biggest market gets the green light first: gets an "L" number and becomes the source of many a sleepless night for some engineer.
Obviously, this decision as to which ideas to proceed with involves many people’s judgment. Engineers in the Lab, the sales people, Bill and Dave all have their say in addition to the "Three Bees" (Bruce, Brunton, and me). Often in the manner characteristic of -hp-, the decision is arrived at informally in a series of discussions in the Lab, at coffee, and at lunch, rather than in any full dress conference. The chance to think things over between talks helps avoid hasty decisions.
The Lab Groups-
Back in the days when the Lab consisted of half a dozen engineers there was no organizational structure within the Lab. Each engineer worked on a wide variety of jobs. As soon as he finished one job he got a new and possibly quite different one. True, the engineers’ special talents and particular interests were taken into account, but everybody doubled in brass. With so few people supervision was relatively easy.
Today with close to forty people involved it has become desirable to divide the Lab into a number of groups, each with a group leader. Each group works on a particular type of project and it is the responsibility of the group leader to keep the projects in his group moving. In effect the Lab is six small Labs with the group leaders supervising the activity in each area. Because the groups are small (five or six people) each group leader is able to keep in close enough touch with the details of each job to do this job properly. The groups are not isolated, however, and in fact are continually helping each other. Furthermore, engineers will move from one group to another when the shift in activity requires more strength in one area or less in another. Within this rather loose structure, Brunton Bauer, our chief engineer, Bruce Wholey, our assistant chief engineer, and I circulate, looking over the activity for places where people are stuck, trying to give what assistance we can.
At present we have six groups. Starting at the library end of the Lab first find the Signal Generator gang, which is Bill Myers’ responsibility. We have a lull at the moment in our signal generator program pending further tube development, and everybody in Bill’s group has been "borrowed" for other work except Wally Klingman who is making some tests for a special military system., and Art Fong, who is in the middle of a standard signal generator ( ?low? kc - 50mc) development. The latest units to come out of Bill’s group are the 628 and 626 Signal Generators.
Next we come to Pete Lacy’s group which includes Ed Daw, George Mathers, Howard Poulter, Charlie Reis and Dan Wheeler. This is the microwave tube group and is concerned primarily with the development and application of such things as traveling wave amplifiers and backward wave oscillators. The 490 and 491 came out of this group.
Across the aisle from Lacy’s group we find Keith Hunton and his plumbers -excuse me-his waveguide and coaxial components group. Here you’ll find Frank Barnett deep in THOUGHT and equally deep in copies of the Physical Review. Or he may be at his bench up to his ears in waveguide plumbing. Next to him you’ll find Phil Hand pumping oil through his calorimeter and looking glum about it. Keith himself will be staring at a Smith Chart and trying to wind a curve around the middle of it, while Ted Anderson makes measurements for him. Horace Overacker has been developing some special microwave crystals and is hiding in the basement while he does it. Products which have come out of this group include the 752 Directional Couplers, the 285 Attenuators, the 885 Phase Shifter, and all our many thermistor and crystal mounts.
George Kan heads a catch-all group which goes under the name of Audio and Video devices. This means things like vacuum tube voltmeters, pulse generators, oscillators, etc. We stole a few of George’s men while be was in Europe but he now has Bob Beatie who is currently developing a digital voltmeter; as well as Jack Petrak and Nick Kovalevski who are redesigning the 300A Wave Analyzer. Lack you’ll find sitting on a stool with his back to all his calendars and looking very unhappy. (He’s got a good circuit but his heart is breaking). Nick can be seen between 4:30 and 4:45 on a clear Friday afternoon right after cleanup time. At all other times he’s hidden from view-gets lost in his work, we say. Also in George’s group is Ralph Wuerker who is completing the development of a high power klystron supply. Ralph is a physics student who may switch to electronics.
Across from and around George’s set-up we find Norm Schrock’s crew consisting of Bob Grimm, Duane Dunwoodie, Dick Reynolds, Herb Shear, Bill Wise, and John Zevenbergen. These are currently being assisted by Jim Chesebrough. Here is where you’ll also find Bill Hewlett, Dave Packard, and Brunton Bauer a good share of the time.
Norm’s group is, of course, developing our oscilloscope line, and doing a fine job under considerable pressure. You can come watch them, but don’t talk to them, they’re busy!
At the far end of the lab where all the flashing lights are, is Al Bagley’s group which works on frequency and time measuring equipment. In this group you’ll find Ed Hilton and Duane Marshall watching the wheels go ‘round on a print-out machine for counters. Jeff Wolfington is putting the finishing touches on a one-megacycle counter, while Marvin Willrodt, Dexter Hartke and Don Broderick are winding up a pulse delay generator development. And last but not least (to coin a phrase) there is Frank Koziuk who is working on an interesting gadget: a reversible counter which not only adds up pulses received on one input but also subtracts off pulses received on the other input.
Serving all engineering groups as needed is a group of technicians which includes Bill Hanisch, Hal Hiner, Ed Hurd, Smith Kline and Ralph Elliott. Bill Hanisch and Smith Kline are currently helping Lacy’s group on a military job. Ed Hurd is helping Art Fong with his signal generator, while Hal Hiner is building waveguide units for Keith Hunton. Ralph Elliott has the job of checking out and of keeping in repair all our Lab instruments.
The Project Gets Developed-
In the initial stages we may have only a rough idea of what is possible in a given project. The idea may be practical and useful but just what specifications we can put on the final instrument may not be clear. To set up impossible goals would stymie the job while too loose specs would not encourage full development. Hence there is usually an exploratory stage when various solutions are tried out. Gradually firmer specs are arrived at on the basis of the most successful trial solutions. (Unless we’re careful, these specs have a habit of appearing in the catalog next week and we sometimes have to invent our way out of that situation.)
Finally we decide that we have a practical solution-one we’re ready to run with-and we put together a complete lab model of the instrument. In cases where this model requires careful mechanical construction this stage may involve considerable cooperation with Ralph Lee’s group.
In the complete model a number of troubles usually develop which have to be corrected. Sometimes this indicates a redesign of a substantial part, more often some simple modification will do. But there can be an awful lot of head scratching at this stage. In the end a satisfactory design is arrived at, and Lee’s group goes to work to make it both pretty and easy to build.
I wish we could say that our part of the development ended here. Unfortunately there are often troubles which develop in the pre-production model and others in the first pilot run. To the extent that these troubles are design defects (and not the result of production changes’) the responsibility for their correction clearly rests with the Lab. In any case, help from the design engineer will frequently be needed to clear the trouble, and no Lab engineer can feel his responsibility end until the instrument starts going through Test without any trouble which proper design could avoid.
At time this photo was taken the scope design was frozen and all that remained was to put the instrument into production. Here are some of the people behind the -hp- scope program. Left to right: DUANE DUNWOODIE, DICK REYNOLDS, BRUNTON BAUER, JIM CHESEBOROUGH, and NORM SCHROCK. At extreme right, GEORGE KAN works on another project.
The success of the electronics industry that Fred Terman helped to spawn in the West, and particularly the Stanford Industrial Park, was evident in 1952 when former students Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett donated a substantial new wing to Stanford's Electronics Research Laboratory. (From left to right, Dave Packard, Bill Hewlett, and Fred Terman.) Photo: courtesy, Hewlett-Packard Measure
magazine - December, 1973.
page 34 & 35
In the early 1950's, Stanford was to use some of the land for use as a research park. The tract Stanford owned was large, and as stipulated in the original Leyland Stanford gift, the land could be used by the university but never to be sold. This policy made land available for the Stanford Industrial Park. The first tenant was Varian Associates, which was quickly followed by Hewlett-Packard and many others. Having industry close to the university was an advantage for both parties and added to the speed of the progress of technology in the bay area. For a more in-depth look at Stanford's park, please see The Life Of Frederick Terman in this issue.
Fred Terman remembers, "In the early 1950’s, Stanford University started to develop its lands for income producing purposes, starting with a shopping center, and a few small residential areas. It was also thought that there might be a possible interest in light industry locating near the university-a very new idea at that time. I liked the idea because I had come to the conclusion that there were important advantages in locating high-technology industries near a university-that by being close together we could benefit each other in a variety of ways. In this the Hewlett-Packard Company was my model. Their first product was the result of a thesis, and during their first year or two in business they were in and out of the Stanford Communication Laboratory almost every day. Today they hire our graduates and employ our faculty people as consultants, while we make it possible for HP engineers to obtain advanced degrees at Stanford by enrolling in courses that are made conveniently available by television."
"Back in those times Packard and I began playing a little game. People would come to see me about locating a business in the Stanford Industrial Park, and after talking with them, I would suggest they talk to Packard to find out what it meant to an electronics firm to be close to a cooperative university. When people came to him first, he would reciprocate. Creating a center of high-technology industry on the Peninsula was our goal."
"In the process of doing these many things, Hewlett and Packard firmly established both themselves and their firm. The result is that here today is a company with annual worldwide sales exceeding half a billion dollars, employing several tens of thousands of people. Moreover, virtually all of this activity represents new business generated by creating new products, and most of it has grown from that original business that the partners founded in 1939-rather than from acquisitions and mergers." (2)
The following information on the Laboratory division leaders stands alone so well it has been reproduced as printed.
Lab Girds for Future By Ted Anderson
From Hewlett-Packard 1955-1957 supplement to the 1954 anniversary issue of Watt's Current.
The recent reorganization of the Laboratory has created y(???) new positions of responsibility. Perhaps the most important of these positions is that of Division Manager.
The Lab recently has been broken down into four main Sections or Divisions of activity which follow general product lines. For example, there is a Frequency Measurements Division and an Oscilloscope Division, a Signal Generator Division and an Audio-Video-Voltmeter Division. A Division Manager has been placed in charge of each of these product groups. He is responsible for all engineering required by the products assigned to his Division. This responsibility includes not only the initial research and development required by new products, but also the final performance of these products in the field.
Al Bagley has been placed in charge of Division
One, which is -hp’s- line of frequency counters and related products. Al is fully qualified to fill this post since be has been active in the counter field since graduation from college. His undergraduate work was done at Cal Tech leading to the B.S. degree which was conferred in 1948. On an -hp- fellowship, he then attended Stanford and received the M.S. degree in 1949. Coming to the Company directly from Stanford, Al began working on high speed counters, being instrumental in the design and development of the Company’s entire line of counters. The 520, 521, 522, 523, and 524 are examples of his ability.
For the past two years Al has also directed the design of the 560 Printer which has been recently placed in production.
In addition to the long list of development projects already mentioned, Al holds several patents and has had articles published in many of the technical journals.
The product line of Division Two is oscilloscopes and oscilloscope accessories. Norm Schrock, who has been chosen to lead this group, has had tremendous experience in this field since he has served as Group Leader for the development of the -hp- oscilloscopes since the start of the project in 1954. Prior to that time he was active in the design and development of the 202A Low Frequency Function Generator, 335B FM Monitor, 460A and B Wide-Band Amplifiers, the 500A Frequency Meter, the 616A UHF Signal Generator and several waveguide items. He also has worked on several of the war-time -hp- projects including signal generators and radar countermeasures equipment.
A native Californian, Norm attended Santa Rosa Junior College and Stanford University. From Stanford he received the B.S. degree in 1942 and the M.S. in 1943.
Bruce Wholey-Division Three
Division Three is concerned with RF and microwave signal generators, noise meters and sources, and waveguide components.
Bruce Wholey is the Manager of this Department.
Bruce, native of Canada, completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Alberta in 1942. Upon receiving his M.S. degree from Stanford in 1943, he went to the Radio Research Laboratories at Harvard where he was project engineer for the development of signal generators in the range of from two to four mc/s. Bruce started with this Company in 1945, working on the development of a practical and versatile Standing Wave Indicator. The basic design of high sensitivity and stability in the unit (the 415) is such that it is still an advanced instrument in the field today. He has also worked as Project Engineer on the development of the 805 Parallel Plane Slotted Line, a 2-4 Kmc/s spectrum analyzer, and special receivers and sweep generators in the microwave region. During the past several years, Bruce has worked in an advisory capacity, serving all the engineers and projects in the Lab.
John Cage is the Manager
of Division Four. This is the Audio-Video-Voltmeter Department and is responsible for such products as oscillators, distortion measuring equipment, power supplies, magnetic amplifiers, and various types of voltmeters.
John came to -hp- in the summer of 1956 from Purdue University where he was head of the Electronics Department. During his short time with the Company, he has directed the research on high sensitivity and unusual forms of d-c voltmeters. Several new products are being developed from this research.
John has an impressive background in both industry and education. While at Purdue, he was actively engaged in a consulting practice, specializing in the field of instrument control, and engineering organization. He served also as General Manager of the Industrial Electronics Division of Raytheon and as a professor of Electrical Engineering at Colorado University.
Dave remembers, and jokingly adds, their entry into the oscilloscope business was a time they wish they could forget. The first oscilloscope was the HP 150 Series and Hewlett-Packard thought that they could take on Tektronix directly. Bill comments, "We came out with this fancy scope and the thing was just incredibly unreliable..." But of course Hewlett-Packard stood behind the scope, as they do all their equipment they build. Bill cites, "...we had to replace all of those scopes..."
As mentioned earlier, Dave remembers that it was Bill that first met Howard Vollum when Howard and Bill were both in the Signal Corps. Bill had told Dave about Howard and his development work. Howard had come to talk with Dave prior to Bill Hewlett's discharge from the Army. Howard presented to Dave an idea of how to make a scope with a triggered sweep. Up until that time the conventional laboratory oscilloscopes had a sine wave sweep or repetitive sweep and the triggered sweep was really an outgrowth of the radar business.
We have condensed a small sketch from In Winning With People: The First 40 Years of Tektronix by Marshall M. Lee, so you have some background on Tektronix.
Tektronix got it’s start when Howard Vollum and Jack Murdock signed the articles of incorporation on December 1945. The original name was Tekrad, which stood for ‘technical radio company’. The corporation obtained formal legal status January 2, 1945, and within two days another company with the name Techrad contested their right to use the name. This caused Howard and Jack to change the name to Tekard. The original place of business was in California. On February 2, 1946 the company’s name was changed to Tektronix, and has remained so ever since.
Tektronix’s first oscilloscope, the 511, began from surplus parts that were purchased and stored in Howard Vollum’s parents basement. This basement was used as a storage facility and workshop, and can be considered the ‘birthplace of Tektronix.’ Soon more space was needed and they moved out. The first prototype of the 511 was constructed by Howard Vollum with circuitry laid out on a piece of plywood. With this prototype, Howard strove to surpass any other oscilloscope that was on the market at that time!
Flashing back a bit earlier in history, we discover that both boys were talented. Howard Vollum, with the engineering interest, was to become the product designer. Jack Murdock who had an interest in business and sales, was to become the business brain when they eventually started Tektronix. In high school Jack was a member of the 'Sales Service Club', which was dedicated 'to further the interests of the members in practical salesmanship'. After high school, Jack Murdock was offered, by his father, the choice of going to college or having money to start a business. Jack opted for the money and started Murdock Radio and Appliance Company in southeast Portland, Oregon.
Howard Vollum actually built his first oscilloscope at Reed College in 1934. The scope weighed 35 pounds, and was a unique physical design with it’s CRT tube mounted within a brass tube that resided on a microphone stand! This oscilloscope was to remain in use at Reed College until the mid 1950’s. Howard Vollum graduated from Reed college in 1936, and since there were no Laboratories or high tech companies to interview with in the area took a series of radio repair jobs starting with one at Radio Specialties, which made equipment for the U.S. Forest Service. He moved on to the radio department of Sears Roebuck as a radio repairman. The two founders of Tektronix were to meet in the winter of 1936. Howard joined Jack at the Murdock Radio and Appliance Company as a radio repairman.
During this time at Murdock, Howard Vollum took care of all of Jack Murdock’s warranty and repair work on radios and appliances, Jack didn’t charge Howard any rent, as he felt having a repair facility in his building was helpful to his customers. It was during this time Jack and Howard discussed at some point undertaking a manufacturing effort together.
America became involved in World War II and Howard Vollum was drafted into the Army, where he was able to exercise his talents in the Army Signal Corps working with Radar design. During an assignment to the Evans Signal Laboratory in Belmar New Jersey, Howard was to meet Bill Hewlett, who was attached to the New Developments Division of the War Department Special Staff. Mortar locator radar was extremely complex, and the war came to an end before it was to be implemented.
Jack Murdock joined in the war effort in 1942. He closed his store and answered his county’s call to arms by joining the Coast Guard. While in the service, Jack made the acquaintance of many people that would latter become part of Tektronix.
The war efforts had allowed both Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard a chance to see some of the best engineers in action. Bill Hewlett had written Dave Packard according to the Tektronix legends, about Howard Vollum, but Dave didn’t find time to write back. It was not until after the war that Dave Packard and Howard Vollum were to finally meet. -Edward A. Sharpe
In the interview between Bill and Dave, we find that Dave and Howard spent some time talking about Howard joining Hewlett-Packard, but according to Dave Packard, they were not able to reach an agreement. Howard, along with Jack Murdock, wished to start up their own company. Dave gave him a good deal of help in the early days including introducing him to basically all of Hewlett-Packard’s representatives. Dave believes they made a decision that unknowingly turned out to make it very difficult for Hewlett-Packard to get into the oscilloscope business.
Howard Vollum’s company, Tektronix, grew, and Hewlett-Packard’s business grew, and it progressed to the point where Tektronix was a very large element of the sales for most of the sales representatives that both companies shared in common. Somewhere along the line Bill and Dave concluded that this arrangement was a problem with the reps. Hewlett-Packard finally decided that the only way they could, was to convince the reps they were going to have a scope to replace the Tektronix product.
Bill and Dave feel that they didn’t give themselves enough time and didn’t do a very good design job. Hewlett-Packard introduced their first oscilloscope, the model 150, and unfortunately it wasn’t a very successful product due to problems. Bill and Dave both felt that they should have gotten started in the oscilloscope business earlier.
Bill Hewlett cites, "I always looked upon that oscilloscope thing as, in a military sense,... never attack a fortified position unless you have to." Bill has always considered Tektronix as an extremely well run company with good technical capability.
Hewlett-Packard could not get above about 15% of that market no matter how much they tried. Bill says, "We never could get more than about 15% and Tektronix was always up there in number 1 place." Bill
page 36 37
|continues on, "I think it was kind of a good moral to remember that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence but..."
By the mid 1950's, Hewlett-Packard's development divisions were in four main sectors; the audio/video, the microwave equipment, the frequency counters, and the fourth area was oscilloscopes. Hewlett-Packard, in later years, would all break into divisions. This early dividing of research activities would be the genesis of the overall divisionalization of the company.
Exhibition of products at leading trade shows has always been an important HP marketing activity. One of the early-day booths at a Western Electronics Show and Convention is shown. Photo: Measure October/September 1964, 25th anniversary issue.
Dave Packard commented that, "...I think the divisional concept was again a very important matter..." Indeed it was, as Hewlett-Packard really had to have a close coupling between their marketing people, R&D people, and manufacturing people in each product area, which allowed them to move faster and be more competitive in the marketplace. Dave believed that the divisional concept decision was, "...also supported by the fact that a good deal of our competition was not across the board but was with companies that specialized..."
When competing with other companies in a specialized area of equipment manufacture, Hewlett-Packard had a division, or group, tailored to attack that narrow market sector. The sequence starts with the conception of the division in the laboratory first. As the division grew, it was combined with manufacturing and marketing functions as well.
There was a time when Bill and Dave wanted to segregate activities into smaller segments than a division would provide them. Bill remembers they wanted to manufacture and supervise their own quality control on transformers. They decided that they’d take the ten top people in the company at that time, and set up a company just to make transformers. This idea became a company was named PAECO, which stood for Palo Alto Engineering Company. Dave cites, "PAECO was a very effective program... It sort of spread the ownership on a broader basis..." Although the company was successful, problems arose. The flaw in the entire concept was that once the ten top people in the company were no longer the ten top people, there was a natural reluctance by them to share the pie with more people.
Bill comments, "... so that you didn’t have a mechanism to put new people in..." In order to get around this problem, and allow some of the other people an opportunity, they started another version of the PAECO concept called Dynac. Dynac, being a name for the new company, also stood for the words DYNamic ACcuracy. Due to trade name registration problems, this name was soon to be changed to Dymec. This new company solved a problem area in the manufacturing of "specials." For example, if someone wanted special products that were not on a production line Dymec would build specialized, low production products.
Bill and Dave had learned from their first mistake with PAECO, and devised a formula arrangement so that the degree of participation for company employees was flexible, and depending on where they were, the amount of participation in this could fluctuate. Both of these organizations did really quite well and it wasn’t until Hewlett-Packard finally sold stock publicly that these two companies were folded these back into Hewlett-Packard. Both Dymec and PAECO ceased to exist, in name at least, but the products and functions continued on. The people that had been stock holders in the two companies found themselves richer when they were reimbursed for their part of these two smaller companies! The author is not sure as to how this reimbursement took place, whether in stock or cash, or perhaps a combination of both.
Dymec, Dave remembers, offered incentive to employees they wanted to have join, one example was attracting Bob Rollins from Lockheed. Since Bob had a very good position at Lockheed he was not interested joining HP for just a salary, but equity participation was the factor that attracted him. Dymec made it possible for Bill and Dave to offer him some equity participation.
Aside: If Bill and Dave had been able to offer Vollum the same type of arrangement, perhaps Howard would have joined them. As you can determine, there are people that enjoy working for someone else, and there are people that want to ‘make a run for it’ as not just an employee, but as an owner or partial owner of the company! -Edward A. Sharpe
Dymec played another very important part in the history of Hewlett-Packard. Dymec was the start of their systems business, developing into the computer manufacturing business, that Hewlett-Packard currently enjoys. VINTAGE ELECTRICS will take up this later in a future issue.
Let's play the name game!
Every company has a reason for choosing the name it uses. In the case of Hewlett-Packard, it was named after the two people that started the company. Companies often bear the name of the activity of the type of business they conduct, such as Computer Exchange. Computer Exchange started out as exactly what it’s name implies, a place to exchange computers. Names such as this are useful, but can become a curse when the nature of the business changes. Problems arise when people call up and request a used XYZ processor, and you have to reply that you sell only new equipment.
The third type of company name is derived from a secret inside joke shared by the owners of the company. Other permutations of this can found when people are sitting around in a bar trying to think of a name for their new company and are somehow inspired by an object sitting in front of them. This occurred in the computer industry in the late 1970’s, with a CRT terminal manufacturer named SOROC. Upon critical examination of the company logo and by re-arranging the letters of the name, we see that the object of their concentration was a COORS beer can! SOROC is of course COORS re-arranged, and the logo is clearly the top of a ‘pop top’ beer can!
The forth type of name invention is to serve a pre-existing need. In this manner Bill and Dave were playing a name game of their own! Dave tells us, "I remember we started out with Dynac... it was Dynamic Accuracy, and that had been copyrighted so we had to try something else..." Due to trade mark conflicts, the name was to be later changed to Dymec.
Bill remembers that they wanted a company logo, that when rotated, would work for both organizations. Bill cites, "...we had the hp symbol like this and we wanted something that was dy..." That way, they could turn them around and have the two letters be the same logo for the two companies. Bill continues, "...we could use the same script..." Bill explains the reason for the dual purpose logo, "Dymec was in one building and HP in the other" this of course made it easy for Bill and Dave to manage both companies, since they were in close proximity. They had the logo in the middle of the floor so as someone came in one direction it would say hp and from the other direction it said dy. Bill says, "as I remember that was the real reason we chose that set of initials..."
The Dymec Logo was created to be the same as the HP logo, except that it was up-side-down! This was indeed a unique idea! Turn this picture around and lo-and-behold....
David Packard and Bill Hewlett as pictured in the October/September 1964 25th anniversary issue of Hewlett-Packard's Measure.
In closing this period of history.
Brought together at a Board of Directors meeting During the 1970's (from left to right) were Bill Hewlett, Dave Packard, and Fred Terman. Professor Terman is a Director Emeritus of Hewlett-Packard, and had a profound personal and professional influence on its founders as well as on the teaching and development of electronics in the Bay Area. Photo: courtesy, Hewlett-Packard Measure magazine - December, 1973.
Fred Terman Congratulates Bill and Dave.
In the 25th anniversary issue of Measure, Bill Terman congradulated Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard on their successful 25 years!
I don’t think many people realize how tough it was to start a business during and immediately after the depression. Investment capital was scarce and there was no ready-made government market for new ideas, as there is today. You really had to make a go of the business during the first year or close up shop. Since you couldn't afford to hire people, you also had to be versatile. You not only had to design your product, but fabricate it, package it, price it, sell it, keep the books, write the ads, and sweep up at the end of the day.
This versatility, to my way of thinking, was Bill and Dave’s greatest asset. Even in their days at Stanford, they showed the ability to work with their hands as well as their minds. Packard had a tradition throughout his youth of tinkering and building things. Hewlett, on the other hand, didn't really have this opportunity or inclination until he got into graduate work. Then he went at it with a vengeance, spending countless hours in the lab. I must say that at the outset he had more energy than finesse, but as time went on he developed info a first-rate designer. His audio oscillator, for example, represented a beautiful solution to a perplexing design problem.
I can remember after they had set up shop in Packard’s garage, going over occasionally to see how they were getting along. If Packard’s car was in the garage, it meant they had no orders. But if it was out on the street, they had some business and were hard at work soldering, wiring, painting-you name it. Dave’s wife, who had a full-time secretarial job at Stanford during the day, spent the evenings helping with the accounting and the correspondence. It was a real do-it-yourself operation, and it enabled the young company not only to turn a profit during that first critical year, but also to build a solid foundation for the future.
People have asked me, in view of HP’s immense success, whether Dave and Bill were born businessmen. I’d have to say no, but at the same time I’d point out that they had the knack-and still have it-of learning what they needed to know, of taking on a new job and tackling it with all kinds of determination and enthusiasm. This is contagious. It affects the people around them and is the true essence of leadership. -FET
page 38 & 39
1. Interview between Bill Hewlett and Dave Pave Packard, a 4 part interview that started on August 26, 1988.
2. MEASURE magazine from Hewlett-Packard. Aug-September 1973.
3. 'This is Hewlett-Packard' a special Issue of Watt's Current magazine from Hewlett-Packard, November 7, 1954.
4. 'Hewlett-Packard 1955-1957' A supplement to the anniversary issue of Watt's Current, from Hewlett-Packard.
5, Measure magazine from Hewlett-Packard issued on the 25th anniversary of HP, Volume #2, Number 9 September-Oct 1964.
6. Many brochures provided by Hewlett-Packard Public Relations Department.
7. David Packard's Memorial speech - January 4, 1983 - Stanford California.
8. Letter from F.E. Terman to C.V. Litton dated June 1, 1938. Frederick Terman Papers at the Department of Special Collections at Stanford University SC160, Series II, Box 4, Folder 16-The Wide Grid Tube.
9. General information from the Frederick Terman Papers at the Department of Special Collections at Stanford University SC160, Series II, Box 4, Folder 16-The Wide Grid Tube.
10. Letter from F.E. Terman to Professor J. Hugh Jackson dated April 27, 1939. Frederick Terman Papers at the Department of Special Collections at Stanford University SC160, Series II, Box 4, Folder 16 - The Wide Grid Tube.
11. William V. Stancil, President of Stancil Corporation. letter to Bill Hewlett, dated January 18, 1989.
We wish to thank the Hewlett-Packard Corporate Communications office and the Hewlett-Packard Archives for their help.
Thanks to Rose Motzko and Dave Smith at Disney Archives for providing background information on the early use of stereo sound systems in motion pictures.
Thanks to Larry Salisbury and Robert McGaughey for their letters regarding early 200 series oscillators.
Thanks to Sharon Custer for providing copies of letters to and from her father William Stancil, and permission to use material from them.
Thanks to everyone that contributed articles and journals relating to Hewlett-Packard, early sound movie work, and electronics countermeasures.
About Edward A. Sharpe
Edward A. Sharpe is founder and archivist of the Southwest Museum of Electricity and Communications, which is the fruit of his life-long interest in technology and its history. He is presently owner, president, and chief engineer of Computer Exchange, an independent dealer in and services of Hewlett-Packard computer hardware. He is a senior member of IEEE.