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6577Re: [midatlanticretro] Bill Hewlett @ Camp Evans

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  • Evan
    Nov 24, 2007
      Ugh ... it's the message I sent yesterday.

      -----Original Message-----

      From: "Evan Koblentz" <evan@...>
      Subj: [midatlanticretro] Bill Hewlett @ Camp Evans
      Date: Sat Nov 24, 2007 1:15 pm
      Size: 6K
      To: <midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com>

      As a follow-up to the story of Mauchly / ENIAC being connected to Camp Evans ... I hope to visit the Mauchly archives at U.Penn. again sometime in the next couple of months. But meanwhile, today I bought the recently released (May '07) book, "Bill & Dave: How Hewlett and Packard Built the World's Greatest Company" ... I'm a bit leery because it sounds rather biased from the subtitle, but the author is Michael Malone who is a widely respected technology journalist and historian, so I decided to give it a chance.
      Knowing what I already know about HP, I immediately jumped to the index. Sure enough, an entry for "Army Signal Corps", pages 90-91. Cool. I haven't yet read the previous 89 pages, but here are some excerpts frompages 90-91:

      "In September 1940, President Roosevelt reinstituted the draft and Dave Packard registered. Bill Hewlett was a different matter: thanks to ROTC at Stanford, he already held a commission in the Army Reserve ... in the spring of 1941 the call came. He was ordered to Washington to join Army Aviation Ordnance (munitions) being the engineering side of the army in those days. But even Hewlett, who like Packard was intensely patriotic, recognized that this was a waste of his talents, and that he could make a better contribution to the war effort: 'By the time I was pretty well established in electroncs and it didn't make much sense,'."

      "Dave Packard had a solution. A year before, when HP had just been starting, he and the company's new East Coast sales rep, David Burlingame, had called on the Army Signal Corps laboratories in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, in hopes of landing a contract. They hadn't succeeded, but dave had met a Colonel Colton, who ran the labs. So Packard made the call. Colton not only remembered him, but thanks to Burlingame's regular visits had been tracking HP's work. He quickly agreed that Hewlett would better serve his country from Palo Alto coming up with new instruments -- and prepared orders to transfer Hewlett under his command. From there he could be quickly designated as an 'essential employee' and sent home."

      "...Bill arrived at Monmouth in July, he wasn't released until September. ... Then came Pearl Harbor. Within weeks, Hewlett was called up again, this time as an officer with the Army Signal Corps. He would serve at that post for the duration of the war, only visiting Hewlett-Packard a couple of times ... He would not return for nearly five years."

      According to the footnotes, that section's primary source is a 1984 IEEE interview with Hewlett. Conveniently, our friends at the IEEE History Center have the whole interview as a .pdf on their web site: http://tinyurl.com/37fmnv.

      (The Army contactmentionedhere-- Colton -- is mentioned throughout the current InfoAge site. See here: http://tinyurl.com/2bjcoy. Also, the author's primary source for this part of the chapter is a 1984 IEEE interview with Hewlett. Conveniently, our friends at the IEEE History Center -- who are big InfoAge supporters -- have the interview online athttp://tinyurl.com/37fmnv.)

      So, I'm sending an email to the HP corporate archivist (Anna Mancini, who's been helpful to me before) to see if she has any other supporting documents about Bill Hewlett's time at our lab. :)
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