RE: [midatlanticretro] Read me :)
- Thanks, I might check that out.
Subj: RE: [midatlanticretro] Read me :)
Date: Sun Apr 13, 2008 12:10 pm
To: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>
You may consider doing an oral history effort.
Whereas I don't know what he's doing now, I worked for a man in
the early eighties at Tracor in Southern Maryland who was a Navy
yeoman worked on the ENIAC project for Grace Hooper. His name
was Bouchillion and he's probably still down in Calvert or
St. Mary's Cty if he did not move back to Louisiana.
On Sat, 12 Apr 2008, Evan Koblentz wrote:
> >>> suspected connection between Camp Evans and Mauchly / ENIAC in the early
> An update on that research...
> I had some time this weekend to contact the historian's office at Fort
> Monmouth, and also the archives department of the U. of Penn. ... in both
> cases they seemed eager to help ... not that I had any doubts they would, as
> the Penn folks previously helped me with my own computer history research,
> and the Fort Monmouth historian has been very good to InfoAge itself.
> One of the Penn archivists wrote to me:
> >>> was able to find a reference to research performed at the Signal Corps
> Radar Laboratory in the microfilmed exhibits for the ENIAC trial collection.
> I have attached scans of the two pages.
> She's referring to (I'm 99% sure) the patent lawsuit in which Honeywell sued
> Sperry regarding the ENIAC patent. (The original Eckert-Mauchly Computer
> Company was acquired by Remington Rand, which was acquired by Sperry.) That
> was the famous case in which Honeywell put Atanasoff on the stand, and he
> claimed that Mauchly stole key ideas from him, pre-ENIAC. Mauchly's defense
> on behalf of Sperry was that he already had the ideas, and that whatever he
> saw from Atanasoff had no real impact on the development of ENIAC.
> Anyway, the attachments she sent me are two (of two) pages from a single
> document. It's labeled "Defendant's Trial Exhibit #449". (Therefore they
> were exhibit(s) used by Sperry/Mauchly in their defense.)
> The first page is dated April 4, 1942; it's a memo from "T.R. MacDougall,
> Signal Corps Radar Laboratory, Camp Evans, Belmar, New Jersey" -- it's typed
> on Camp Evans letterhead -- and MacDougall is cited as "Captain, Signal
> Corps Contracting Officer". It's addressed to "All contractors". It
> >>> Patent applications may not be filed on developments under classified
> government contracts unless the following conditions are fulfilled...<<<
> The $60,000 question is: how would this document have been relevant to
> Sperry/Mauchly's defense against claims from Honeywell/Atanasoff regarding
> prior art?
> I don't know the answer. That's going to require a lot more research, and
> I'm told that these documents are all located in (accessible to the public)
> federal archives in and around D.C. ... I knew Fred has been to those
> archives for other research, so he should be able to tell me how to go about
> that. I'm ready to go!
> My initial theory is that Sperry/Mauchly argued, "Of course we didn't file
> sooner for a patent; we weren't allowed to because of Army rules," OR maybe
> they argued, "Any other patents from Honeywell/Atanasoff are invalid because
> they BROKE those rules" -- like I said this will take some more research.
> Regardless, what we REALLY need to figure out is WHY there were any aspects
> of Camp Evans related to ENIAC patents in the first place. After all, it's
> common knowledge that Mauchly/Eckert wrote their proposal and obtained their
> funding via the Army's Ballistics Research Laboratory ... was there some
> secret funding and/or involvement from the Signal Corps research lab,
> specifically from Camp Evans!? (It is very possibly. We already know, for
> a fact, that Camp Evans helped fund Bell Labs' transistor research -- Camp
> Evans' investments were far and wide. Circumstantially, I wonder, "There
> MUST have been AT LEAST a financial connection, if not a technical
> connection, or why else would Mauchly/Eckert have had to obey Camp Evans'
> patent rules?)
> That is something to ponder!!
> The third attachment sent to me by the Penn folks is another federal
> archives citation, but without showing the citation's content. Part of the
> citation mentions:
> >>> Records of the Evans Signal Laboratory, including technical memorandums
> and reports, 1942-46; research and development project records, 1942-51; and
> decimal files, 1940-45.
> I have no clue what they mean by "decimal files" but the first two-third of
> that citation look VERY interesting. I'm going to ask Fred if these are
> records that he has already viewed. I assume that if he already saw these,
> then certainly he'd have recognized if there were ENIAC references,
> especially since he works in the IT industry. On the other hand -- duh! --
> it wouldn't have been called ENIAC in those records; it was only called
> "Project PX" in the early 1940s by military people. I feel just like
> Indiana Jones in "The Last Crusade" when he realized that Jehovah isn't
> spelled with a "J" in Latin. :)
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Evan [mailto:evan@...]
> Sent: Friday, March 28, 2008 2:01 AM
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: [midatlanticretro] Read me :)
> Tonight I re-read that article about the Army Signal Corps, mentioned a
> night or two ago ... I wanted to make sure that I fully understood it.
> Here is the bottom line:
> 1. The biggest reasons why modern computers can share data is because of
> standards and compatibility. 2. One of the first -- if not the very first --
> serious research projects in computer data-sharing was called "Fieldata",
> performed by the Army Signal Corps from 1955-1962. 3. The home of Fieldata
> was Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. 4. Various labs of Fort Monmouth worked on
> various Fieldata tasks, but the major computing research happened at the
> Evans Signal Lab. 5. Therefore, Camp Evans -- a.k.a. the modern InfoAge
> Science Center, where the MARCH museum is based -- is a VERY important but
> thus far unheralded location in the history of modern computing!!!
> We all know about Camp Evans' role in the history of RADAR and space
> communications. From now on, I'm going to URGE everyone at InfoAge
> (especially those who work on marketing and fundraising) to emphasize the
> museum's history in computers on the same plane as they already emphasize
> for RADAR, etc. (and this is all in addition to the suspected connection
> between Camp Evans and Mauchly / ENIAC in the early 1940s).
> I'm going to sleep now, but it will be tough ... I'm too darn excited.
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