| Blue Bell
| Burroughs, etc.
Burroughs, etc. Chapter
1. Introduction, Burroughs bought Sperry to
This Legacy chapter is a place holder for stories that don't
easly fit within other anthology sections of his web site. [Genealogy diagram by
retired UNISYS Fellow Ron Q. Smith.]
Part of the VIP Club history/legacy/heritage is traced to Burroughs which purchased Sperry in 1986 to form UNited
Information SYStems. Marketing and Field Service functions for all Burroughs products continued in the Twin Cities from the
early 50s until
the 80s. Then their support was combined in a new building at 3199 Pilot Knob Road in Eagan, across the parking
lot from the Sperry Defense operations which became a part of Lockheed Martin MS2.
A small group of former Burroughs employees meet for lunch monthly at the
Mall of America.
Pilot Knob facility is referred to as the 'MACS' building in VIP Club literature as we have
had volunteers serving at Blood
Mobile drives there and now using their visitor's conference room for board meetings
and a few programs. Plus, the UNISYS Roseville are being merged therein during
We are seeking volunteers to expand these parts of our Twin Cities history.
This section is a placeholder for information about RCA before their computer line was acquired
from an undated paper "A brief History of Sperry Corporation". Sperry
is historically linked to many of the major business machine advances of the
past hundred years as well as to the invention of the world's first electronic
computer in 1946.
The Sperry story begins in 1873 with the
introduction of the first commercial typewriter by E. Remington & Sons of Ilion
N.Y. After a half century of business operation, E. Remington & Sons was
merged with several other business machine makers to form a new company in 1927
- Remington Rand, Inc. During the next two decades, Remington Rand earned an
enviable reputation as a developer of financial record and filing systems and a
manufacturer of typewriters, mechanical calculators and punched card systems.
But the acquisition of two small companies in 1950 and 1952 would form the
nucleus of an entirely new kind of business which continues to be reflected in
the organization today.
In 1950, Remington Rand purchased the
Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation of Philadelphia, PA. A few years
earlier, while affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania, J. Presper Eckert
and John Mauchly had designed and assembled ENIAC (Electronic Numerical
Integrator and Calculator.) This huge electronic computer, the first of its kind
in the world, was built to solve ballistics problems for the U.S. Army and was
hundreds of times faster than any of its mechanical counterparts. The
success of ENIAC prompted Eckert and Mauchly to form their own computer company
in 1947. In 1949, they completed BINAC (Binary Automatic Computer) for the
Northrop Corporation in California. Another computer which they called
UNIVAC (Universal Automatic Computer) was only partially completed when the
Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation was acquired by Remington Rand in 1950.
the first model of the UNIVAC I Series was delivered to the United States Bureau
of the Census in 1951.
In 1952, Remington Rand purchased
Engineering Research Associates (ERA) of St. Paul, Minn. ERA had been
organized in 1946 by a group of World War II mathematicians and engineers who
had developed considerable expertise in electronic cryptography and special
purpose military electronic systems. In 1950, ERA delivered two electronic
computers to the United States Navy and Tahoma Institute of Technology.
After ERA was acquired by Remington Rand, each of the computer models in this
initial series was identified as a UNIVAC 1101.
In 1955, Remington Rand merged with the
Sperry Corporation, forming Sperry Rand. The Sperry Corporation had been
founded in 1910 by Elmer A. Sperry, a prolific inventor and applied scientist.
Then called the Sperry Gyroscope Company, the firm engineered navigational
gyrocompasses for maritime applications and aircraft direction finding and
stabilization equipment including the automatic pilot. Sperry was
incorporated in 1933, and had acquired Vickers Incorporated, manufacturer of
efficient, low-cost devices for powering hydraulic control systems, in 1937, and
the New Holland Machine Company, producer of agricultural equipment, in 1947.
Operating as Sperry Rand, the company established the Sperry Phoenix Division,
manufacturer of flight systems equipment, in 1957, and separated the computer
operations from the Remington office products division, forming the Univac
Division in 1962.
The 1969s and 70s were decades of
organizational stability and business growth in Sperry's key markets. The
company expanded its international operations through formation of joint
ventures in Scandinavia and Japan an establishment of engineering and
manufacturing sites in Canada, Belgium Germany, France, Scotland and England.
In 1979, with the planned divestment of Sperry's electric shaver and office
products operations, Sperry Rand Corporation changed its name to Sperry
Corporation to streamline the corporate identity. The 1984 divestment of
Sperry Vickers further focused the corporate mission on designing and producing
high technology, electronic-based systems and products for commercial business,
government, defense, aerospace and maritime markets.
Today, Sperry, with corporate headquarters
in New York City, is composed of five operating groups:
- Information Systems Group (40,000 employees)
headquartered in Blue Bell, Pa., a leading manufacturer of commercial
computer systems, peripheral equipment, software and services.
- Defense Products Group (14,000 employees) headquartered
in Eagan, Minn., a leader in real-time, high technology militarized
information processing and support systems and products.
- Aerospace and Marine Group (9,000 employees) headquarter
in Phoenix, Az., a leading manufacturer of systems and instrumentation for
commercial, defense and general aviation and maritime markets.
- Systems Management Group (5,000 employees) headquartered
in Great Neck, N.Y., a leading prime contractor to domestic and
international government markets specializing in electronic-based systems.
- Sperry New Holland (5,000 employees) headquartered in New
Holland, Pa., the world's largest manufacturer of specialized agricultural
Since the 1952 acquisition of ERA,
the company's operations in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota have been steadily
expanded. Today, Sperry's employment in Minnesota numbers 14,000, ranking
the company as the State's fourth largest industrial employer.
The Defense Products Group is headquartered in
Eagan, Minn., and operates 12 divisional facilities in the St. Paul area.
Information Systems Group's System Products Division designs and manufactures
large-scale computers and components at facilities in suburban Roseville,
Brooklyn Park, and Eagan, and in outstate Jackson, Minn. A regional
Information Systems Group asset reclamation center is located in Mendota
Heights, as is the Systems Management Group's air traffic control operations.
Eagan is also the site of regional operations for Sperry New Holland.
[re-typed by LABenson]