Our Legacy Chapters
| EMCC=>UNISYS |
Burroughs, etc. |
Milestones | Spinoffs
| Artifacts | Mementos
| Anecdotes |
Legacy theme consists of People
Engineering Systems and Computers
at Locations in the Minnesota Twin Cities environs
and throughout the world.
These chapters are an on-going web site anthology, now a decade
long innovative approach to document and publicize our Information Technology
(IT) industry pioneering
history. Our Stories and Exhibit Sites chapters complement and supplement
the Legacy theme of the site. In addition to the buttons at the left,
the chapter select links immediatly above have topical details.
"In late 2005, Lockheed Martin Corporate, motivated by the
realization that their current company was created from over 20 predecessors,
asked their various operating units to “capture their legacy”
without a real concept of what was to follow. In Eagan Minnesota,
Ole (Dick) Olson was tasked to respond; he formed an ad hoc group of
volunteers and contacted the VIP Club Board.
The group quickly realized that the history of Engineering Research
Associates (ERA), continuing to the present, was a remarkable story
of technological innovation and contribution to the computer industry
in general and to Minnesota in particular. This story, particularly
the early years, has never really been completely told; e. g. the ATHENA
computer launching over 300 missiles at the beginning of the space age
- with never an abort caused by the computer system!
To be sure, there are some accounts written from the business
history perspective, from various customer and user perspectives, and
partial documentation in many places. However; we are unaware
of any account, which properly gives credit to the ingenuity, vision,
and hard work of ERA and its successor company employees, and their
contributions to Minnesota and the world. The legacy committee
feels that it would be a terrible loss not to capture the full history,
thus inspiring our efforts to determine just what can be accomplished.
There is a bit of urgency, as the memories and materials relating to
the ERA beginnings are disappearing rapidly. Our pioneers are
dying, successor corporations are shredding records, and memories are
fading." By Harvey Taipale - November
A Google Search Box is provided for your use in searching this site
with over 60 Legacy chapters.
Foremost throughout this Legacy are the people;
most now enjoying retirees' camaraderie; others still working at
UNISYS, LMCO, and other high-tech companies in Minnesota and throughout
the world; and so many who have passed away.
During our Legacy, a few management and engineering personnel left
to form other companies (spin offs), most notable was the 1957 creation
of Control Data Corporation (CDC) led by Bill Norris, et al'.
Seymour Cray joined him, then later left CDC to establish the the super
computer company "Cray". This site mentions those computer
industry pioneers but does not detail their careers outside of this
ERA Legacy. Several threads weave their way through these corporate
- People Performing in
Partnership with customers to solve complex system
information and control problems!
- A resilient cadre of management and engineering personnel, some
with military training/experiences, applied to understanding the
problems facing government and business customers.
- Systems for processing of real-time signals and data from radar,
sonar, satellites, and other sensor sources to provide users with
operational information and action options.
- Computer Instruction Set
Architectures (ISA) normalized over several product
- Availability of technology researchers and new graduates from
the world-class Institute of Technology [now the College of Science
and Engineering' (CSE)] at the University of
Minnesota (U of MN) and other
At the October 2005 VIP Club board meeting the committee began, Ole
representing LMCO and Lowell representing the Club volunteered to be
co-chairs. Dick Lundgren immediately volunteered to support the
committee. Then Dick made arrangements for us to meet with Dr.
Norberg at the Charles Babbage Institute. Dr. Norberg told us
that we should do oral interviews and that if we could get 200 mini-bios
from people we would have told 'the Story'. Ole said that he would
solicit product/systems development stories and mini-bios. Lowell
started a web site in March 2006 to make the stories and mini-bios public,
merged with the VIP Club site in March 2007. Dick Lundgren said
that he would help write and edit stories.
The Legacy Committee and project set three priority objectives:
- to capture whatever remaining material and information
- to catalog and archive all the material collected, and
- to publish/publicize our history and heritage in a way
that interests others within our industry and our fellow Minnesotans.
Our Committee volunteers have given countless hours over the
decade: Lowell Benson
- Engineering Manager; Bill Bergen - Systems Engineer; Larry Bolton
- Component Engineer; Anil Deodhar - Systems Engineer; Millie Gignac
- Human Resources; Bernie Jansen - Engineering Manager; Dick Lundgren
- Instructor/Writer; Tom Montgomery, Systems Engineer; Keith Myhre -
Systems Engineer & Marketing Manager; Tricia Myhre - Systems Programmer;
Les Nelson - Systems Engineer; Bob Pagac - Program Manager; Dan Rogers
- Systems Trainer Director; Jon Simon - Systems Engineer; Ron Q. Smith,
UNISYS Fellow; Mike Svendsen - Procurement and Semiconductor Development;
Harvey Taipale - Engineering Manager; Tom Turba - Engineering Manager;
Earl Vraa - Engineering Manager; Don Weidenbach, Engineer & Manager; and John Westergren, Program Manager.
We've had steadfast archiving support and guidance from first Dr.
Norberg then for over a decade from Dr. Thomas Misa and the staff at
the Charles Babbage Institute at the University of Minnesota.
Appropriately, the CBI Director holds the Engineering Research
Associates Land Grant Chair position endowed by private donations.
Sadly, several of our contributors/pioneers have passed away during
our Legacy initiative: Warren Becker, Warren Burrell, Quint Heckert, Bill Klingner,
Jim 'Rapp' Rapinac, Marc Shoquist, Harry Weis, Paul Welshinger, ...
Legacy Anthology Chapters by Retirees, et
Our corporations employed People who Engineered
Systems and Computers in Locations
locally and throughout the world, thus the Legacy chapter titles,
structure, and theme of this web site.
- Over 250 project experiences and career summaries from and or
about the people who have experienced parts of this Legacy.
- Our designs transition all electronic generations; vacuum tubes,
transistors, integrated circuits, micro-processors, application
specific integrated circuits, etc. We've included Software, Field
Service/Training, Antenna Couplers, Patents, Peripherals, and Interfacing
chapters or subsections.
-Aerospace, Airborne, Naval Tactical Data Systems, Air Traffic Control,
Marine Systems, Air Force, ASOC, Government, and Commercial since
the File Computer in the 50s.
- The world's first stored-program cryptography computer shipped
to a customer in October 1950, Aerospace computers, Navy shipboard
computers, airborne search computers, ..., embedded micro-processors.
- Not only the Twin Cities of Minnesota, but facilities throughout
the U.S. and a few overseas sites. Marketing Offices, Technical
Services Division (TSD), Canada, etc.
- Our Stories - Since April 2007
we have been soliciting, editing, and posting stories as the 'Article
for the Month'. Some are technology tidbits, some are committee
status summaries, a few are duplication of other publications used
with permission, and some developed in response to questions posed
by people who have browsed our site pages/chapters.
- Exhibits - In January 2013 the Dakota
County Historical Society's Lawshe Memorial Museum became the repository
and displayer of artifacts collected by the committee since 2006.
This chapter also provides information about other displays of UNIVAC/Sperry/UNISYS/
equipments at museums throughout the United States.
- Contacts and Links -
Many web sites provide related information about our heritage.
Links to a few other local sites are also provided. as well as a
few 'educational' sites for youth who want to have Science, Technology,
Engineering, and Mathematics careers.
No, we have not created a Blog nor Facebook nor Tweet nor Wiki-pedia
approach because we want to assure accuracy of information and identification
of the source of information. BUT, we do welcome reader inputs.
Legacy Project Sucesses
This poster was created for the 2008 Minnesota Sesquicentennial celebrations.
Quint Heckert, created the poster layout for our volunteer exhibit team
- printing & electronic file by LMCO.
Click here for
a print resolution copy.
A report about our Sesquicentennial activities including a summary of
the Minnesota 2058 time capsule items is also available,
Thanks to the 300+ retirees, active employees,
customers, and former equipment users who have contributed to our Legacy
project anthology. Thanks to staffs of the Charles Babbage Institute
(CBI) and the Lawshe Memorial Museum for their guidance and support
as we have and are sorting and cataloguing hundreds of 3-D artifacts
and thousands of 2-D papers and photographs. Among our artifacts are
several hundred 'Code Cards'
which have been donated to CBI with some copies at the Lawshe Memorial
Museum. PDF copy links to these code cards are on our computer
software chapter, peripherals chapter, etc.
We appreciate the efforts of the
Computer History Museum,
located at 1401 N. Shoreline Blvd Mountain View, CA 94043. They have
a number of artifacts from Univac including a 642B computer as part
of their NTDS exhibit. They also facilitate the
http://bitsavers.trailing-edge.com/ site where there are pdf files
of many UNIVAC/Sperry/UNISYS documents among their 32,000 electronic
A special thanks to Dr. Tom Misa - Director, Charles Babbage Institute
at the University of Minnesota - Since 2007, Tom has been an advisor
to our Legacy committee giving valuable advice on what to preserve and
how to do some of that preservation. He developed a book, The Digital
State, incorporating some of our committee findings and references some
of our web pages in his Technology History Class lectures.