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Information Technology Pioneers

 Retirees and former employees of UNISYS, Lockheed Martin, and their Twin Cities heritage companies.
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  Home   Legacy   People   Engineering   Computers   Systems   Places   Contacts-Links    
  11. EMCC to UNISYS   12. Artifacts   13. Committee   14. Milestones   15. Documents   16. Mementos   17. Spinoffs   18. Who Is It   19. Exhibits    

1. ERA to LMCO & UNISYS, Our Legacy Introduction*

       A 70-year LEGACY of computer industry Information Technology (IT) developments and applications started with Engineering Research Associates (ERA) at 1902 Minnehaha Avenue in St. Paul, Minnesota. As illustrated in the icon at the left, this Information Age Legacy merged and diverged through the corporate ownerships of Remington Rand, UNIVAC, Sperry, UNISYS, PARAMAX, Loral, and Lockheed Martin. Unisys 'commercial' continues to operate today! The Twin Cities defense and commercial operations were loosely coupled until the mid 90s when UNISYS sold off their defense industry operations.

       Lockheed Martin MS2 in Eagan, Minnesota triggered the end of the defense industry part of our Legacy with their November 2010 announcement of a pending 2013 Eagan facility closure.

       During our Legacy, a few management and engineering personnel left to form other companies, most notable was the 1957 creation of Control Data Corporation (CDC) led by Bill Norris. 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 follow their careers outside of this ERA Legacy. Several threads weave their way through these corporate ownerships:

  • 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 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 line generations.
  • Availability of technology researchers and new graduates from the world-class Institute of Technology at the University of Minnesota (U of MN) and other Midwest colleges. The U of MN re-named their Institute of Technology the 'College of Science and Engineering' (CSE).

    Foremost throughout this Legacy are the people; most enjoying retirees' camaraderie, others still working at UNISYS, LMCO, and other high-tech companies in Minnesota and throughout the world.

Click scroll down to:

  1.  Legacy Introduction
        Sesquicentennial Poster
  2.  Sub-Tab Pages overview
  3.  Legacy Page Descriptions
  4.  Corporate Name History
  5.  Background - How our club got started on this 'history' project and our accomplishment milestones.

   Page/Chapter 10 updated 11/04/2016.

Introduction Continued:

     Thanks to the 300+ retirees, active employees, and customers who have contributed to our Legacy project documentation. Thanks to staffs of the Charles Babbage Institute (CBI) and the Lawshe Memorial Museum for their guidance and support as we have & 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 pages, software page, and peripheral page, 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 site where there are pdf files of many UNIVAC/Sperry/UNISYS documents among their 32,000 electronic items.

*With Board permission in August 2013; this Legacy page, Pg 10 and the Home, Pg 1 introduction were translated into the German Language, by Dieter Hoffmann.

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.
IT Legacy History Illustration

A report about our Sesquicentennial activities including a summary of the MN 2058 time capsule items is also available, click here. 

2. Legacy Sub-tab Page Overview

The 11. EMCC to UNISYS sub-tab has information about the corporate entities which have owned and influenced Twin Cities operations. The Milestones sub-tab lists many of the corporate milestones accomplished by the Twin Cities Information Technology Pioneers. The Spinoff sub-tab lists many of the companies formed by departing employees. The other sub-tabs - Committee, Documents, Artifacts, and Mementos reflect the work of the Legacy Committee. The Who is It tab has a random set of photos from past events - a work in progress page. |

3. Legacy Chapter/Page Descriptions

A corporation employed People who Engineered Computers and Systems in Locations locally and throughout the world, thus the Legacy file tab sequence.

People - Over 250 project experiences and career summaries from and about the people who have experienced parts of this Legacy.

Engineering - 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 subsections.

Computers - 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.

Systems - Aerospace, Airborne, Naval Tactical Data Systems, Air Traffic Control, Marine Systems, Air Force, ASOC, Government, and Commercial.

Places - Not only the Twin Cities, but facilities throughout the U.S. and a few overseas sites. Marketing Offices, Technical Services Division (TSD), Canada, etc.

Contacts and Links - Many web sites provide related information about our heritage. Links to a few other local sites are also provided.

4. Corporate Name History

Engineering Research Associates (ERA) came out of the second world war. Our six plus decade Legacy spans the world's Information Technology evolution since then, including many corporate ownership changes illustrated by this corporate time line chart.  UNIVersal Automatic Computer (UNIVAC) technologies became the heart of the information age as defense systems grew to counter the threat of communism.

UNited Information SYStems continues in the Twin Cities with commercial service centers in Roseville and Eagan - both report to the UNISYS corporate headquarters located in Blue Bell, PA.


Our systems are at work today helping to combat terrorism and keep your airline flights safe among other systems. [lab]


Thanks to John Skonnord for this defense 'logo' time chart at the right.

Thanks to Keith Behnke for this defense group ownership date table below. 


Ownership Corporation Twin Cities Company Name
January 1946 Engineering Research Associates  Engineering Research Associates 
May 1952 Remington Rand  Engineering Research Associates  
July 1955  Sperry Rand  Remington Rand, Engineering Research Associates Division  
October 1955 Sperry Rand  Remington Rand UNIVAC, Military Division 
January 1962 Sperry Rand  Remington Rand UNIVAC, Defense Systems Division 
January 1967 Sperry Rand  Sperry Rand UNIVAC, Federal Systems Division  
January 1973 Sperry Rand  Sperry UNIVAC, Defense Systems Division 
August 1979 Sperry  Sperry UNIVAC 
April 1983 Sperry  Sperry Computer Systems, Defense Systems Division 
November 1986  UNISYS  UNISYS Defense Systems, Computer Systems Div. 
January 1990 UNISYS  UNISYS Defense Systems, Electronic & Information Systems Group 
November 1991* UNISYS  PARAMAX Electronic & Information Systems Group  
December 1991 PARAMAX  PARAMAX Electronics Systems  
January 1994** UNISYS  UNISYS GSG, Electronics Systems  
May 1995***  LORAL  LORAL Defense Systems - Eagan 
April 1996**** Lockheed Martin Tactical Systems  Lockheed Martin Tactical Defense Systems  
June 1997 Lockheed Martin  Lockheed Martin Tactical Defense Systems, Eagan  
January 2000 Lockheed Martin  Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems, Eagan  
June 2000 Lockheed Martin   Naval Electronics & Surveillance Systems, Tactical Systems
August 2003 Lockheed Martin  Maritime Systems & Sensors (MS2), Tactical Systems, Eagan  
December 2012  Lockheed Martin  
September 2016 Leidos The Air Traffic Management Operations department will continue in the area.

* UNISYS separated its defense business and named it PARAMAX while contemplating doing a spinoff via an IPO, Wall Street wasn't impressed.
** The spin off concept projections didn't meet the financial objective so the PARAMAX 'entity' was terminated.
*** The defense business portion of UNISYS was sold to LORAL.
**** LORAL sold most of the defense business operations to Lockheed Martin

5. Legacy Project started and milestones:

December 2015 - We published a recap of our 10 years of activities as our website 'Article for the Month'.

August 2013 - The Dakota County Historical Society opened the initial artifact exhibit titled "ERA to Lockheed Martin - Minnesota's Computer Industry."

December 2012 - As the Lockheed Martin Eagan facility closed, we delivered hardware artifact collection and photo file cabinets to the Dakota County Historical Society Lawshe Museum. The committee also delivered cataloged documents to the Charles Babbage Institute.

March 2009 - The Cataloging team delivered over 40 cartons of documents to the Charles Babbage Institute.

January 2009 - The Sesquicentennial team placed a report, documents and other items into the State's bi-centennial time capsule. 

August 2008 - At the request of the Sesquicentennial Commission, our volunteer team set up our history exhibit at the MN State Fair and included a 1/2 day seminar for fair goers.

May 2008 - A Sesquicentennial team set up a history exhibit at the MN 150-year Capitol Grounds celebration.

March 2008 - Transfer of information to this site from Lowell's personal site has been completed. Ole retired from LMCO, John Westergren has taken his place as co-chair of the committee."

April, 2007 - The VIP Club Board of Directors authorized this web site to combine VIP Club outreach information with Legacy writings of both defense [LMCO] and commercial [UNISYS] operations history. [lab]
January, 2007 - The Legacy committee has coined the title "Information Technology Pioneering" as the lead in for the site and as potential title for the book that evolves from this Legacy initiative. All who contribute their bits and bytes to the documentation of our LEGACY initiative are indeed Information Technology Pioneers as were so many of our compatriots who have passed away. [lab]
Late in 2005 - Eagan based Lockheed Martin MS2 requested CLUB assistance in gathering artifacts and information for use in documenting the history and legacy of the St. Paul based defense systems organization which they'd acquired from Loral in the 1990's. When the VIP CLUB and LMCO Legacy committee members met at the Babbage Institute on January 12, 2006, Lowell Benson volunteered his personal web site as an initial place to gather and display information. [lab] 

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