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Information (IT) Technology Pioneers

Retirees and former employees of Unisys, Lockheed Martin, and their predecessor companies

In this Chapter

Monthly Articles

2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007.

Slide Shows

Books Listing

Magazine Articles

You may need to install a *.pdf reader to view these documents - click then follow directions to download and install their newest reader compatible with your operating system.

'Telling the Story'

   The articles for the month, slide shows, books, and magazine articles listed here relate bits or bytes of the ERA and heritage company activities and experiences.  The Legacy Committee welcomes your stories which mention computer based systems developed by ERA, UNIVAC, ..., especially those with Twin Cities content.  When you write it, we will format and post it in the chapter of most relevance. 
Please note: The bit-savers web site ( has over 32,000 documents including technical manuals, photos, and documents from some ERA/UNIVAC/Sperry/Unisys equipment. We have copied some for searching ease linked herein from various computer chapters.

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Please use your browser's "Ctrl F" find function.  To search the entire site, the Legacy Anthology chapter has a focused Google search box.

Articles for the Month

  • Articles are listed by the year and month below; numbering started at 100 to avoid duplication of anthology chapter indexing, e.g. 2021 No. 275, January is the 175th monthly article posted since April 2007.  Most of the articles are Wikipedia like in that they have embedded links to supplemental information.
  • Some articles that have a human interest scenario may also be used in our newsletter, e. g. 2020 #266, April: VIPS Adventure by Gish Devlaminck is also in the 2020 May/June news,
  • For a 'Reader's Digest' version of the articles through 2015, peruse Recapping a Decade, No. 216, December of 2015.

















Magazine Articles

Slide Shows


Each of the following books mentions ERA or UNIVAC or Remington Rand or Sperry or Unisys while discussing computer history aspects. Many of these are available at the Charles Babbage Institute on the U of MN campus and a few are at the Lawshe Memorial Museum reading room.

Year Title Author Publisher Notes
1950 High Speed Computing Devices Engineering Research Associates, Inc. McGraw-Hill 1983 Reprint Series for the History of Computing by Tomash Publishers. A digital version is available from the Bit Saver's web site, linked from our backup convenience folder.
1959 UNIVAC Products - St Paul A Handbook of Major Products Designed, Developed, and Manufactured at ST. PAUL 16, MINNESOTA 1947 to 1959 Product Planning Division Remington Rand Univac
December 31, 1959
Don Weidenbach donated his copy of this book to the Legacy Committee. The Committee subsequently donated the book to the Charles Babbage Institute. A committee member scanned the book's pages and used character recognition software to create a docx file and a pdf file on a disc which is donated to the Lawshe Memorial Museum. Lowell updated the original doc file by fixing the character recognition errors and eliminating white space of pages between sections. Curt Christensen's copy is at the Lawshe Memorial Museum. The pdf version is linked here
1960  A History of Sperry Rand Corporation  Staff Sperry Rand Publications Department
1964 Case Study of the Development of the Naval Tactical Data Systems R. W. Graf, Research Associate United Research Inc., Cambridge, MA A reference copy of this document is saved on our URL for researchers.
Monterey CA
NPS-36J076091, Thanks to George Grey for the pdf file.
1979 From Dits to Bits Herman Lukoff Robotics Press  This has early computer development from a Blue Bell employee perspective.  
1979Land of the Giants, A History of Minnesota BusinessDon W. Larson Dorn Books
7101 York Ave. S
Seven pages scanned for their ERA and CDC origination history  - Chapter 11, The Computer Age
1986 Engineering Research Associates, The Wellspring of Minnesota's Computer Industry  Communications Department, St. Paul Minnesota Sperry Booklet created in commemoration of ERA's 40th anniversary. A scanned electronic copy was provided by Michael Lins, January 6, 2016. Mike's father, Ray Lins, worked in plant 1 and his uncle Stan Lins worked in plant 8.
1987  A Few Good Men from UNIVAC David E. Lundstrom MIT Press; Cambridge, MA 1997 re-print by Replica Books; Bridgewater, NJ - Mr. Lundstrom was a UNIVAC employee then a Control Data Employee.
1987 When Computers Went to Sea - The Digitization of the United States Navy Capt. David L. Boslaugh IEEE Press Order #BP00024 Chapter 2 of this book is on line at 
1990 History and Evolution of 1100/2200 Mainframe Technology Richard J. Petschauer Copyrightę 1990 Unisys Corporation Printed in U S America This paper was prepared in recognition of the 35th anniversary of USE inc. and was presented at the Fall 1990 Conference in Seattle, Washington.
1996 Computer: A History of the Information Machine Martin Cambell-Kelly and William Aspray Basic Books  
1999 Magnetic Recording - the First 100 Years Eric d. Daniel, C. Denis Mee, & Mark H. Clark IEEE 3 Park Avenue, Ny NY 10016-5997 ISBN 0-7803-4709-9  - Chapter 16 Data Storage on Drums cites the work of Dr. Sidney M. Rubens
2002? "It Wasn't all Magic: The Early Struggle to Automate Cryptanalysis 1930s- 1960s" Colin Burke, Center for Cryptology History, National Security Agency, 2002. Includes the history of Engineering Research Associates, and some history on CDC, IBM, NCR, Raytheon, and Remington-Rand.  
2005 Computers and Commerce: A study of Technology and Management at Eckert Mauchly Computer Company, Engineering Research Associates, and Remington Rand, 1946-1957 Dr. A. L. Norberg, Retired CBI Director MIT Press  Dr. Norberg was the original director of the Charles Babbage Institute at the U of MN, also an initial advisor of the Club's advisory committee.
2008 A History of the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering 1888-2008 Edited by James R. Leger University of Minnesota, Minneapolis Pages 182 through 189 discuss ERA and computer pioneering.
2008  Unisys Computers: An Introductory History. George T. Gray and Ronald Q. Smith The companies that are encompassed within Unisys were among the pioneers in the field. They rank just behind IBM in the impact they had in the early years of the computer industry. Unisys was formed in 1986 by the merger of Burroughs and Sperry, two companies that had themselves grown through acquisitions and mergers. The first two U.S. companies to build a computer, Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation and Engineering Research Associates, were both acquired by Remington Rand Corporation (in 1950 and 1951) which, in turn, merged with Sperry in 1956 to become Sperry Rand Corporation.
2008 The Secret in Building 26, The untold story of America's ultra war against the u-boat enigma codes Jim DeBrosse and Colin Burke  This book relates the WWII activities of William 'Bill' Norris, Ralph Meader, and Howard Engstrom who were three of the four founders of ERA.
2009 "The Cello Maker" and other stories of the working man.  David P. Anderson Chandelle Press, second edition The sixteenth short story in this book is "The Invention of Voice Mail", our July 2007 Article for the Month.  This article mentions 'word spotting' for an agency. Not mentioned therein is that Lowell Benson's non-English speach skills were used as examples of spotting much more than just American words.
2013 Digital State, The Story of Minnesota's Computer Industry Dr. Tom Misa University of Minnesota  Press Drawing on rare archival documents, photographs, and a wealth of oral histories, Digital State unveils the remarkable story of computer development in the heartland after World War II. These decades found corporations—concentrated in large part in Minnesota—designing state-of-the-art mainframe technologies, revolutionizing new methods of magnetic data storage, and, for the first time, truly integrating software and hardware into valuable products for the American government and public. Minnesota-based companies such as Engineering Research Associates, Univac, Control Data, Cray Research, Honeywell, and IBM Rochester were major international players and together formed an unrivaled epicenter advancing digital technologies. These companies not only brought vibrant economic growth to Minnesota, they nurtured the state’s present-day medical device and software industries and possibly even tomorrow’s nanotechnology.
2014 Generation of Wealth, The rise of Control Data and how it inspired an era of innovation and investment in the Upper Midwest Donald M. Hall Nodin Press
5114 Cedar Lake Road, Minneapolis MN  55416
The TIMELINE before the Contents page begins with 1945, World War II ends; 1946, Engineering Research Associates (ERA) formed; ...; and ends with 2009, Medtronic and St. Jude are industry leaders.   In between these dates; the author blends innovative people, company histories, stock prices, and personal research into a fascinating, factual story of Control Data Corporation and the spin off of Cray et al' plus the evolution of the Medical Technology industry in Minnesota.
LABenson reviewed Don's draft to assure correctness of the ERA Legacy information.
2016 A History of the Computer Industry: From Relay Computers to the IBM PC Stephen Lindfors
paperback via The book is a short history of the computer industry, starting with relay computers and ending with the IBM PC, introduced in 1981. The book includes two chapters about important people in the industry, plus a glossary, a bibliography, an index and footnotes.
BTW, LABenson reviewed the draft in 2013 for accuracy relative to ERA Legacy information.
2017 Making it work: A History of the Computer Services Industry Jeffrey R. Yost MIT Press Editing by William Asprey and Thomas J. Misa. "The computer consulting sector was the origin of the computer services indstry, and Arthur Andersen and Company's Administrative Servies Division was probably the first computer consulting enterprise." "This book analyzes the complex, rapidly evolving, and highly influential computer/IT services industry trough a series of company case studies." UNIVAC/Unisys is not a chapter of this book, however are mentioned at several places.  Intrestingly, the book shows the transition into 'Cloud' based services by several firms. [lab]
??? Achieving Accuracy: A Legacy of Computers and Missiles Marshall McMurran There are references to many Univac computers including 1824, ADD 1000, Athena, Nike-X CLC,Target Intercept Computer (GPDC), NTDS, etc.