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Digital Corporate History

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  A Bit of DEC History - compiled from Wikipedia and other internet sources - Sept 2016, Jack Mileski


March 2016:  Denzil Doyle, DEC Canada (1963-1981) writes:
Here is a note I wrote years ago that I think DEC Connection readers would find interesting. It is about the first minicomputer sold. It was a PDP-5. The customer was a nuclear reactor laboratory in Canada.

Link to Denzil Doyle's note here.


First, here is a link to a short history of Ken Olsen and Digital posted by the American National Business Hall of Fame.

Here's a link to some short promotional films produced by Steve Kallis for Digital Public Relations.  These are mostly 5-minute features about scientific applications of PDP-8s and PDP-12s.

Some related history - the latest on The Computer Museum, started in Digital/Marlborough, then Boston, now in CA and in cyberspace, provided by Gordon Bell, Feb. 2015.

Left: Here is a treat - sent in by Michael Bujnowski - front page from a Digital newsletter called On Line from 1970 featuring the introduction of the PDP-11 series. 

Click on link for large-sized pdf. Thanks Michael!

(larger image on Products page)

Right: A "Blast from the Past" sent in by Zul Abbany

Front Panel of PDP11/20


DEC early board from left to right: Harry Hoagland, Jack Barnard, Jay Forrester, Bill Congleton, Harlan Anderson, Ken Olsen, Dorothy Rowe, Vernon Alden, Arnaud de Vitry, and Wayne Brobeck.
Digital Equipment Corporation co-founder, Harlan E. Anderson, has written his autobiography which was released in November 2009.  The title is "Learn, Earn, and Return:  My Life as a Computer Pioneer. "

Most recent is a research paper by Digital employee Dave Goodwin of Digital U.K. about why Digital failed.  To download right-click on this link.

Here are links to two Culture documents developed in the 1980s by Reesa Abrams:

1/12: Also on culture - Rob Dandrade sent in a document about "Leadership and Follower-ship" authored by John Fischer.

2012: Blog by Skip Walter: The Making of Enterprise Software ALL-IN-1 http://skipwalter.net/2012/01/13/the-making-of-enterprise-software-all-in-1/

9/10: Thanks to Lorna Oinonen for sending in this great ad from 1959, from the Maynard town website:

12/08: Special thanks to Greg Sorensen for providing a scanned copy of a fantastic historical document - a History of Digital Equipment Corporation: 1957 to the Present (1978).  This is a 13MB .pdf file so download it to your computer rather than trying to open it online.  Right-click here to download.

Photo from the Maynard Centennial Parade, 1971 - contributed by Irving Burg via Lorrie Marzulla

"The DEC CSC CX03 Glory Days" - a fun 25 min. DVD video photo album by Dick Thompson - 15 years at the DEC Customer Support Center CX03, Colorado Springs, CO - retired from DEC in 1997.

Contact Dick at: RThomp9774@aol.com

Download the "Ken Olsen Memory Book" compiled by Gordon College for their Tribute.  This is a 3.2MB file in pdf format (over 80 pp.), so we recommend that you right-click on the link and save it to your computer's hard drive before viewing it.  It is a remarkable testament to Ken's professional contributions and personal values, and overwhelmingly expresses the love and admiration we still feel for him.


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