Some of the people who planned, developed and built the IBM 701 are:
Thomas J. Watson, Jr.
Tom Watson was president of IBM. He directed the IBM engineering and research organization to develop what became the Defense Calculator (701), and his early recognition of the need for mass-produced electronic computers speeded the development of the 701.
In 1973 he said of the 701: "The corporation took a kind of bet. We created the machine that carried us into the electronics business. ... More than 115 of the people who worked on the project are still with IBM. Some others now work for our competitors. But in those days, they were an absolutely unbeatable team. They were the nucleus of all the teams that have created the computers we've developed since. So, in a very real way, they helped me build a business reputation which was more to their credit than my own. It's made my life fruitful and happy and I'm grateful to all of them."
M. M. Astrahan
Dr. Astrahan joined IBM in June 1949. As a project engineer, he took part in the planning and logical design of the machine from the time work began in January 1951 until it was demonstrated to customers in August 1952. His initial work was on the specifications and overall logic, and he later took charge of tracking the engineering to see that the specifications were made, preparing programs to enable use of the machine, and preparing diagnostic programs to aid in servicing.
J. E. Bartelt
Mr. Bartelt, a technical engineer, contributed to the logical design of the magnetic tape system of the machine, including the tape information circuits and tape motion control circuits. He was active in the tape testing program and contributed to certain special design features. After the 701 was unveiled in April 1953, Mr. Bartelt was responsible for the calculator machine room at Poughkeepsie, including the machine improvement and machine testing programs. He joined IBM in September 1947.
P. A. Beeby
Mr. Beeby, design engineer, came to IBM in February 1951. He contributed to the design of the arithmetic circuits of the machine, working specially on final testing, main frame testing, and pluggable unit and panel layout. He performed standard circuit testing and contributed to the diode circuit development, particularly the adder circuit.
J. W. Birkenstock
James Birkenstock, who joined IBM as a salesman in 1935, was director of product planning and market analysis, and one of the top advisors to Thomas Watson on the commercial possibilities of the Defense Calculator (701). He also served as IBM general sales manager and manager of the future demands department. When he retired in 1973, he was IBM vice president of commercial and industry relations.
He told Tom Watson in 1950: "I think we can put together all this stuff we have -- tubes, tapes and tape drives -- and make a machine that would be useful in building aircraft, designing jet engines and the like -- projects calling for many repetitive operations."
Dr. Buchholz joined IBM in August 1949. As a project engineer, he played an important part in the planning of the Defense Calculator from the time it began in January 1951 until specifications were frozen and the design was well under way in September 1951.
T. A. Burke
Mr. Burke came to the company in July 1939. As technical assistant, he handled all administrative effort for the entire 701 program, including responsibility for the coordination of personnel assignments; procurement of people, material and equipment; and project records in coordination with the finance, accounting and production departments.
W. S. Buslik
Mr. Buslik, a project engineer, was responsible for the design, construction and testing of the tape transport unit. Largely through his efforts, the unit's fine performance was assured and largely through his ingenuity, the unit was a reliable and simple mechanism. Mr. Buslik joined IBM in October 1949.
J. J. Chupay
Beginning his IBM career in April 1942, Mr. Chupay made significant contributions to the concept, design and construction of the multiple tube pluggable unit used throughout the 701, and also aided on the panel layout testing and drawing releases. He was a technical engineer.
D. J. Crawford
After coming to IBM in September 1950, Mr. Crawford, a technical engineer, contributed major portions of the standard circuit design used throughout the 701. He organized the system planning and the program circuits, and contributed to the initial preparation of the circuit design manual.
C. A. Deutschle
As a technical engineer, Mr. Deutschle contributed much to the magnetic drum system used in the 701. He worked on the system design and circuit design for the drum system, was active in initial testing of the drum frame, and contributed to the drum improvement program. Mr. Deutschle aided the drum frame tester design and its development and use, and later worked on the drum surface tester design. He joined IBM in March 1951.
B. O. Evans
Bob Evans, an electrical engineer, joined IBM in September 1951 to work on the Defense Calculator project. He quickly evolved into a kind of roving troubleshooter for 701 installations (see Knaplund comment below).
In 1973 he said of his work on the 701: "It was the most exciting thing I ever did -- bar none."
M. E. Femmer
After coming to the company in August 1946, Max Femmer had many responsibilities in the development of the 701. As project engineer, he oversaw systems planning and development of the magnetic tapes and magnetic drums. Later he set up the customer engineering training program, which included responsibility for writing and distributing a comprehensive set of manuals. Still later, he was given responsibility for the removal of the IBM Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator at IBM World Headquarters and the installation of the 701 in its place.
P. E. Fox
Phil Fox joined IBM in October 1946. As project engineer, he supervised the basic development, planning and design of the electrostatic storage system used on the machine. This included full responsibility for the design, construction and testing program. In addition, he contributed much to the release and manufacturing phases of the machine with respect to electrostatic storage.
He once said of the Williams tube used in the 701: "One or two of the tubes had been used in a laboratory computer. But no one had gotten a lot of them working. So the problems were relatively new. If you called out a particular piece of information frequently, you would destroy information in an adjacent location. We solved the problem by figuring how often a practical problem would do this and then allowing enough refreshing cycles. . . . For weeks we chased a problem that caused bits on the face of the tube to change when they weren't supposed to. Finally, we found a short in a common resistor -- a very basic component that everyone thought was completely reliable. It wasn't." During development, IBM started making its own tubes. "As far as I know, this was the first electronic component that we made and used commercially."
C. E. Frizzell
Clarence Frizzell, a project engineer, joined the company in February 1940. He supervised the systems development and design for the clock cycle timer and the operator's panel control circuits. In addition, he supervised panel layout and circuit testing, and contributed to the testing of the electrostatic storage.
Twenty years after the 701's launch he remembered: "We started on the third floor of a tie factory and finished in a supermarket -- later to become the South Road laboratory annex. Tar leaked down from the roof on hot days. We had to scrape it off the drawings to keep working. As you can see, we weren't too conscious of office trappings in those days."
J. A. Haddad
Jerrier Haddad began his IBM career in July 1945. He was charged with the complete technical and executive responsibility for the 701 development and design program. The technical responsibility included system design, circuit design and the effect of each of those functions on the machine. His responsibility included the management and supervision of some 200 highly skilled engineers and technical people, and the scheduling and coordination of all of their efforts. He shared overall responsibility for the engineering program with Nathaniel Rochester. From 1977 until he retired in 1981, he was IBM vice president of technical personnel development.
He later recalled of the 701: "We convinced ourselves that by taking a giant step toward this far-out high performance machine, we and our customers would benefit in many ways. ... A major challenge was to see whether we could make a single machine that would simultaneously satisfy the needs of nearly 20 customers. We had never made anything that big before -- in a manufacturing sense. They had always been created one at a time in the laboratory. Now came a problem: How could you split the work up among a big group of people so that they wouldn't duplicate and fall over each other -- and not leave anything undone?"
He also said: "We didn't have budgets and schedules in those days. Maybe that is why we did things so fast. We didn't have schedules to slow us down. ... This was a very good project. We knew we had the support of the corporation and we knew we were doing something vital."
Dr. C. C. Hurd
Cuthbert Hurd joined IBM in 1949. He formed, and was director of, the IBM Applied Science Division, and was a key advisor to Thomas Watson on the development of the machine. He assessed military computing requirements and was instrumental in applying those requirements to a single machine. Dr. Hurd later became director of the IBM Electronic Data Processing Machines Division.
W. A. Johnson
Mr. Johnson was a member of the Mathematics Planning Group of IBM's Applied Science Division, which determined the logical and arithmetical operations to be built into the machine.
W. H. Johnson
A member of the Mathematics Planning Group, Mr. Johnson applied his knowledge of customer requirements in the field of partial differential equations to help define 701 machine specifications.
W. H. Klippel
As a project engineer who came to the company in September 1949, Mr. Klippel contributed to the mechanical design of the tape machines in the 701, including various high speed clutches and other mechanisms. He was responsible for the mechanical design of the big calculator's frames and contributed to the design of the electronic packaging.
P. W. Knaplund
Paul Knaplund was a member of the Mathematics Planning Group, which defined the 701's logical and arithmetical operations.
He once remembered: "The 701 wasn't like the systems we have today. It had a tendency to develop bugs -- maybe one or two a day. If you didn't pick them off pretty fast, you had a swarm of them in no time. We had a crew of people at Consolidated Vultee [Convair], which had just installed a 701 in Fort Worth. But we couldn't pick off those bugs fast enough. Two weeks went by. Three. Then four. And the machine still wasn't turned over to the customer. So I yelled for help. And who showed up but Bob Evans [later president of the System Development Division]. He came down on a night flight and steamed into the plant at dawn on a Saturday, then started installing the latest changes in our system. Seeing all this mayhem, I thought the system would never work. But Bob was there with the customer engineers, charging around and snatching a few hours sleep. Sunday night he said to me, 'Paul, get the customer in; we're ready to test.' It worked. I've never forgotten that."
G. H. Kress
With IBM since February 1939, George Kress, an industrial designer at the company's Endicott, N.Y., facility, was responsible for the industrial and commercial design for the frames and covers of the 701.
J. C. Logue
As a technical engineer, he worked on the design of the video amplifiers used in the electrostatic storage portions of the machine. Through investigation of the noise in the amplifiers and deflection circuits, he made major contributions to the 701's reliability. Mr. Logue joined the company in May 1951.
W. F. McClelland
William McClelland joined the IBM Watson Laboratory in 1947. He was chairman of the Mathematics Planning Group of the IBM Applied Sciences Division in New York City, which decided that the 701 should be capable of solving partial differential equations demanding millions of machine operations. He retired from IBM in 1982.
He later reflected on the development project: "We all realized at that point in time that this was a new business; that its potential was fantastic."
W. W. McDowell
W. Wallace McDowell was director of engineering, and was one of the top advisors to Thomas Watson on the development of the 701. He became an IBMer in 1930, and, after a brief sales career, he was assigned to the Endicott, N.Y., plant as a designer in the engineering laboratory. Following the 701 roll out, Mr. McDowell was elected an IBM vice president in July 1954.
H. A. Mussell
Mr. Mussell joined the company in December 1940. As a project engineer, he supervised the design, construction and testing of the card feeding equipment used on the machine. He contributed much to the card reader, printer and punch.
N. G. Noell
As a technical engineer, Mr. Noell made significant contributions to the packaging of the machines and had complete charge of cabling and wiring. He joined IBM in June 1950.
R. L. Palmer
Ralph Palmer came to IBM in 1932 in Endicott, N.Y. In 1939 he became manager of the Poughkeepsie Engineering Laboratory, and was a top advisor to Thomas Watson on the development of the 701. Following the successful completion of that project, Mr. Palmer was made director of engineering in 1954 and he was named an IBM Fellow in 1963.
D . W. Pendery
Donald Pendery worked for IBM from 1949 to 1969. He was a member of the Mathematics Planning Group, which determined the logical and arithmetical operations to be built into the machine.
A design engineer with IBM since July 1950, Mr. Portanova worked on the initial design and internal organization of the machine's power supply.
Nathaniel Rochester joined IBM in November 1948 as an associate engineer. As development engineer, he shared the overall responsibility for the engineering program with Jerrier Haddad and was charged with the executive responsibility for the complete systems planning operation. He coordinated the work of the Poughkeepsie Engineering Planning Group, and in cooperation with the Planning Group from the Applied Science Division, he developed firm specifications for the Defense Calculator. He developed outstanding planning and system specifications, including arithmetic functions and logical operations, for the design of the machine. Mr. Rochester's ability to prepare programs and test these programs on paper saved much valuable time. He led the effort to prepare utility sub-programs to facilitate the use of the 701 by IBM and its customers. Mr. Rochester was named an IBM Fellow in 1967.
Recalling the first symbolic assembly program, he said: "I had wanted to work on this idea but I never seemed to have the time. Then one morning my wife woke me up and announced, 'I have the mumps.' She was expecting our fourth child so I stayed home to take care of her. While I was recuperating from the mumps, I wrote the assembly program."
R. D. Robins
A technical engineer with IBM since July 1949, Mr. Robins was responsible for input-output construction and testing with respect to modified IBM electric accounting machine equipment used in the 701, such as the card reader, printer and punch. He later worked on programs for overall machine improvement.
H. D. Ross
After joining IBM in June 1949, Mr. Ross, as a project engineer, supervised the design of the arithmetic circuits and calculator testing, and contributed much to the overall design of the 701.
J. W. Shelden
A member of the Mathematics Planning Group, John Shelden helped define the logical and arithmetical operations to be built into the 701.
J. C. Smith
Joseph Smith was a member of the IBM Applied Science Division's Mathematics Planning Group, which determined the 701's logical and arithmetical operations.
C. E. Stephens
Mr. Stephens was active in the engineering training program and, as a technical engineer, performed or supervised much of the technical writing for the extensive manuals then in use. As a result of his contribution to the organization of the manuals, the future engineering effort was reduced. He organized classes and instructors, and performed the general administration of the engineering training program. Mr. Stephens came to IBM in March 1949.
L. D. Stevens
Mr. Stevens, a project engineer, came to IBM in August 1949, and was active in the general organization of the 701, contributing to many of the general control circuits used in the machine. He was responsible for the general input-output control circuits, especially as the input-output units related to the entire machine. Mr. Stevens also made a major contribution to the testing program and was responsible for the design of the tape frame tester.
R. N. Sweetland
As a technical engineer, Mr. Sweetland was in charge of the testing and release of the power supply, and worked closely with the Power Equipment Co. of Detroit in that effort. He joined IBM in July 1951.
D. B. Thompson
A technical engineer with IBM since June 1951, Mr. Thompson worked on many assignments in connection with the machine, including design manual cathode follower write-up, circuit design of the standard single shot multivibrator used throughout the machine, design of the high speed control circuits of electrostatic memory, and pulse generator for panel testing. After the 701's unveiling in April 1953, Mr. Thompson was given responsibility for the entire field and production tester program.
F. A. Weber
Mr. Weber assisted in the development of the video amplifiers and the unblank circuits of the 701 memory unit. A technical engineer, he worked on the design of the high voltage and special power supplies, and was largely responsible for the design, construction and use of a comprehensive memory frame test unit. He began his IBM career in August 1937.
J. A. Weidenhammer
James Weidenhammer, a development engineer, joined IBM in June 1938. He was responsible for the design and development of the unique magnetic tape mechanical motion system used in the 701. He also was responsible for the electromechanical features of the entire tape frame design.
He once said of his 701 days: "We tried many things. We tried idler arms with pulleys, block and tackle arrangements and various air pressure schemes to form a buffer loop of tape, but none of these satisfied us much. One day we bought a home vacuum cleaner and blew air down into a rectangular column to push the loop down. That didn't work too well. Then we switched from the blower to the vacuum end of the cleaner and sucked the tape loop from the bottom instead of blowing it down from the top. Immediately, we realized we had something and from then on it was just a matter of logical implementation to solve the buffer loop problem."
R. J. Whalen
Richard Whalen was the production manager for the 701. A native of Poughkeepsie, he began his IBM career there in 1946 as an assembler. After completion of the 701 project, Mr. Whalen was transferred to Kingston, N.Y., as plant superintendent. He subsequently served in a number of manufacturing and development management positions, and was the first general manager of IBM's plant in Boulder, Colo. He retired in 1975.
"I think [the 701] was the first program," he once recounted, "where we gathered a small unit of the manufacturing operation and joined with the development engineers -- right from the first steps of the model building. I asked for my own purchasing man, my own production control man, tool engineer, and a couple of managers to lay out and plan our resources. We went as a group right into the lab. Jerry Haddad was pretty cramped but he welcomed us."