1953 – Hewlett Speeches

Box 1, Folder 1 – General Speeches

March 23, 1953 – “An Evaluation of the I.R.E. Professional Group Plan,” 4th Annual I.R.E. meeting, New York, New York

3/23/53, Printed copy of Hewlett’s remarks

Hewlett says he would like to take a “critical look at what is happening to our own Institute of Radio Engineers through the formation and expanding program of our Professional Group system.”

He explains that these Professional Groups were started about five years prior by individual members of I.R.E. interested in seeing that “their field or branch of scientific or technical endeavor is adequately covered by Institute activities….There are now no less than 19 Professional Groups with a paid up membership of approximately 12,500,” Hewlett says.

Going back in history, Hewlett explains that the I.R.E was formed in 1913 concerned with the science of radio engineering. He contrasts some of the early papers published by the Institute which were of interest to all “Radio Engineers,” with recent articles representing “the high degree of sophistication the art has assumed.”

Hewlett says that World War II “had a tremendous impact on the entire field and electronics immerged from the war as a basic tool of industry as a whole and not just the bread and butter item of a small group of engineers in the field of radio communications.”

Hewlett refers to an article by Dr. William Everitt, titled “Let Us Re-Define Electronics.” And quotes a definition for electronics which Dr. Everitt proposed:

‘Electronics is the science and technology which deals primarily with the supplementing of man’s senses and his brain power by devices which collect and process information, transmit it to the point needed, and there either control machines or present the processed information to human beings for their direct use.’

“An acceptance of this definition and a tacit assumption that the I.R.E. is the professional society primarily responsible for the field of electronics immediately indicates,” Hewlett says, “the enormous scope of the I.R.E.’s responsibility.”

“The diversity of interest  represented by this definition,” He says, “offers a …challenge to the Institute, a challenge which must be accepted if the Institute is to live up to its basic objectives as set forth …in its constitution, here quoted in part:

‘Its objectives shall be scientific, literary, and educational. Its aims shall include advancement of the theory and practice of radio and allied branches of engineering and of the related arts and sciences, their application to human needs, and the maintenance of a high professional standing among its members.’

“The Institute’s answer to this challenge,” he says, “ has been the Professional Group system.”

Pointing to the increasing role played by the Professional Groups in conferences and symposia, Hewlett likens the Institute to a parent with 19 vigorous children  who are rapidly approaching maturity.

“We are probably entering one of the most critical phases in the development of our Group System,” Hewlett says. “We have gone too far to turn back, and must make the system work or see the Institute shatter into small pieces, the total of which would never be as strong as the whole, nor as capable of serving the interests of the profession.”

“The Groups have become large enough and sufficiently well defined that basic questions are arising with respect to the relation of Groups to each other and of Groups to the Institute itself. It is imperative that these and similar problems as they arise be faced squarely and considered honestly by the Professional Groups and the Institute alike….The basic yardstick must be ‘What is best for the Institute and the profession as a whole?’ I for one am convinced that …the service performed to our members and profession will be even better, and that the Institute of Radio Engineers and its Professional Group system will be a model of how a professional society can meet the demanding requirements of an ever increasing technical field.”

3/23/53, Copy of typewritten draft of speech

3/23/53, Another copy of a typewritten draft

Undated, Copy of printed article  titled ‘The IRE Professional Group System –A Status Report,’ from an Institute publication

12/31/52, Copy of typewritten pages listing IRE members by product areas

9/26/52, Letter to Hewlett from George W. Bailey, Chairman, 1953 IRE National Convention Committee, inviting him to be the principal speaker at the IRE annual meeting

2/13/53, Letter to Hewlett from George W. Bailey, enclosing a memorandum from Mrs. Evelyn Davis giving dates pertaining to the development of the Professional Group system

2/16/53, Letter to Hewlett from George Bailey giving details on the meeting arrangements

2/19/53, Copy of a letter from Hewlett to George Bailey saying he will be at the speaker’s platform at the prescribed time

2/16/53, Letter to Hewlett from E. E. Gannett, IRE Administrative Editor, Asking for the title of his talk

4/10/53, Letter to Hewlett from E. E. Gannett, saying he got a copy of his speech and would like his permission to publish it

4/22/53, Copy of a letter from Hewlett to E. E. Gannett giving permission to publish his speech

Box 1, Folder 2 – General Speeches

November 3 & 4, 1953 – “Impedance Measurements in the Microwave Frequency Range,” IRE Sections in Los Angeles and San Diego

11/3/53, Typewritten text of Hewlett’s speech. The same speech was given in Los Angeles and San Diego. His speech was a technical discussion which is not included here, but the following is an abstract of  his speech which he sent to the organizers of the meetings in advance:

“The paper is basically a correlation and review of basic techniques for impedence [sic] measurements at microwave frequencies. The discussion will cover both coaxial and waveguide sources. The principle sources of error and their relative importance will be outlined and methods of minimizing these errors suggested. The discussion is confined primarily to techniques based on existing commercial equipment now in common use in the field.”

11/3/53, Copy of the cover of the Los Angeles IRE publication, “The Bulletin,” announcing Hewlett’s talk, a biographical sketch is attached

11/4/53, Copy of San Diego IRE Section publication with an article announcing Hewlett’s talk

9/10/53, Letter to Hewlett from B. S. Angwin of Los Angeles Section IRE inviting him to speak at their monthly meeting in November.

9/25/53, Typewritten note, possibly by Hewlett’s secretary, Mickie Ayres, saying that, in answer to the above letter, he had telephoned Mr. Angwin  agreeing to speak

10/1/53, Copy of a letter to B. S. Angwin from Mickie Ayres, sending an abstract of Hewlett’s talk and a biographical sketch

10/7/53, Letter to Hewlett from B. S, Angwin discussing arrangements for the meeting

9/23/53, Letter to Cort Van Rensselaer at HP, from Edward J. Moore of Neely San Diego, asking his help in arranging to have someone speak to a meeting of the San Diego Section of the IRE on Nov. 3, 1953

9/28/53, Copy of a telegram from Ed Moore to Cort Van Rensselaer, saying the date of Nov. 4 for San Diego would be OK

10/1/53, Copy of a letter to Edward Moore from Mickie Ayres sending an abstract of Hewlett’s speech which he will give to the IRE meeting in San Diego on Nov. 4th

10/16/53, Memo to Cort Van Rensselaer from Edward Moore offering to arrange a hotel reservation for Hewlett

10/19/53, Copy of a letter from Hewlett to Edward Moore saying he will need a slide projector for his talk

11/4/53, Letter to Hewlett from Ellis F. King, IRE Chairman, thanking him for his “very interesting” talk

11/6/53, Letter to Hewlett from B. S. Angwin of Los Angeles IRE Section, thanking him for presenting his paper to them at their meeting

11/9/53, Copy of a letter from Hewlett to Professor Ellis F. King, University of California, saying he enjoyed visiting the meeting in Los Angeles

Undated, Handwritten page by Hewlett addressed to “Ellis” discussing what he intends to speak about at the meeting – appears it might have been a draft for his secretary to type

Box 1, Folder 3 – General Speeches

December 4, 1953 – “Engineering as a Career;” to engineering students at San Jose State, San Jose, CA

12/4/54, Copy of typewritten speech, including outline

Hewlett was asked to speak on development engineering as a career, and electronic engineering in particular. He begins by examining what electronics is. “In simplest terms,” he says, “it is the field that deals with vacuum tubes and their use.” He broadens this to include transistors, and gives a few examples of practical electronics:

He describes telephone circuits that span the United States, with repeater stations along the line to strengthen the signal. “These repeater stations are completely dependent upon electronics for their operation,” he says  Without electronics he says you could “put all of the energy from the universe …into a line in New York and only six electrons would roll out in San Francisco each year.”

He gives examples of using computers for stock control, keeping track of 13,000 types of items.  He says the designation of this computer is the 140 GP – because it replaced 140 girls – i.e.140 Girl Power.

Hewlett talks about engineering in general. “There are simply not enough engineers,” adding that the greatest demand will be for aeronautical and electrical engineers.

“Who is using these engineers?” he asks. The U.S. Government for one he says, giving the example of the B-36 airplane which uses 2100 vacuum tubes , and a battleship using 9000 tubes. Television is a growing field, but he admits he does not have one in his house, and makes it sound like he is waiting for color to appear. He says his field is instrumentation and he gives an example of instruments used to test cement being manufactured. By measuring the vibration of a bar of concrete poured from the cement they could determine its strength. Previously the bars had to be crushed with heavy equipment to determine the strength. He gives other examples such as monitoring remote and hazardous industrial processes via closed loop TV circuits.

Hewlett talks about the types of electronic engineering work – development, production, sales – describing how these each work together to build and sell a final product, giving the percentage of engineers engaged in each function. Next he provides some figures on salaries people in this line of work can expect to receive. He describes the beginning assignments a hypothetical new development engineer might do upon joining the Hewlett-Packard Company.

In his closing remarks Hewlett says that he has tried to stress the following points: “That there is and will continue to be for some time a serious shortage of trained engineers; that engineers trained in the field of electronics are at present and will probably continue to be some of the most critical and difficult to obtain; and that by and large the compensation for those engineers that remain in their technical field has been good. As far as education is concerned, I personally lay a great stress upon the student gaining all the technical information he can in the few short years of his college education. In general he will not expand on the technical tools given him by his college education. And finally, that the decision whether a student should plan for a career in development, in contrast to sales and production, should in part be determined by his temperament and his personal interest as well as his technical capabilities.”

12/4/53,  Outline of speech typewritten on 3×5” cards

10/26/53, Letter to Hewlett from Ralph J. Smith, Head, Engineering Department, San Jose State College, inviting him to speak to their freshmen engineering students on career opportunities in this field

10/28/53, Copy of a letter from Hewlett to Professor Smith accepting his invitation

11/9/53, Letter to Hewlett from Ralph Smith enclosing descriptions of the various engineering specialties as used in their classes

11/12/53, Copy of a letter from Hewlett’s Secretary, Mickie Ayres, to Professor Smith saying the enclosure mentioned in his letter of Nov. 9 didn’t arrive, and asking for another copy

12/1/53, Letter to Hewlett from Prof. Smith giving instructions for parking

Undated, Copy of a pamphlet from the College describing their Aeronautical Engineering curriculum