1954 – Packard Speeches

Box 2, Folder 26 – General Speeches – includes correspondence related to speeches


April 6, 1954, Electrical Engineering as a Career, Remarks at “Career Day,” Palo Alto High School, Palo Alto, California


4/6/54, Typewritten notes titled , “Electrical Engineering as a Career”, with handwritten notations by Packard.

Covers branches of electrical engineering, growth of need for EEs, compensation, qualifications, requirements, how to start.

4/1/54, Letter from Thad Brinkley to Packard thanking him for accepting an assignment as a speaker during Career Day.

4/2/54, Letter to Packard from Barbara Kielsmeier, Student Chairman, giving details on Career Day.

4/6/54 Suggested Guide for Speakers




Box 2, Folder 27 – General Speeches


November 23, 1954, Electronics and the West, SRI, San Francisco

11/23/54 Typewritten text of speech

Packard points out that it is appropriate to talk about electronics at SRI because the field is highly dependent on research.


Packard talks about recent publicity concerning the electronic industry: radar, proximity fuse, electricity from sunshine. “Even the politicians are using electronic computers to predict the outcome of the elections.. “; although he points out that in the last election votes had to be counted the old fashioned way.


Approaching what he says appears to be a rather complex industry, Packard divides it into four divisions: household market, government market, commercial and industrial, and the fourth as the component market. “Today”, he says, “the military market accounts for nearly 60% of the total output of the industry….30% of the product is still going to the household market and about 10% is going to all other markets.”  Growth is in the direction of  the commercial and industrial market., he says.


Saying that the Bay Area is the very birth place of the electronic industry in the U.S., Packard traces technological developments indicating that it is possible to transmit energy through space. Some of the names mentioned by Packard include Maxwell, Marconi, Elwell, Poulson, and then Lee DeForest who invented the vacuum tube in Palo alto in 1907. He says the vacuum tube determined the beginning of the industry. The first radio broadcast was at the Pan Pacific Exposition in 1915. Other influences which tended to stimulate western electronic activity included the talking motion pictures. ..”the Hollywood area developed a number of small electronic firms related directly to the requirements of the motion picture industry.”

“In 1940″, Packard says, ” the household market accounted for about half of the entire electronic industry market.” Packard raises the question of industry in California to serve this market. He says “there were a few firms established to produce radio receivers….who operated with moderate success before 1930….but generally they had difficulty in supplying the large eastern market and consequently, the big electronic industry became centered in the eastern part of the country.”


” And so it was the importance of the household market to the electronic industry which caused the great concentration of electronic manufacturers in the east. “…”WW II augmented this trend…” “Most of the important government laboratories were located on the East Coast. The great consumer goods industries in the electronic field were converted to military production and during WWII hardly 1% of the electronic industry in the country remained on the West Coast.”  Packard continues saying that “a few people (in the west) were still very optimistic”, and  toward the end of the war “they organized the West Coast Electronic Manufacturers Association and attempted to expound the virtues of the West Coast electronic industry to governmental buyers…”


“We were sure”, Packard says, “that this trend (to the east) would be reversed after the war and so we attempted to encourage this with an electronic trade show in Los Angeles in 1946. At that show there were  25 exhibitors, almost entirely West Coast firms, and a few hundred people attended. If ever the West Coast electronic industry was whistling in the dark that was the time.”


Then Packard asks those present to look at what has happened since., He starts by comparing the 1946 trade show to the corresponding show held in Los Angeles in 1954. “This year (1954) , the electronic show in Los Angeles attracted 440 exhibitors, including every important name in the business, and it was attended by over 23,000 people.”


“By 1953 the West Coast electronic industry had grown until it accounted for more than 10% of the national electronic production.”


Packard examines the factors that have brought the West Coast electronic industry into its own. “The aircraft industry has been long centered on the West Coast and it has grown tremendously, and aircraft today require more electronic devices.”


“We have guided missile research centered in the West because space is available. And the guided missile program is highly dependent on electronics.”


Packard cites the growth of the industry on the West Coast: Varian Associates, Sylvania Electric, GE for example, and says that “These people have come to Palo Alto for one reason and one reason only. They want to be close to Stanford University because Stanford University is a great source of ideas for the electronic industry and a source of well-trained engineers.” He sees both Stanford and the California Institute of Technology as having been a  “substantial factor in the new westward movement in electronics”  Packard says that now 75% of the industry is on the West Coast.

Packard tells of the Institute of Radio Engineers, an organization to which virtually all electronic engineers in the country belong. “Annually they select two or three of their members who have made outstanding contributions to the field of electronic engineering and they elect these people to the grade of Fellow.” “Only two states, New York and New Jersey,” Packard says, lead California in the number of fellows. Furthermore, only three states in the entire country have more Fellows than the San Francisco Bay Area.”


“Even the Government has recognized the leadership of the west in electronic research and engineering.” And he cites the Navy electronics lab moving to San Diego, the Navy Post Graduate School in engineering in Monterey, the radio division of the National Bureau of Standards moving to Boulder, and the Signal Corps establishing a new lab at Fort Huachuca.


Packard concludes, saying that it has been exciting to see the electronics industry come into its own here on the West Coast and to see the role Stanford has played in this development. He adds that “We are proud to see that the Stanford Research Institute is taking the lead in industrial research which will help make the accomplishments in electronics available to you people in other industries and businesses.”

No date, One page with notations, handwritten by Packard,  citing various statistics concerning the electronics industry.

No date, Two typewritten pages titled “Radio on the West Coast” giving dates of events marking development of electronics. It is transmitted with a note from “Cy” to Dave.

10/21/54 and various dates, an exchange of letters from SRI and Packard’s office concerning logistics for the above luncheon, program for the day, letters of congratulations.

8/24/54, Printed program of WESCON convention

11/5/54, Letter to Bill Hewlett from J. E. Hobson, Director of SRI, inviting him to the Associates day program and November 23.

11/15/54, Pages 85/86 from Steel publication containing an article on growth of  the electronics industry.