Parker discusses his career: his years in the Navy, acquisition of Porterfield Aviation Company, start-up of Northwestern Aeronautical Corporation, and especially the formation of Engineering Research Associates (ERA). Parker explains how his business brought him to St. Paul and into contact with the Navy, and how the Navy approached him to direct a new research company, ERA, to continue war-time work done for the Navy. Parker recalls his meetings with key ERA personnel, including William Norris, Ralph Meader, and Howard Engstrom. ERA's entry into computing is discussed, including contracts in 1948 with the Navy, Air Force, and National Bureau of Standards and negotiations in 1949 with IBM over a magnetic drum design. Parker recalls ERA's sale to Remington Rand in 1950 and mentions the 1950 publication of High-Speed Computing Devices. Parker's period as Vice President for Sales at Remington Rand and Sperry is the focus of the last third of the interview. From 1952 to 1956 he and his staff sought to expand the number of computers sold and to integrate sales of all types of automatic machines.
In the second part of the interview Parker continues his discussion of ERA's relationships with other computer manufacturers including ERA's magnetic drum design agreement with IBM in 1950. Parker also discusses the acquisition and assimilation of ERA by Remington Rand, ERA's relationship with the Eckert-Mauchly Division of Remington Rand, and his own disaffection with Sperry Corporation's deemphasis on commercial computer sales after they acquired Remington Rand in 1955. Much of the interview concerns Parker's activities as head of the Electronic Computer Sales Department of Remington Rand.
John E. Parker, OH 99. Oral history interview by Arthur L. Norberg, 13 December 1985 and 6 May 1986, Washington, D.C. Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. http://purl.umn.edu/107593
Transcript, 140 pp. Audio file available at http://purl.umn.edu/95344
Parker, John E., 1900-1989.
Oral history interview with John E. Parker.
Charles Babbage Institute.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.