The interview primarily concerns Hill's years at Engineering Research Associates, but his formative years and employment at 3M Corporation are also included. The first part of the interview concerns his family history, upbringing, and education, primarily in electronics, at Rochester Institute of Technology. After his graduation in 1930 Hill worked for General Railroad and from 1934 to 1946 for 3M. In the l930s he became interested in radio technology, a skill used during World War II by the Air Force. The majority of the interview concerns his years at ERA beginning in 1946. Many aspects of his work at ERA are discussed: tape-splicing activities, the Goldberg project, development of magnetic recording, the Demon project, the Atlas project, and interactions with Navy personnel. Particular attention is given to interactions among ERA staff in a government classified environment.
In the second session Hill further describes his years at ERA and Ramsey Engineering. He offers additional technical detail about the Demon and Atlas projects at ERA in an attempt to articulate ERA's design philosophy, and describes the work routine during these projects. He next turns to several commercial projects, notably the Speed Tally project for John Plain Company (Chicago) and the American Airlines project conducted jointly by ERA and Automatic Electric. Hill discusses the acquisition of ERA by Remington Rand, how his own role changed after the acquisition, and notes specific problems with sales operations and the increase in bureaucracy. Conflicts with J. Presper Eckert are also mentioned. The last part of the interview concerns his employment at Ramsey Engineering from 1956 to 1976.
John L. Hill, OH 101. Oral history interview by Arthur L. Norberg, 15 and 22 January 1986, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. http://purl.umn.edu/107360
Transcript, 159 pp. Audio file available at http://purl.umn.edu/95349
Hill, John L. (John Lindsay), 1909-.
Oral history interview with John Lindsay Hill.
Charles Babbage Institute.
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