Oral history interview with William C. Norris

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Oral history interview with William C. Norris

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Charles Babbage Institute


Oral History


Norris was a founding vice president of Engineering Research Associates (ERA). He later became head of the Univac Division of the Remington Rand before founding and becoming president and chief executive officer of Control Data Corporation (CDC) in 1957. Norris begins by describing his employment before World War II, his civilian career with the Navy, and his commission in the Naval Reserve. He then discusses his work with Communications Supplementary Activities-Washington. Norris' description of the formation and operations of ERA comprise over half of the interview. Topics include: the roles of Howard Engstrom, John E. Parker, C. B. Tompkins, and Northwestern Aeronautical in the formation of ERA; the influence of the Whirlwind project; government contracts held by ERA; magnetic drums; and contract negotiations with James Birkenstock of International Business Machines. In the second half of the interview Norris discusses the ERA 1101, ERA 1102, and ERA 1103 computers, the acquisition of ERA by Remington Rand, the Univac File computer, his work as head of the Univac Division, and the formation of CDC.


Transcript, 192 pp. Audio file available at http://purl.umn.edu/95360

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William C. Norris, OH 116. Oral history interview by Arthur L. Norberg, 28 July and 1 October 1986, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. http://purl.umn.edu/107551

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Norris, William C., 1911-. (1986). Oral history interview with William C. Norris. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/107551.

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