Ralph H. Baer Papers, 1943-1953, 1966-1972, 1991, 2000-2006
Baer, Ralph H. 1922-2014
3 cu. ft. : 11 boxes and 1 oversize folder
1943-1953, 1966-1972, 1991, 2000-2006
German-born inventor, engineer, and ordnance specialist who immigrated to the United States with his family in 1938. He served in the United States Army in World War II and became a specialist in military small arms. After graduating with a B.S. in television engineering, he worked for a series of firms until joining Sanders Associates, a defense industry contractor, in Nashua, New Hampshire, where he became chief engineer for equipment design until his retirement in 1987. Beginning in 1966, Baer began experimenting with ways to use a home television set for interactive games. Sanders eventually licensed Baer's inventions to Magnavox, which sold them successfully as the game Odyssey, and to Atari. Baer was a prolific inventor of toys, games, and other consumer electronic products. He died in 2014.
Notes, papers, photographs, oversize diagrams and engineering blueprints, 1 book, 6 1/2" VHS videotapes, 4 CD-ROMs, 7 audio cassettes. The papers include autobiographical materials and an extended oral history interview. The 2006 addendum, the largest portion of the collection, relates to Baer's work on the development of video games while at Sanders Associates, and consists of notes, drawings, engineering schematics, laboratory notebooks, and administrative materials. Baer retrieved these documents from a Chicago law firm years after they had been assembled for various legal cases involving his television game inventions. The papers include autobiographical materials and an extended oral history interview; and materials about military small arms created by Baer during his World War II service. Two 2008 addenda include approximately one half of one cubic foot of papers relating to the World War II service of Hans Otto Mauksch, an officer in the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Service; and approximately one third of one cubic foot of papers relating to Ralph Baer's work in military intelligence during World War II.
Ralph H. Baer Papers, 1943-1953, 1966-1972, 1991, 2000-2006, Archives Center, National Museum of American History