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Famous Amos Collection

Donor:
Amos, Christine  Search this
Amos, Wally  Search this
Names:
Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookie Company  Search this
Extent:
7 Cubic feet (16 boxes, 1 oversize folder)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Advertisements
Place:
Hawaii
Date:
1975-2000
Summary:
The Famous Amos Collection consists primarily of business records, photographs, and newspaper clippings documenting the career and life of Wally Famous Amos and the Famous Amos chocolate chip cookie company he created.
Scope and Contents:
The Famous Amos Collection consists primarily of business records, photographs, and newspaper clippings documenting the career of Wally Famous Amos and the Famous Amos chocolate chip cookie. The bulk of the collection consists of newspaper clippings.

Series 1, Biographical Materials, 1970-1994 and undated, documents the professional life of Wally Amos. This series includes background information about the Famous Amos chocolate chip cookie, awards, newspaper clippings describing Amos receiving his high school diploma, and drafts and published versions of Amos's writings the The Famous Amos Story and The Power in You.

Series 2, Advertising and Marketing Materials, 1975-1994 and undated consists of materials relating to the marketing and advertising of Famous Amos cookies. This series contains his marketing plan, promotional materials, press releases, posters, advertising mock-ups, and packaging samples.

Series 3, Photographs, 1975-1980 and undated, includes a variety of photographic prints, most of which are 5" x 7" or smaller. The series contains professional and publicity photographs of Wally Amos and Famous Amos products as well as personal photographs of Amos' family and friends. Film negatives and color slides of people are also included in this series.

Series 4, Press Materials, 1975-1996 and undated, is comprised of three subseries: Subseries 1, Clippings, 1975-1995 and undated; Subseries 2, Articles, 1976-1996; and Subseries 3, Scrapbooks and Wall Art, 1977-1981 and undated. The publicity materials in this series are primarily about Wally Amos, Famous Amos cookies, and his literacy efforts. The scrapbooks were assembled by Amos and contain additional clippings. Included in this subseries is a mounted 32" x 15" hand embroidered and appliquéd corduroy fabric panel that reads "Have a very brown day!"

Series 5, Correspondence, 1975-1985, includes postcards, business and personal letters, and drawings from young fans of Famous Amos cookies. This series also contains three guest registers in which visitors to the Famous Amos stores wrote comments.

Series 6, Literacy Activities, 1978-1984, includes promotional materials, articles, clippings, and a scrapbook related to Amos' literacy campaign.

Series 7, Community Service, 1978-1981, includes a scrapbook and correspondence from members of the Chocolate Chip Cookie Club and the Aliis Pintos Little League team of California.
Arrangement:
The collection is arranged into seven series.

Series 1, Biographical Materials, 1970-1994 and undated

Series 2, Advertising and Marketing Materials, 1975-1994 and undated

Series 3, Photographs, 1975-1980 and undated

Series 4, Press Materials, 1975-1996 and undated

Subseries 1, Clippings, 1975-1995 and undated

Subseries 2, Articles, 1975-1996

Subseries 3, Scrapbooks and Wall Art, 1977-1981 and undated

Series 5, Correspondence, 1975-1985

Series 6, Literacy Activities, 1978-1984

Series 7, Community Service, 1978-1981

Series 8: Audiovisual Materials
Biographical / Historical:
Wallace "Wally" Amos, Jr. (born July 1, 1936) is the founder of the Famous Amos chocolate chip cookie brand. Amos grew up in Tallahassee, Florida before moving to New York City at age twelve. He initially attended the Food Trades Vocational High School, but dropped out to serve in the United States Air Force from 1953-1957. After serving in the military and being honorably discharged, he moved back to New York and began working at the William Morris Agency, where he became the company's first African American talent agent.

In March of 1975, upon the suggestion of a friend, he opened up his first cookie shop in Los Angeles, California. The Famous Amos company was financed with the help of philanthropist celebrities, including Marvin Gaye and Helen Reddy. The cookies became nationally renowned and were sold throughout the United States. As Famous Amos cookies grew in popularity, so did Amos' significance as a celebrity figure. He appeared at book signings alongside entertainers and authors such as Bill Cosby, and he appeared as himself in a 1981 cameo on the television series Taxi.

In 1979, Amos began focusing his attention on advocating for child and adult literacy. He worked with the Literacy Volunteers of America and libraries, and he hosted a television series, Learn to Read, that encouraged literacy and taught children to read. Amos wrote a number of self-help and autobiographical books, includingThe Power in You, 1988 andThe Famous Amos Story, 1983. During this time he also worked as a motivational speaker.

Facing financial difficulties, Amos sold both the Famous Amos Company and the trademarked "Famous Amos" name in 1985. In 1994, Amos started a new muffin business, initially called Uncle Noname Gourmet Muffins, which has since been renamed Uncle Wally's Muffin Company. Wally Amos currently lives in Hawaii.
Related Materials:
Materials at the National Museum of American History

The Division of Work and Industry holds artifacts (Panama hat, an Indian gauze shirt, a tin cookie container, and two paper cookie bags) related to this collection. See accession #:1980.0886.

Materials in Other Organizations

Chicago Public Library, Woodson Regional Library, Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature. Wally Papers Amos Papers, 1978-1996 (Accession #1979/01). The collection consists of correspondence, draft copies of manuscripts, memorabilia, awards and books.
Provenance:
Collection donated by Wally and Christine Amos in November, 1980.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research use.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no gurantees concerning intellectual property rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Cookies  Search this
Hats  Search this
advertising -- Food -- 1970-1990  Search this
African American entrepreneurs  Search this
Shirts, Men's  Search this
Genre/Form:
Advertisements -- 1980-2000
Citation:
Famous Amos Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0112
See more items in:
Famous Amos Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep882d2c7a1-1923-43be-aae1-552bf824336e
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0112
Online Media:

William Helfand Phone Card Collection

Creator:
Helfand, William  Search this
Extent:
0.3 Cubic feet (1 box)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Advertisements
Place:
Amsterdam (The Netherlands) -- Telephone sex industry -- 1980-2000
New York (N.Y.) -- telephone sex industry -- 1980-2000
London (England) -- Telephone sex industry -- 1980-2000
Tokyo (Japan) -- Telephone sex industry -- 1980-2000
Date:
1980-1991
Summary:
A collection of cards advertising telephone sex purveyors in New York, New York; London, United Kingdom; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Tokyo, Japan, and other countries.
Scope and Contents note:
Advertising cards distributed by telephone sex companies in New York City, London, Amsterdam, Tokyo, and other cities.
Biographical/Historical note:
Executive for 33 years at multinational pharmaceutical company. After retirement, became a consultant to the National Library of Medicine.
Provenance:
Collection donated by William Helfand, April 3, 1992.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Telephone sex industry -- 1980-2000  Search this
Sex -- telephone -- 1980-2000  Search this
telephone -- Sex -- 1980-2000  Search this
Genre/Form:
Advertisements -- 1980-2000
Citation:
Wiliam Helfand Phone Card Collection, 1980-1991, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0447
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8eaae2fa0-69e3-4714-8ebd-82410da5382a
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0447

Sosa, Bromley and Aguilar and Associates Records

Advertiser:
Procter & Gamble Company  Search this
Mars, Incorporated  Search this
American Airlines  Search this
Burger King Corporation  Search this
Coca-Cola Company  Search this
Anheuser-Busch, Inc.  Search this
Creator:
Sosa, Lionel  Search this
Sosa, Bromley and Aguilar and Associates (San Antonio, Texas)  Search this
Aguilar, Adolfo  Search this
Bromley, Ernest W.  Search this
Extent:
14 Cubic feet (31 boxes and 1 map folder)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Oral history
Newsletters
Marketing records
Ephemera
Photographs
Commercials
Awards
Advertisements
Ledgers (account books)
Articles
Magazines (periodicals)
Place:
Texas -- 20th century
San Antonio (Tex.)
Date:
1981-1997
Summary:
The collection documents the work of the Sosa, Bromley and Aguilar and Associates advertising agency of San Antonio, Texas.
Scope and Contents:
The collection documents the work of the Sosa, Bromley and Aguilar and Associates advertising agency of San Antonio, Texas. They created advertising for large corporations such as Western Union, American Airlines, Coca-Cola, Mars, Procter and Gamble, Anheuser-Busch, and Burger King. Additionally, they worked on political campaigns for Republican candidates including George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. Works created for local institutions such as the San Antonio Symphony and Incarnate Word High School are also represented in the collection. Sosa, Bromley and Aguilar were pioneers in developing advertising strategies to appeal to Latino consumers.

This collection includes internal corporate documentation such as awards, financial reports, marketing strategies, advertisement samples and newsletters, as well as newspaper and magazine articles. The majority of the collection consists of audiovisual materials in D2, BetacamSP, 3/4" U-Matic and 1" videotape formats. The audiovisual materials contain commercials, casting calls/auditions, director reels, public service announcements, focus groups sessions and more. Six hours of oral histories with the principals and transcriptions of the interviews are also included in the collection. Prominent sections of the collection include advertisements created for the Center for Disease Control to address misconceptions about AIDS in Latino communities, as well as photographs, an audiocassette, and public service announcements pertaining to the life and death of singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez.
Arrangement:
This collection is divided into five series:

Series 1: Background Materials, 1980-2015

Series 2: Financial Materials, 1983-1989

Series 3: Clippings, 1988-1999

Series 4: Advertisements, 1988-1995

Series 5: Audiovisual Materials, 1988-1997
Biographical / Historical:
Lionel Sosa (b. 1939) is from San Antonio, Texas and is of Mexican descent. His first venture as an entrepreneur was starting a graphic design studio called Sosart which later developed into an advertising agency. Ernest Bromley (b.1951), of Puerto Rican and Canadian descent, joined the company in 1981 while employed at the University of Texas, San Antonio as a researcher. Bromley's background in acculturation, advertising and consumer research provided a unique perspective for the newly developed Sosa and Associates. Adolfo "Al" Aguilar (b. 1955), also of Mexican descent, studied advertising and marketing at the University of Texas, Austin. Aguilar worked for Coca-Cola's first Hispanic Marketing Department when he began meeting with Sosa and Bromley. Eventually, Aguilar helped bring the Coca-Cola account to Sosa Bromley and Associates. This successful transfer ultimately led to the development of Sosa, Bromley and Aguilar and Associates.
Related Materials:
Materials in the Archives Center:

López Negrete Communications Advertising Collection (NMAH.AC.1413)

Hector and Norma Orcí Advertising Agency Records (NMAH.AC.1384)

Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies Collection (NMAH.AC.1343)

Dolores Valdes-Zacky Papers (NMAH.AC.1394)

Castor Advertising Corporation Collection (NMAH.AC.1461)

Spanish Language Television Collection (NMAH.AC.1404)

Goya Foods, Inc. Collection, 1960-2000 (NMAH.AC.0694)
Separated Materials:
Items relating to this collection were donated to the Division of Numismatics and Division of Work and Industry. See accessions: 2002.0007.0517 (Tetradrachm coin); 2015.0080.01 (1988 Clio Award Trophy Hispanic Advertising AIDS Campaign); 2015.0080.02 (Promotional Mug); 2015.0080.05 (Promotional Watch); 2016.3049.02 (1993 Clio Award for Hispanic Market Coca Cola Classic); 2015.0080.06 (1990 Adweek Plaque); 2015.0080.03 (1995 Selena Commemorative Pin).
Provenance:
Donated to the Archives Center in 2015, by Lionel Sosa, Ernest Bromley and Adolfo Aguilar.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Advertising campaigns  Search this
Advertising agencies -- 1980-2000  Search this
Advertising executives  Search this
advertising -- Soft drinks  Search this
advertising -- Food  Search this
advertising -- Confectionery  Search this
advertising -- Beverages  Search this
advertising -- Brand name products  Search this
advertising -- Audio-visual materials  Search this
advertising -- Alcoholic beverages  Search this
advertising -- 1980-2000  Search this
advertising -- Airlines  Search this
Minorities in advertising  Search this
Television advertising -- 1980-2000  Search this
advertising -- History  Search this
Genre/Form:
Oral history
Newsletters
Marketing records
Ephemera -- 20th century
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin -- 1980-2000
Commercials
Awards
Advertisements -- 1980-2000
Ledgers (account books)
Articles -- 20th century
Magazines (periodicals) -- 20th century
Citation:
Sosa, Bromley and Aguilar and Associates Records, 1981-1997, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.1351
See more items in:
Sosa, Bromley and Aguilar and Associates Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8a3bdd409-27fb-4e40-b857-c9c89be33190
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-1351
Online Media:

Magellan Systems Corporation GPS Records

Creator:
Magellan GPS  Search this
Extent:
12 Cubic feet (14 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Correspondence
Notebooks
Instructional materials
Design drawings
Photographs
Notes
Memorandums
Manuals
Videocassettes
Reports
Press releases
Advertisements
Clippings
Audio cassettes
Articles
Date:
1978-2005
bulk 1986-1998
Summary:
The Magellan Systems Corporation Records document various aspects of the development of several different Magellan GPS devices through engineering, research, design, manufacturing, and marketing records. Magellan Systems Corporation introduced the first hand-held differential GPS product and the conpany's focus was on research, product engineering, and design activities for GPS receivers. The collection includes correspondence and internal company reports and memoranda; design drawings; research notes; engineering notebooks, technical notes, schematics; photographs, slides and negatives; video and audiocassettes; advertisements; product literature, magazine articles and newspaper clippings; press releases; and user guides and manuals.
Scope and Contents:
The Magellan Systems Corporation Records document various aspects of the development of Magellan GPS devices, including the engineering, research, design, manufacturing, and marketing of the devices. The collection includes correspondence and internal company reports and memoranda; design drawings; research notes; engineering notebooks, technical notes, schematics; photographs, slides and negatives; video and audiocassettes; advertisements; product literature, magazine articles and newspaper clippings; press releases; and user guides and manuals. In Series 1, Operational Materials, Subseries 3, Weekly Reports, 1988-1996, provides an excellent overview of the issues facing the company and what actions/decisions were made and in Series 3, Engineering and Product Development Materials, Subseries 8, Technical Product Development Seminars provide a good foundation for understanding what the product development staff accomplished.

The core team of players who developed, tested and brought to market the GPS devices included: Janice Jones Blankenhorn, Gary Barta, John Foukos, Randy Hoffman, Norm Hunt, Sab Ifune, Don Rea, Dennis Rich, Ed Tuck, Jon Vavrus, Larry Weill, Val Fife Wong, and James Yuan. The majority of the core team were software and hardware engineers as well as mechanical designers. Their energy, enthusiasm, vision, and unwillingness to fail produced the first handheld commercial GPS receiver in 1989 and Magellgan was the first company to make GPS devices affordable to consumers.

Series 1, Operational Materials, 1988-1993, is divided into four subseries: Subseries 1, Organizational Materials, 1988-1994; Subseries 2, Strategic and Operating Plans, 1989-1995; Subseries 3, Weekly Reports, 1988-1996; and Subseries 4, Company Newsletters, 1991-1992.

Subseries 1, Organizational Materials, 1988-1994, consists of an organizational chart detailing Magellan's corporate structure, a document discussing the communication and functional objectives of the company, and a company Christmas card. The Orbital Sciences Corporation profile was prepared by Alex. Brown and Sons Incorporated and provides an overview of the ORBCOMM system technology, a two-way data-only personal communications service.

Subseries 2, Strategic and Operating Plans, 1989-1995, consists of a variety of strategic and operational plans for the company. The plans are arranged chronologically.

Subseries 3, Weekly Reports, 1988-1996, consists of handwritten and typescript reports primarily from Randy Hoffman, president and CEO of Magellan and Gary Barta, Senior Engineer and Vice President of engineering. The reports document issues that include, personnel issues, product development, technological developments, military orders, investments, marketing and sales, financial issues, orders, resource activities, and future activities. The subseries is arranged chronologically and provides an excellent overview of the issues facing the company and what actions/decisions were made.

Subseries 4, Company Newsletters, 1991-1992, consists of two external company newsletters, The Global Navigator, 1991 and The Magellan Explorer, 1992. The Global Naviagtor was created for the marine market and was sent to all NAV PLUS owners as well as dealers.

Series 2, Correspondence, 1989-1994 and undated, is divided into two subseries: Subseries 1, Customer Correspondence, 1989-1993 and Subseries 2, Business Correspondence, 1989-1994 and undated. The customer-related correspondence consists of letters from users of Magellan GPS units (primarily maritime-related) and their feedback about the product. Some color photographs are included. The business-related correspondence consists of records of conversations, invoices, suggestions for strategic planning, correspondence between Randy Hoffman and the Boundary Found, and the agreement and plan for the merger of Orbital Sciences Corporation and Magellan Corporation in 1994.

Series 3, Engineering and Product Development Materials, 1978-1998, consists of ten subseries: Subseries 1, Product Development, 1989-1994; Subseries 2, Engineering Notebooks, 1987-1996; Subseries 3, Technical Notes, 1978-1994; Subseries 4, Breadboard Design, 1986-1994; Subseries 5, First Generation (NAV 1000/NAV 1200), 1985-1994; Subseries 6, Second Generation, 1988-1996; Subseries 7, Third Generation, 1986-1994; Subseries 8, Swiss Army Chip (SAC) Development, 1987-1995; Subseries 9, Technical Products Development Seminars, 1997-1998; Subseries 10, Specifications, 1992-1994 and Subseries 11, TriQuint Semiconductor Materials, 1986-1992.

Subseries 1, Product Development, 1989-1994, consists of documentation related to product development at Magellan. There are sketches for the third generation of GPS products, descriptive materials for the Meridian Plus and third generation receiver, testing data from the Forest Service using GPS in the wilderness near Missoula, Montana, and position description for the director of product engineering at Magellan outlining the skills and responsibilities.

Subseries 2, Engineering Notebooks, 1987-1996, consists of bound, paginated and handwritten notebooks belonging to two Magellan engineers, Janice Jones Blankenhorn, senior software engineer and Don Rea, director of engineering. Each of Don Rea's notebooks contains a page of handwritten annotations made in 2010 describing the contents. Don Rea's 1987 notebook contains documentation on the original Magellan breadboard, custom digital chip (SAC 1), and the digital board design and test, all of which deal with the first generation of the NAV 1000. Rea's 1986 and 1988 notebook contains information about the first generation of software used, GaAS chips, radio frequency (RF) board, second generation (NAV 5000), design work for Swiss Army Chips (SACs), SAC2 digital chip, SAC2B, and the SAC3 chip. Don Rea's 1993-1995 notebook contains notes on the testing of the SAC5, SAC5M and SAC6 custom digital integrated circuit for the third generation.

Subseries 3 Technical Notes, 1978-1994, consists of handwritten and typescript notes of Gary Barta, Janice Jones Blankenhorn, John Foufos, Janice Intyre, Don Rea, Larry Weill, and James Yuan. Where possible, file level information about what the notes relate to and the Magellan staff member who wrote the notes is listed. Much of the documentation consists of equations, algorithms, sketches, block diagrams, and narrative describing processes and research. The subseries is loosely arranged chronologically.

Subseries 4, Breadboard Design, 1986-1994, consists of memoranda, technical notes, drawings, and sketches detailing the radio frequency breadboard design. Magellan's first-generation breadboard, circa 1987, was developed by the team of Janice Jones Blankenhorn, Val Fife Wong, Ed Tuck, Norm Hunt, Sab Ifune, Gary Barta, Larry Weill, Randy Hoffman, and Don Rea.

Subseries 5, First Generation (NAV 1000/NAV 1200), 1985-1994, consists of technical notes, design notes, memoranda, drawings, and blueprints documenting the development of the first generation (primarily the NAV 1000/NAV 1200), handheld GPS unit produced by Magellan. The first generation of GPS were single channel receivers and were quite simple. The NAV 1000 was 8.75" x 3.5" x 2.25" and weighed only 1.5 pounds. The NAV 1000 converted GPS satellite information into a satellite/navigation (sat/nav) positioning. It used Gallium arsenide (GaAs) a compound of the elements gallium and arsenic, and monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) technology to reduce its size and power consumption. GaAs is a semiconductor used in the manufacture of devices such as microwave frequency integrated circuits, monolithic microwave integrated circuits, infrared light-emitting diodes, laser diodes, solar cells, and optical windows. The device sold for approximately $3,000 dollars.

Subseries 6, Second Generation, 1988-1996, consists of technical notes, design notes, memorandums, drawings, and blueprints documenting the development of the second generation (primarily the NAV 5000) handheld GPS unit produced by Magellan. The NAV 5000 used five channels working simultaneously to locate and collect data from GPS satellites. The units GaAs circuitry rapidly processed the data received from the satellites to compute current location, altitude, velocity and navigation in under one minute. The NAV 5000 was designed primarily for marine use. Other second generation products included: OEM Brain, OEM 1/2 Brain, Nav 500 Pro, NAV 100M5, Skaynav, Fieldpro, NAV 5200 PM, NAV 5000A, NAV 5000D, DX, DLX, Pro mark V, and the Map 7000.

Subseries 7, Third Generation, 1986-1994, consists of technical notes for the development of the third generation (primarily Meridian and Trailblazer models) of Magellan GPS devices. Third generation models were intended for the lower end of the GPS market and were compact hand-held (size, weight, battery life) and a retail price that was reasonable. Other third generation devices included: the meridian, Trailblazer, AIV10 OEM, Skatblazer, NAV 6500 PM, Meridian/TB/SB XL, NAV 1200 Pm, NAV 1200 XL PM, NAV DLX 10, Promark X, and the Pro Mark X-CM.

Subseries 8, Swiss Army Chip (SAC) Development, 1987-1995, consists of technical notes, diagrams and drawings, and specifications for the development of a digital chip used in Magellan GPS products. Don Rea and Norm Hunt of Magellan are credited with naming the chip. The chip combined several elements--GPS DPS channels, correalators, real time clock, alarm timer, interval timer, keyboard interface, display interface, precise timing, power sequencing, memory decoding, code generators, and beeper driver, to name a few--which allowed the development team reduce the overall power, size, and cost of the chip. Magellan outsourced the manufacture of the SAC.

Subseries 9, Technical Products Development Seminars, 1997-1998, consists of documentation for nine seminars in a series of technology seminars initiated by the product develpment group at Magellan. The seminars were created to keep all staff up to date on past, present, and future technology developments at Magellan. The nine seminars cover the history of Magellan GPS technology and address specific areas of development such as antennas, circuits, signal processing, software, navigation needs, and radio frequency. Other information includes tables providing comparisons for the first, second, and third generations, timelines, SAC chip characteristics, and product shipping dates. The seminars provide a good foundation for understanding what the product development staff accomplished. Researchers should consult Series 8 which documents some of the technical seminars.

Subseries 10, Specifications, 1992-1994, consists of preliminary, functional, and system requirements describing technical characteristics for several Magellan products.

Subseries 11, TriQuint Semiconductor Materials, 1986-1992, consists of materials documenting TriQuint Semiconductor, Inc.'s work. TriQuint was a division of Tektroninix, Inc., a manufacturer of analog and mixed signal gallium arsenide (GaAs) integrated circuit products. TriQuint supplied custom radio frequency (RF) and Gallium arsenide (GaAs) chips for Magellan's hand-held GPS systems and tested its chips. Documentation includes trip summaries and observations to TriQuint by Don Rea, a Magellan engineer as well as technical drawings, memorandums, development schedules, invoices, purchase orders, and tests results, production quantity and costs, and specifications. In 1986, Don Rea met Gary Barta, then principal engineer at TriQuint through his frequent visits to the company. Barta led the engineeering development of the an integrated circuit which combined the GPS L-band low-noise pre-amplifier, UHF local oscillator, down converter and high speed digital divisers on a single gallium-arsenide chip. Nothing like this had been done before for a cost senstive commerical application. Barta later joined Magellan in November 1988 as Vice President of Engineering and made the chip he had designed actually work in the environment of a hand-held product.

Series 4, Marketing and Promotional Materials, 1985-1997, is divided into six subseries: Subseries 1, Market Research, 1985-1993 and undated; Subseries 2, Product Literature, circa 1990s; Subseries 3, Advertisements, 1988-1995 and undated; Subseries 4, Press Releases, 1988-1996; Subseries 5, Presentation Materials, 1990-[1997?] and undated; and Subseries 6, Newspaper and Magazine Clippings, 1988-1996 and undated. The series consists of product literature, advertisements, press releases, presentation materials, and newspaper and magazine clippings about Magellan products as well as competitors.

Subseries 1, Market Research, 1985-1993 and undated, consists of market research data in the form of reports prepared by Merrill Lynch, Simmons Market Research Bureau, J & H Instruments, and others, directed interviews and focus group data. There are directed interviews and discussion documentation from 1986 with Coast Guard Rescue, survival trainers, surveyors, hunters, harbor patrols, expeditionists, and mountaineer trainers providing detailed feedback into experiences with the product. The focus group information consists of transcribed interviews, survey text, selection criteria, participant lists, invoices, and technical drawings and mock-ups for the marine, outdoor and hunting markets.

Subseries 2, Product Literature, circa 1990s, consists of one file folder of product information sheets detailing specifics about Magellan products such as the NAV 1000, NAV 5000DX, NAV 1000 PRO/Geolink, NAV 5200, NAV 1000M, Meridian GPS, ProMARK V, GPS 2000, and the Global Satellite Communicator (GSC) 100.

Subseries 3, Advertisements, 1988-1995 and undated, consists of point of purchase ads, artwork and transfer designs for Magellan products. There are some oversize drawings (copies of blueprints) with the transfer design materials.

Subseries 4, Press Releases, 1988-1996, consists of press releases and one press kit containing biographies of staff members, black-and-white prints of Randy D. Hoffman, President and Chief Executive Officer, prints of the NAV 1000, and press releases introducing the NAV 1000. The marine outdoor press releases also contain 1993 dealer price lists for the Trailblazer, Meridian, NAV 5000DX, NAV 5200DX, and the mimimum advertised price policy for 1993.

Subseries 5, Presentation Materials, 1990-[1997?], consists primarily of staff presentation materials used to promote Magellan products. There is one bound presentation, Magellan Systems Corporation Management Presentation, undated, prepared by Merrill Lynch, that provides documentation about the company (an overview), market segments, competition, sales and marketing, product development, technology, manufacturing, and a financial overview.

Subseries 6, Newspaper and Magazine Clippings, 1988-1996 and undated, consists primarily of magazine articles. The articles appeared in a variety of publications and included Defense Electronics, Southern Boating, Maritime Reporter, Cruising World, Boating the Journal of the Sport, International Defense Review, and Navigation News. The subseries is arranged chronologically.

Series 5, User Guides and Manuals, 1989-2005 and undated, consists of training, reference, and user guides for the consumer who purchased Magellan products. The guides are primarily spiral bound and some are annotated. Multiple copies of some years exist. The series is arranged chronologically.

Series 6, Financial Materials, 1991-1995 and undated, consists of stock information, a Securities and Exchange Commission registration statement, correspondence, registration rights agreements, preferred stock purchase agreements, agreement and plan of merger documents between Magellan Corporation and Orbital Sciences Corporation (November 1994), and two floppy discs (3 1/2" and 5") containing information about the company and its staff.

Series 7, Photographs and Slides, 1987-1995 and undated, consists of slides, negatives, transparencies, and color and black-and-white prints of Magellan products. Many of the images document early product concepts, and there are some promotional and publicity materials. There is one folder of photographs with images of employees from 1989.

Series 8, Audiovisual Materials, 1991-1998 and undated, consists of 1/2" VHS, BETA Cam SP, and 8 mm video cassettes documenting technical seminars presented by Magellan Systems Corporation staff and instances of Magellan products featured in news segments. Researchers consult the technical seminar documentation in Series 3, Engineering and Product Development Materials. The series is arranged chronologically.
Arrangement:
Collection arranged into eight series.

Series 1, Operational Materials, 1988-1993

Subseries 1, Organizational Materials, 1988-1994

Subseries 2, Strategic and Operating Plans, 1989-1995

Subseries 3, Weekly Reports, 1988-1996

Subseries 4, Company Newsletters, 1991-1992

Series 2, Correspondence, 1989-1994 and undated

Series 3, Engineering and Product Development Materials, 1978-1998

Subseries 1, Product Development, 1989-1994

Subseries 2, Engineering Notebooks, 1987-1996

Subseries 3, Technical Notes, 1978-1994

Subseries 4, Breadboard Design, 1986-1994

Subseries 5, First Generation (NAV 1000/NAV 1200), 1985-1994

Subseries 6, Second Generation (NAV 5000), 1988-1996

Subseries 7, Third Generation, 1986-1994

Subseries 8, Swiss Army Chip (SAC) Development, 1987-1995

Subseries 9, Technical Product Development Seminars, 1997-1998

Subseries 10, Specifications, 1992-1994

Subseries 11, TriQuint Semiconductor, 1986-1992

Series 4, Marketing and Promotional Materials, 1985-1997

Subseries 1, Market Research, 1985-1993 and undated

Subseries 2, Product Literature, circa 1990s

Subseries 3, Advertisements, 1988-1995 and undated

Subseries 4, Press Releases, 1988-1996

Subseries 5, Presentation Materials, 1990-[1997?]

Subseries 6, Newspaper and Magazine Clippings, 1988-1996 and undated

Series 5, User Guides and Manuals, 1989-2005 and undated

Series 6, Financial Materials, 1991-1995 and undated

Series 7, Photographs and Slides, 1987-1995 and undated

Series 8, Audiovisual Materials, 1991-1998 and undated
Biographical / Historical:
Ed Tuck of the Boundary Fund, a venture capital firm specializing in technologies founded the Magellan Systems Corporation in 1986 and served as its director from 1986 to 1993. Tuck assembled the initial team of Norm Hunt, Larry Weill, Val Wong, and Sab Ifune to conduct a feasibility study in early 1986 to pursue commercial markets for products based on global positioning system (GPS) technology. Magellan introduced the first handheld commercial GPS receiver in 1989 and was the first company to make GPS devices affordable to consumers. Magellan introduced the first handheld commercial GPS receiver in 1989 and was the first company to make GPS devices affordable to consumers. The company successfully introduced GPS products into the marine, professional, military and automotive and general aviation markets.

The Global Positioning System (GPS) began as a United States Department of Defense Program in the 1960s with a navy system known as Transit (first satellite navigation system). Two other projects soon followed, Timation (satellite to broadcast accurate time reference) and Air Force Project 612B, which began in the 1970s. In 1973, the development of the Navigation Signal Timing and Ranging Global Positioning System (NAVSTAR) began under the management of the Air Force. Designed by the military, the system provided twenty-four positioning satellites under all- weather conditions using passive (non-transmitting) receivers. This kept a user's presence from being detected as a result of the receiver. Although primarily for military use, the system also offered a less-precise coded signal for civilian use.

GPS uses a group of twenty-four earth-orbiting satellites which broadcast continuously. The data being broadcast can be processed by a portable receiver to determine a user's position, velocity and time. GPS has three parts: 1) space part with twenty-four satellites; 2) ground part with monitor and 3) user part with receivers that process the signals and calculate position.

In the spring of 1986, the Magellan team published a specification for a custom mixed signal RF (radio frequency) integrated circuit and by fall 1986, had a breadboard (used in prototyping of electronics) and began software development and testing. Magellan focused its research, product engineering, and design activities on the development of GPS receivers that were application-specific, software-intensive, reliable, lower power, easy to use, and affordable.

From 1986 to 1988, the Boundary Fund provided the venture capital for feasibility studies and the initital product design. By 1988, the company occupied its first stand-alone facility in Monrovia, California with thirty-five employees. In May 1989, the company's first product, the NAV 1000, shipped, and in that same year, the company entered the military market with the NAV 1000M. The company entered the professional market in January 1990 with the NAV 1000 PRO, the world's first hand-held GPS product. By 1991, Magellan moved to a new facility in Dimas, California and introduced advanced five-channel technology. It also incorporated in the United Kingdom (UK) as Magellan Systems to handle product distribution in the rest of the UK and Europe.

The SkyNAV 5000 was introduced in 1992 for the general aviation market, and in the same year, hand-held differential GPS technology for the marine market appeared. Magellan was purchased by Orbital Sciences Corporation in 1994. In 2001, Thales Group purchased the Magellan division of Orbital Sciences, and the company became known as Thales Navigation. In 2006, a private equity firm, Shah Capital Partners, and other investors purchased Thales Navigation, and the company was officially renamed Magellan Navigation. Magellan (also known as MiTAC Digital Corporation) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of MiTAC International Corporation and promotes and sells products and services under the Magellan brand name. Magellan is headquartered in Santa Clara, California.
Related Materials:
The Division of Work and Industry holds related artifacts (GPS receivers, computer electronics boards, computer chips, antennas, packaging, components, circuit boards, keyboards, a Swiss Army Chip (SAC), and receiver brackets). See Accession numbers 2010.0117; 2010.0118; 2010.0151; 2010.0152; 2010.0153; 2010.0154 and 2010.0155.
Provenance:
Donated to the Archives Center in 2010, by MiTAC Digital Corporation through Michael Williams, Director of Marketing and Gary Barta, Janice Itnyre, Jean Tuck McGregor, Donald Rea, Edward F. Tuck, Lawrence R. Weill, and James P. White.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning intellectual property rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Navigation  Search this
Navigation equipment and supplies  Search this
Global Positioning System  Search this
GPS receivers  Search this
Satellites  Search this
Genre/Form:
Correspondence -- 1950-2000
Notebooks
Correspondence -- 2000-2010
Instructional materials
Design drawings
Photographs -- 1980-2000
Notes
Photographs -- Black-and-white negatives -- 2000-2010
Photographs -- Black-and-white negatives -- 1950-2000
Memorandums -- 1950-2000
Manuals
Memorandums -- 2000-2010
Videocassettes
Reports
Press releases
Reports -- 2000-2010
Advertisements -- 1980-2000
Reports -- 1950-2000
Photographs -- 2000-2010
Clippings -- 2000-2010
Photographs -- Color transparencies -- 2000-2010
Photographs -- Color transparencies -- 1950-2000
Audio cassettes -- 1990-2000
Audio cassettes -- 1980-1990
Clippings -- 1950-2000
Audio cassettes -- 2000-2010
Articles
Advertisements -- 2000-2010
Citation:
Magellan Systems Corporation GPS Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.1214
See more items in:
Magellan Systems Corporation GPS Records
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep827a765bf-f29b-450e-89c1-91d8e5777a4a
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-1214
Online Media:

Fred/Alan MTV Network Advertising Collection

Creator:
Ha! Comedy Network.  Search this
Goodman, Alan  Search this
VH-1.  Search this
Nickelodeon.  Search this
Seibert, Fred  Search this
MTV Network.  Search this
Fred/Alan, Inc.  Search this
Extent:
4 Cubic feet (15 boxes)
Container:
Box 7
Box 8
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographs
Tear sheets
Slides (photographs)
Date:
1981-1992
Summary:
Collection contains advertising and promotional materials primarily created by the Fred/Alan Advertising Agency, 1981-1992, for the MTV Network. Also advertising and promotional materials for Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, VH-1 and Ha! Comedy Networks.
Scope and Contents:
The collection consists of advertising and promotional materials created by the Fred/Alan advertising agency between 1981 and 1992 for the MTV network, which includes Music Television, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, VH-1, and Ha! Comedy Network. Also included are advertising and promotional material for the Disney Channel, the Movie Channel, Showtime, Home Box Office and other Fred/Alan clients including Miller Beer, General Foods and Myers Rum. The materials demonstrate the intersection between American popular culture and advertising in several ways. First, because many of the advertisements were designed for trade publications of the cable television and advertising industries, they reveal some of the thinking behind the cable television industry's attempts to establish and stabilize its market during the 1980s, a decade which witnessed the emergence and spectacular rise of cable programming. Secondly, because MTV Networks began as a commercial proposition to attract a difficult-to-reach teenage audience and later, to capture the baby boom generation, the collection also provides evidence of the 1980s trend toward market segmentation. Finally, both in content and style, MTV Networks pioneered a new aesthetic which has had repercussions throughout American popular culture, and particularly in television programming and advertising.
Arrangement:
the collection is arranged into three series.

Series 1: Print Advertising and Promotional Material

Subseries 1.1: Music Television, 1981-1991

Subseries 1.2: Nickelodeon, 1988-1992

Subseries 1.3: Nick at Nite, 1987-1991

Subseries 1.4: Video Hits-1, 1987-1991

Subseries 1.5: Ha! Comedy Network, 1990-1991

Subseries 1.6: The Disney Channel, 1981

Subseries 1.7: The Movie Channel, 1982

Subseries 1.8: Fred/Alan and other clients, 1987-1989

Series 2: Videotaped Commercials

Series 3: Photographic Materials

Subseries 3.1: 2x2 color slides

Subseries 3.2: Still photos
Provenance:
Collection donated by Fred Seibert, President of the Fred/Alan advertising agency in New York City, February 15, 1992.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Music in advertising -- 1980-2000  Search this
Motion picture producers and directors  Search this
Marketing -- 1980-2000  Search this
Humor in advertising -- 1980-2000  Search this
Copywriters  Search this
advertising -- 1980-2000  Search this
Television advertising -- 1980-2000  Search this
Sex in advertising -- 1980-2000  Search this
Genre/Form:
Photographs -- 1980-2000
Tear sheets -- 1980-2000
Slides (photographs) -- 1980-2000
Citation:
Fred/Alan MTV Network Collection, 1981-1982, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0453
See more items in:
Fred/Alan MTV Network Advertising Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8c7fabd7b-e00e-4178-ad38-125fed9d3b49
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0453
Online Media:

Video Press Kits Collection

Creator:
National Museum of American History (U.S.). Division of Community Life  Search this
Erol's Video Club.  Search this
Extent:
24 Cubic feet (80 boxes, 11 oversized folders)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Advertisements
Posters
Photographs
Press releases
Date:
undated
1935-1993
Summary:
The Video Press Kit Collection contains press kits produced from the late 1970s to the early 1990s for over 5,000 film titles for domestic and foreign productions dating from the 1930s to the early 1990s. This collection was created by Erol's Video Club in Springfield, Virginia. The date span of the collection reflects the release dates of the films profiled in the press kits.
Scope and Contents:
This collection was complied over approximately ten years by the Erol's Video Club in Springfield, Virginia. The Video Press Kit Collection contains an extensive range (over 5,000 titles) of press kits produced from the late 1970s to the late 1980's for domestic and foreign productions. Materials relating to earlier, vintage film and television are included but only as they pertain to their video release. Within each series, the materials are arranged alphabetically according to title. Some composite title press kits were built around a major title; these kits have been filed according to the most prominently displayed title. Not all secondary titles are listed in the finding aid. Folders containing combined advertisements for more than one movie are filed under the title used in the original order of the material as it was received by the Archives Center. The boxes are described giving an alphabetical range of titles contained in that box. Materials may include press releases, publicity stills, posters, clip-art, ad slicks, advertising, product packaging. Dates, when given, are either video release dates or original theatrical release dates, some entries remain undated since it is unclear what date to assign to the press kit or theatrical release. There may be some series' co-mingling due to original order; the researcher is advised to check all series even if on first glance it may not seem to apply to the title being searched. Works bearing the same title but with different release dates may sometimes be filed together under that title.
Arrangement:
The collection is divided into ten series and is arranged alphabetically by video title.

Series 1: Commercial Motion Pictures, 1935-1993, undated, contains press kits relating to the video release for motion pictures that were initially produced for the commercial film market or expressly for a straight-to-video release. They are arranged alphabetically by title and constitute the bulk of the collection.

Series 2: Children, 1985, undated contains titles produced especially to appeal to the children's market. They are arranged alphabetically by title.

Series 3: Documentaries and Educational, 1985, undated contains non-fiction titles produced as either a documentary or for an educational purpose, excepting sports related videos.

Series 4: Instructional, undated contains titles produced for instruction. They are arranged alphabetically by title.

Series 5: Varied Materials, 1985-1993, undated contains a variety of titles and material not easily assigned to any other series and a wide variety of advertising and publicity materials including catalogues, slides, photographs, and ephemera within this series. They are arranged alphabetically by title.

Series 6: Performances, undated contains titles of filmed performances including dance, opera, concerts, and comedy. They are arranged alphabetically by title.

Series 7: Sports and Fitness, 1988, undated contains sports-related titles and fitness videos (i.e., Jane Fonda's Workout). They are arranged alphabetically by title.

Series 8: TV Series, undated contains press kits for video collections of television shows released on video either singly or as part of a collection. They are arranged alphabetically by title.

Series 9: Video Collections, undated contains titles released as a collection, usually centering on a particular performer, director, or genre. They are arranged alphabetically by title.

Series 10: Oversize Materials, 1947-1993, undated contains oversize stand-up displays and quarter, half, and full size posters. They are foldered according to size and titles are listed alphabetically within their respective folders.
Biographical / Historical:
The explosion of the video rental and purchase industry in the 1980s meant that not only would a motion picture, television show, or even a theatrical production, have a revenue-producing first run, it would have a second revenue generating life on video cassette geared to the home viewing market. The growth of the home viewing market also spurred an industry of exclusively made-for-video productions, compilations of popular and vintage television shows, educational and documentary features, and filmed theatrical entertainment. Video "clubs," as retail video tape rental/purchase stores were called, proliferated as the VCR revolution took hold throughout the United States. At first, local independent one-store operations and small chains dominated the market but within a few years, video rental purveyors had been consolidated into larger national and regional chains. Two examples are Erol's Video Club in the east and Blockbuster Video nationwide. As video moved into the 1990s further consolidation of video clubs took place. Erol's Video Club ceased to exist as a separate entity circa 1992 when it was sold to Blockbuster Video.

To help "sell" the video product and assist video clubs in their rental/sale operations, production companies treated many video releases like a traditional first-run theatrical movie release - by preparing a press kit. These kits included some, but not all, of the standard publicity elements: 8x10 glossy photographs, posters, stand-ups, talent biographies and interviews, reviews, ad slicks, and other types of material. Some press kits were quite elaborate while others contained the barest essentials. Elaborate or simple, the goal of the press kit was to place the video product prominently in the viewing public's mind.
Related Materials:
Materials in the Archives Center

Erol's Video Club Collection, 1984-1991 (AC0687)

The collection consists of advertising and promotional materials for Erol's Video, Inc.
Provenance:
Donated to the Division of Cultural History, National Museum of American History from Erol's Video Club in 1993.
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research but boxes 1-83 are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at archivescenter@si.edu or 202-633-3270.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: fees for commercial use. Standard copyright restrictions apply to all copyrighted material.
Topic:
Video recordings industry  Search this
Motion picture industry  Search this
Genre/Form:
Advertisements -- 1980-2000
Posters -- 20th century
Photographs -- 1980-2000
Press releases
Citation:
Video Press Kit Collection, 1935-1993, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0748
See more items in:
Video Press Kits Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep839e27031-1caf-4e1f-92e3-e603e4294625
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0748
Online Media:

Erol's Video Club Collection

Creator:
Wiener, Tom  Search this
Erol's Video Club.  Search this
Extent:
1 Cubic foot (3 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Advertisements
Design drawings
Catalogs
Posters
Newsletters
Date:
1984-1991
Summary:
Advertising and promotional materials for Erol's Video Club. Includes a calendar with advertising and coupons, two binders of member newsletters, newspapers, original design drawings for advertising, and posters.
Scope and Contents note:
The collection consists of advertising and promotional materials for Erol's Video, Inc. Materials include Series 1: The Erol's Video Club Newsletter, 1984-1985, which contains features of the month and items for sale.

Series 2: The Erol's Video Club Newspaper, 1986-1988, features video rentals, tapes for sale, video services, a gift tape guide, rental guide, and coming attractions.

Series 3: Advertising Materials, 1991, undated consist of a calendar, posters, original artwork, and one black and white photo promoting Erol's and it's video products.
Arrangement:
Divided into 3 series: (1) Erol's Video Club Newsletter; (2) Erol's Video Club Product Newspaper; (3) Advertising Materials.
Biographical/Historical note:
A Washington, D.C. area videocassette rental club, founded in 1963. It was later sold to Blockbuster Video.
Provenance:
Collection donated by Erol's Video Club.
Restrictions:
Unrestricted research access on site by appointment.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Motion picture industry  Search this
Customer clubs  Search this
Video recordings industry  Search this
Genre/Form:
Advertisements -- 1980-2000
Design drawings
Catalogs
Posters -- 20th century
Newsletters
Citation:
Erol's Video Club Collection, 1984-1991, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0687
See more items in:
Erol's Video Club Collection
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep8036b765f-d559-4b74-bbae-6feceb5fdb39
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0687

Records of Wedge Innovations

Interviewer:
Shayt, David H.  Search this
Creator:
Wedge Innovations  Search this
Extent:
13 Cubic feet (28 boxes, 5 oversized folders)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Videotapes
Notebooks
Oral histories (document genres)
Audiotapes
Financial records
Financial statements
Interviews
Correspondence
Photographs
Drawings
Advertisements
Date:
1985-1996
Summary:
The records of Wedge Innovations document the invention and development of a new hand tool, the SmartLevel, an electronic builder's level; also included are company management and policies.
Scope and Contents:
The SmartLevel story gives excellent insight into the life cycle of a small Silicon valley start-up in the 1980s. SmartLevel's creator, Wedge Innovations, established a market for a new product, achieved national distribution, off-shore manufacturing, and product licensing, before going out of business due to pressure from profit-hungry venture capitalists.

The records of Wedge Innovations is a "tool biography" that documents the invention and development of a new hand tool, the SmartLevel, an electronic builder's level first conceived in 1985 by Andrew Butler. The SmartLevel Collection is divided into seven series: Corporate Records, Engineering Records, Financial Records, Marketing Records, Operations Records, Product Development Records, and Corporate Culture, reflecting both the organizational structure of Wedge Innovations and the company's working environment.

Series 1, Corporate Records, 1985-1993, address the overall management of Wedge Innovations and document its policies, especially through the company's annual business plans, 1986-1992, and the monthly reports prepared for the Board of Directors' meetings, 1989-1992. This series also details the workings of each department through weekly departmental reports. The staff meetings files, July-November 1989, February 1990-November 1992, are particularly useful for understanding the day-to-day operation of the company.

Series 2, Engineering Records, 1985-1993, document the design and development of the SmartLevel from its conception in 1985 as the WedgeLevel, through its production as the SmartLevel in 1989, and through its refinement into the Pro SmartLevel and the Series 200 SmartLevel in 1991. The design process is particularly well documented through Andrew Butler's and Kevin Reeder's design notebooks and through the detailed technical drawings done by Butler, Reeder, and Ronald Wisnia. Also well documented are the efforts made to solve the many problems associated with the development and quality control of the electronic sensor module that was the heart of the SmartLevel.

Series 3, Financial Records, 1985-1992, include Wedge's summary financial statements from 1985 to 1992.

Series 4, Marketing Records, 1986-1992, document customer and dealer relations through marketing department correspondence, operational records, and advertising campaigns. This series is particularly rich in promotional material (1988-1992), such as advertisements, advertising copy, photographs, product promotion plans, and videotapes that demonstrate the varied features and uses of the products.

Series 5, Operations Records, 1990-1993, document the manufacturing process and the Company's offshore operations.

Series 6, Product Development Records, 1986-1993, document the company's intended development of an entire "Smart Tools" line.

Series 7, Corporate Culture, 1985-1996, contains employee photographs and oral history interviews with key Wedge personnel conducted in 1995 and 1996 by David Shayt, Division of Work and Industry, National Museum of American History. The interviews discuss the background of the participants, the company's origins and history, product development, the Silicon Valley context, and the efforts of Wedge Innovations successor firm, SmartTool Technologies.
Arrangement:
The collection organized into seven series.

Series 1, Corporate Records, 1985-1993

Series 2, Engineering Records, 1985-1993

Series 3, Financial Records, 1985-1992

Series 4, Marketing Records, 1986-1992

Series 5, Operations Records, 1990-1993

Series 6, Product Development Records, 1986-1993

Series 7, Corporate Culture, 1985-1996
Biographical / Historical:
Andrew G. Butler (b. 1955), the founder of Wedge Innovations exhibited an interest in building construction and an entrepreneurial spirit early in life. From age 12 to 17 he built a boat that he then sailed alone from California to Tahiti, where he spent several years as an independent carpenter and building contractor. After returning to the United States, he earned a B.S. degree in electromechanical engineering from Stanford University (1983) and became a software specialist for Bechtel Construction. In 1985, he conceived of an idea for an electronic carpenter's level that could read a range of angles. Butler formed Wedge Innovations in 1986. He worked in the basement of his home in order to develop and market this level, selling his boat to finance the venture. He hired Marilyn Crowell as his secretary and Robert Nagle and Dan Kellogg as engineers. This company developed the sensor technology and software necessary to build the company's first product, the WedgeLevel. The heart of this tool was an electronic sensor circuit connected to a microprocessor capable of measuring the tool's orientation. This sensor module fit into an ergonomically-designed teak rail with anodized aluminum edges jointly developed by Butler, engineering design consultant Kevin Reeder, and engineer Ronald Wisnia.

In 1987, Wedge moved to Santa Clara to begin manufacturing the WedgeLevel. The transition from a research and development concern to a manufacturing company proved difficult, due to manufacturing and financial difficulties. It was difficult to obtain a reliable yet inexpensive source of teak for the rails, designs for a plastic composite and aluminum rail were developed, while offshore manufacturing of the sensor components was established. Overarching all concerns was the persistent difficulty of obtaining sufficient investment capital. While managing his growing company, Butler also began planning for a line of hand tools that combined microelectronics and user-oriented, ergonomic design. In 1988, the company changed the name of its product to SmartLevel in order to emphasize the company's proposed line of Smart Tools. That same year, the company adopted a new corporate logo, a stylized W with a red wedge, signaling its growing maturity. Promotion of the product also began through demonstrations of the prototype done by consultant building contractor, Rick Feffer.

In January 1989, the SmartLevel prototype was launched at the National Association of Home Builders Show in Atlanta, Georgia. The favorable publicity generated by this launch and by the company's media campaign generated many orders. To supply these orders, Wedge moved to larger quarters in Sunnyvale on April 1, 1989. In June 1989, Wedge gained further publicity by donating several SmartLevels to a Habitat for Humanity project in Milwaukee, where former president Jimmy Carter used one. Although Wedge expected to ship the first SmartLevels in July 1989, there were considerable delays in manufacturing. In particular, there were stability and performance problems with the sensor, which engineer Ken Gunderson was brought in to remedy. The sensor module was re-engineered to be more rugged and the level was redesigned with a plastic composite and aluminum rail. The new level, known as the Pro SmartLevel, was intended for the professional construction market. The first SmartLevels were shipped on September 5, 1989.

In 1990, patents were granted to Andrew Butler, Donald G. Green, and Robert E. Nagle for an inclinometer sensor circuit and to Butler and Ronald Wisnia for a carpenter's level design. That same year, Brian Bayley joined Wedge as Vice-president for Engineering, and Edwin "Win" Seipp joined as Project Manager - DIY SmartLevel. Seipp's responsibility was to develop a low-cost, "do-it-yourself" version of the SmartLevel, which was eventually called the Series 200 SmartLevel. This level had an all-aluminum rail and a non-removable sensor.

In September 1990, the company moved to San Jose and by 1991 had over 60 employees. Although sales continued to grow and name recognition of the product was quite strong, Wedge had difficulty meeting the expectations of its investors. Butler entered into financial negotiations with the Macklanburg-Duncan Corporation, a large-scale manufacturer of hand tools, to seek investment in his company. These negotiations led in November 1992 to the acquisition of Wedge by Macklanburg-Duncan, which dissolved all but Wedge's engineering section. Macklanburg-Duncan today manufactures a "SmartTool" level, while Butler co-owns D2M (Design To Market), a company that develops new product ideas for the market.

SmartLevel Chronology

1992 -- Butler negotiates with Macklanburg-Duncan for a merger to save Wedge. In the midst of the negotiations, Butler is fired by his Board of Directors. Butler regains control of Wedge three months later, fires the replacement president, and sells Wedge outright to Macklanburg-Duncan, which dissolves all but the engineering functions of Wedge.

1991 -- Wedge sponsors a "New Product Development Conference," where numerous designs for new hand tools are worked on. SmartLevel sales and name recognition grows but not quickly enough to meet overhead expenses of new facility or investors' demands.

1990 -- Yet more redesign work, both in-house and with Kevin Reeder, who also develops idea for "SmartTube" carrying case (not built). Patents granted to Andy Butler et al. for inclinometer sensor circuit and carpenter's level design. Wedge hires Brian Bayley as vice-president for engineering to develop a low-cost model of the SmartLevel. The all-aluminum Series 200 SmartLevel is born. Wedge moves to larger facilities in San Jose.

1989 -- SmartLevel launched at National Association of Home Builders show in January. Good press coverage, but cannot meet orders. More publicity from Habitat for Humanity project when former President Jimmy Carter uses a SmartLevel. But stability and performance problems plague sensor. More redesign work results in more rugged Pro SmartLevel. The first SmartLevels shipped on September 5, 1989.

1987-1988 -- Wedge moves to Santa Clara; intends to begin manufacturing and todevelop an entire line of "Smart Tools" but encounters financial and engineering difficulties; Wedge consults with independent design engineer, Kevin Reeder, on level design. Intensive redesign effort develops the SmartLevel, made of plastic and aluminum rail.

1986 -- Wedge Innovations founded in the basement of Butler's house; basic sensor design worked out; teak & aluminum WedgeLevel developed.

1985 -- Idea for electronic carpenter's level formulated by Andy Butler.
Related Materials:
Materials at the National Museum of American History

The Division of Work and Industry, National Museum of American History contains artifacts related to the SmartLevel Collection. These include five SmartLevels (Accession #1991.0823; 1996.0284; 1996.0285; 1996.0288; and 1996.0289). They are an original teak WedgeLevel, a Pro SmartLevel, a Series 200 SmartLevel, a Bosch version of the SmartLevel, and a Macklanburg-Duncan SmartTool level. There are also four sensor modules (torpedo levels), two sensors, two carrying cases, one cap, one tee shirt, and one wooden puzzle with the inscription "The World Isn't Just Level and Plumb."
Provenance:
The collection was donated by Andrew Butler, SmartLevel inventor and company founder, Brian Bayley, Vice-President for engineering at Wedge Innovations from 1989-1992, and Kevin Reeder, an independent industrial designer, 1995-1997.
Restrictions:
The collection is open for research use.
Rights:
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning intellectual property rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Topic:
Product demonstrations -- 1980-2000  Search this
Technological innovations -- Hand tools -- 1980-2000  Search this
Electronics -- Tools and implements -- 1980-2000  Search this
Industrial design -- 1980-2000  Search this
Leveling -- 1980-2000  Search this
Teak -- Use of -- 1980-2000  Search this
Level indicators -- 1980-2000  Search this
Venture capital -- 1980-2000 -- United States  Search this
Silicon Valley -- 1980-2000  Search this
Tools -- 1980-2000 -- United States  Search this
Small business -- Management -- 1980-2000  Search this
Investors -- 1980-2000  Search this
Inventors -- 1980-2000  Search this
Engineers -- 1980-2000  Search this
Industrial designers -- 1980-2000  Search this
advertising -- Tools -- 1980-2000  Search this
Carpenters -- 1980-2000  Search this
Carpentry -- Tools -- 1980-2000  Search this
Merchandise displays  Search this
Genre/Form:
Videotapes
Notebooks -- 1980-2000
Oral histories (document genres) -- 1990-2000
Audiotapes
Financial records -- 1980-2000
Financial statements -- 1980-2000
Interviews -- 1980-2000
Correspondence -- 1970-2000
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin -- 1980-2000
Drawings -- 1980-2000
Advertisements -- 1980-2000
Photographs -- Black-and-white photoprints -- Silver gelatin -- 1950-2000
Citation:
The Records of Wedge Innovations, 1985-1996, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
NMAH.AC.0534
See more items in:
Records of Wedge Innovations
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ep895b7b396-3a34-4459-9d3f-83d3003a1cf8
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-0534
Online Media:

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