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Philip Van Horn (P. V. H.) Weems Papers

Creator:
Weems, Philip Van Horn (P. V. H.)  Search this
Extent:
101.81 Cubic feet ( 209 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Correspondence
Scrapbooks
Photographs
Charts
Business records
Articles
Date:
circa 1905-circa 2005
Summary:
The Philip Van Horn (P. V. H. ) Weems Papers contain 79 cu. ft. of materials related to his life and career.
Scope and Contents:
The Philip Van Horn (P. V. H.) Weems Papers reflect Weems' broad, restless curiosity regarding undersea, marine, aerial and space navigation. Weems' significant contributions as a great innovator and proponent of navigational techniques, practices and devices are quite evident in this collection.

Overall, this collection encompasses the years Weems spent as an officer in the U.S. Navy, with his firm, the Weems System of Navigation (WSN), as well as other navigation and non-navigation activities, roughly, from the 1910s through the 1960s. There is some material however, that dates back prior to and beyond this time span. The bulk of the collection is composed of correspondence; most of it related to Weems' involvement in the field of navigation. That said, there is a large amount of other types of archival materials contained which range from photographs, brochures, newsletters, articles and newspaper clippings to press releases, notes, handbooks and manuals. Additionally, there are drafts of papers and articles authored by Weems and other navigational notables. Undoubtedly due to Weems' long life span of ninety years and in combination with his quite varied interests, there are even more kinds of materials threaded throughout this collection.

Very little of the Weems Papers was in any discernable order upon its acquisition by the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) Archives Division. Accordingly, the processing archivist had to organize this large amount of archival material; some of it placed in decades-old file folders while much of it was found loose and unsorted in boxes. As a result, much time was required to simply rebox, refolder and arrange such a great deal of unorganized materials.

This collection is arranged into three series. The first series is composed of personal materials that include correspondence, memoranda, journals, diaries, newsletters on the Weems family, photographs and miscellaneous materials. Each type of archival material is organized chronologically and then alphabetically. The second series consists of professional materials and is by far and away the largest segment of the Weems Papers. Within this series, correspondence is the preponderant material. This series is arranged as follows: Weems' military correspondence (including his return to service during World War II and the early 1960s), WSN correspondence from the late 1920s to the 1950s, general correspondence, memoranda, notes, drafts and worksheets, WSN-related receipts and records, logbooks, notebooks and lesson books, tables, graphs and diagrams, press/news releases, reports, handouts and briefings, manuals, handbooks, procedures and instructions, photographs, speeches and presentations, papers, brochures, pamphlets and catalogs, newsletters, notices and advertisements, books, booklets, registers and guidebooks, maps and charts, magazines and journals, articles, newspaper clippings, and miscellaneous materials. All of the above material is arranged chronologically and then alphabetically. The third series is composed of oversize materials. This material consists of photo albums, scrapbooks, oversized magazines, newspapers, drawings, blueprints, and miscellaneous materials.
Biographical / Historical:
Philip Van Horn (P.V.H.) Weems was born on March 29, 1889, on a farm in Tennessee. By age 13, both of Weems' parents died, leaving him and his six siblings to run the family farm with a minimum of help from adult neighbors. In spite of a poor primary education. Weems was able to secure admission into the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland in 1908. Academically, he performed at a slightly above average grade level but excelled in athletics, being on the varsity crew, football and wrestling teams. Upon graduation from the Naval Academy in 1912, Weems started his sea duty aboard the USS North Dakota. Following that assignment, he served aboard the survey vessel Leonidas, Nevada and Georgia. During World War I, Weems acted as chief engineer for the troop transport Orizaba (for which he received the Navy Commendation Medal for his excellent service aboard this ship).After the war, he served aboard the destroyers Murray and O'Brien. Weems' sea duty aboard the latter vessel proved significant as the O'Brien was employed by the Navy as a picket ship for the first trans-Atlantic flight by the Curtiss NC-4 flying boat in 1919. During this major achievement in aviation, he served as ship's executive officer and thus, began his long association with aerial navigation.

As Weems' naval career advanced, so too did other aspects of his life. In 1915, he married Margaret Thackray. This marriage would prove durable as it would last until his death over 60 years later. Additionally, three children resulted from this union: Philip, Jr. (born in 1916), Margaret (born in 1919), and George (born in 1921). Eventually, both sons followed their father into military careers with the older of the two serving with the U.S. Marine Corps while the younger one made his career with the Navy. Another aspect of Weems' personal life was his great athletic prowess. During his days at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, he was an All-American center for the football team, as well as an outstanding wrestler, being awarded the Athletic Association's Sword for excellence in athletics upon graduation. After graduation, and for years thereafter, Weems continued on as a competitive athlete. In 1920, he was a member of the U.S. Olympic wrestling team that traveled to Antwerp, Belgium. Five years later, at age 36, he won the U.S. Navy's South Atlantic light-heavyweight wrestling championship. Even 30 years later, Weems would still challenge varsity wrestlers at the Naval Academy gymnasium.

By the end of World War I, Weems had been promoted to Lieutenant Commander. From 1922-24, he served as navigator aboard the USS Rochester. It was during this tour of duty that he started in earnest to study the field of navigation. Such efforts included not only marine but also aerial navigation techniques and practices. He further honed his knowledge and skills on this subject by acting as an instructor of navigation at the Naval Academy from 1925-26.

During this time as an instructor at Annapolis, Weems came across a set of Japanese navigational tables. With assistance from a fellow naval officer, Weems greatly improved upon this innovative yet incomplete method of navigation. Upon receiving permission from the original author in Japan, he eventually published this new version of these navigational tables in conjunction with the Naval Institute. This work, called the Line of Position Book, proved very popular and promptly sold out within a matter of months. Thus, by 1927, Weems was developing into one of the world's leading experts in modern navigation techniques. He would go on to exploit his navigational knowledge for the benefit of the burgeoning aviation field. This process began in earnest in late 1927 to early 1928 when he was ordered to the U.S. west coast to serve with the Pacific Fleet's Aircraft Squadron. Once there, Weems started extensive research into air navigation, later publishing a textbook with that actual title. During this time, he – along with his wife, founded the Weems System of Navigation (WSN). This business enterprise not only incorporated his thoughts, techniques and practices; it also operated as a clearing house for new theories and technologies pertaining to marine and aerial navigation. Further, WSN functioned as a navigational school (including a correspondence school format) for thousands of pilots throughout the U.S. and around the world. Such aviation luminaries as Charles Lindbergh, Douglas 'Wrong-Way' Corrigan, Amy Johnson, Dick Merrill, Admiral Richard Byrd, Harold Gatty, Fred Noonan, Wiley Post and Lincoln Ellsworth availed themselves of Weems' navigational instruction. In the years leading up to her disappearance during an around-the-world flight attempt in 1937, he had repeatedly offered such assistance to Amelia Earhart who – for the reason of scheduling conflicts, could never take advantage of such opportunities. Additionally, WSN churned out numerous articles, instructional handbooks and books on all matters revolving around aerial navigation.

With extensive assistance from his wife, Weems operated WSN while still on active duty with the U.S. Navy, during the period 1928-33. As he continued to perfect his navigational techniques, he served as executive officer aboard the fuel ship, USS Cuyama, from early 1928 through the summer of 1930. A year later, he was assigned to the Naval Academy on shore duty at the Postgraduate School. Subsequently, he was ordered to the Navy Department as Research Officer in Air Navigation – the first such officer tasked with this position. In late 1932, Weems took command of the destroyer, USS Hopkins and then was retired from the service in May, 1933.

Once retired from naval service, Weems expanded his business enterprises. His base of operations was in Annapolis, where he, Margaret and their children lived. He established a chain of schools under the banner of WSN. In tandem with his educational program, he developed and patented a number of methods and devices that greatly facilitated marine and aerial navigation. Even before leaving the service, Weems had already invented the highly prized Second-Setting Navigation Watch. Throughout the 1930s, his inventions/patents ran the gamut from Star Altitude Curves (which were published navigation tables), Mark II Plotter, Line of Position and Wind Drift Plotters to Drift and Ground Speed Meters. Weems also authored or co-authored numerous books, handbooks, manuals and articles on a variety of navigation themes. Besides his previously published Line of Position Book, he authored Air Navigation in 1931, updated editions of his Star Altitude Curves (1938, 1940 and 1950), Instrument Flying in 1940 (with co-author, Charles Zweng), Marine Navigation in 1940 and Learning to Navigate in 1943.

America's entry into World War II resulted in WSN becoming even busier with its educational programs and sales of its various navigational devices and publications. In addition, the outbreak of war meant a major change in Weems' life. Due to a shortage of naval officers, he was recalled to active duty (as a Lieutenant Commander) in July, 1942. Two months later, Weems was made a convoy commodore for the Atlantic Ocean theater of operations. For the next three years, he served with distinction in this position, having safely shepherded every merchant convoy on the trans-Atlantic run, guaranteeing that necessary supplies, arms and troops arrived safely at European and African ports. As a result of this outstanding performance, Weems was quickly promoted to Commander and then Captain. By the time he retired from active duty again in early 1946, Weems was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his actions in World War II. Before the war ended, he was also awarded his wings as a Naval Air Navigator. During his wartime service, his wife once again took the lead in managing WSN. Also, during this period, the Weemses lost their son, Philip, Jr. He was killed while serving as a Major with the U.S. Marine Corps in the Southwest Pacific in June, 1943.

After World War II and upon his second retirement from naval service, Weems continued with WSN and other business ventures. This included helping to establish Aeronautical Services, Inc., as well as Weems and Plath, Inc. The former enterprise focused on aviation-related matters while the latter stressed marine navigation. In addition, he continued with his writing about various navigational topics and inventing new techniques and devices pertaining to marine and aerial navigation. This included the Weems Position Finder in 1959 and a revising of his earlier publication, Air Navigation, in 1958. Beyond this, he co-founded and became president of the U.S. Institute of Navigation in 1952, made a flight over the North Pole in 1948 and an around-the-world flight two years later – both times actively participating in the aerial navigation of these risky (at the time) ventures. Shortly before his son's death during a test flight of a U.S. Navy aircraft in 1951, he and George made a long aerial journey in a light plane from London, England to Alice Springs, Australia, with the elder Weems performing the navigation and the younger Weems acting as pilot. Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, Weems even found time to participate in various underwater archeological expeditions with Ed Link (of flight simulator and submersible design fame). In 1959, he joined with Link, the National Geographic Society and the Smithsonian Institution to conduct an undersea exploration of the sunken city of Port Royal, Jamaica, lost during an earthquake in 1692. The following year, Weems participated in another adventure with Link in Israel by exploring another sunken city, Caesaria. The 'inner space' navigation techniques he developed were employed during all such underwater archeological expeditions.

In 1960, Weems received a grant from the American Philosophical Society to develop practical methods of space navigation, to be described in a handbook for use in space operations as the U.S. initiated its attempt to place humans in Earth orbit. Most of the work on this book was completed when the Navy Department ordered the Captain to active duty for a third, and last, time in 1961. He was assigned the task of conducting a pilot class in space navigation (held at the Naval Academy), as well as to produce a Space Navigation Handbook. With the assistance from several of his young students (all U.S. Navy ensigns), Weems published this handbook in early 1962. His research proved invaluable as he developed a quick way for astronauts to determine their position relative to Earth by utilizing a few visual sightings. He continued his contributions to space navigation by serving as a consultant for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Thus, by his seventies, Weems was an established expert in undersea, marine, aerial and space navigation. He had few peers anywhere on Earth in such fields of study.

Besides medals earned for his years of service in the U.S. Navy during World War I and World War II, Weems garnered many other awards and honors for his work in navigation. Among them are the following: The Thomas Gray Award from the Royal Society of Arts, England; the Gold Medal from the Aero Club of France; Fellow, Institute of Aeronautical Sciences; Fellow, American Geographical Society; the Magellanic Premium (Gold Medal) of the American Philosophical Society; the LaGorce Medal from the National Geographic Society; the Thurlow Award from the Institute of Navigation; and the Gold Medal of the British Institute of Navigation.

Beyond his career, Weems possessed a keen interest in many other subjects. Throughout most of his life, he stayed active and engaged in city of Annapolis politics, the U.S. Naval Academy, boating, yachting, retired Olympian affairs, history of all sorts, and genealogy. Furthermore, he was a regular donor of navigation-related artifacts and documents to the Smithsonian Institution's National Air Museum (and, later on, the National Air and Space Museum), as well as various historical associations and libraries from his home state of Tennessee. After a brief illness, Weems died at Annapolis' Anne Arundel Hospital on June 2, 1979, at the age of 90.
Provenance:
Thackray Seznec, Gift, 2012
Restrictions:
No restrictions on access.
Rights:
Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests.
Topic:
Navigation  Search this
Aeronautics  Search this
Navigation equipment and supplies  Search this
Weems School of Navigation  Search this
Genre/Form:
Correspondence
Scrapbooks
Photographs
Charts
Business records
Articles
Citation:
Philip Van Horn (P. V. H.) Weems Papers, Accession 2012.0052, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
NASM.2012.0052
See more items in:
Philip Van Horn (P. V. H.) Weems Papers
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nasm-2012-0052

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
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nmah-ac-1214
Online Media:

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