HP Memory Project - Going Forward

small logo


Back to Table of Contents


3 - Exhibiting 60 years of Science and Technology contributions


Drawings by Christian BUIS

A Show Place: Why, What & How?


WHY: Because the Hewlett Packard Success Story is a story worth telling, and a story worth understanding.

WHAT: It deserves a place to honor and remember the individual innovative contributions that built this organization, and a way to share them.

A proud home befitting the quality of the collection. Allowing students, scientists and passionate fans, access to an unparalleled portfolio of inventions and innovations made by HP during the last 70 years.

HOW: By taking advantage of the first 15 years of work on the HP Memory Project,

The combination of all the elements listed in the previous chapter prove that the HP Memory Project is one of the most historically significant HP archives remaining, of both physical hardware and substantial quantities of documentation. However, the project is not just a collection. It is also an ambitious work focused on the preservation of the history of a company which focused on innovation.

How could these resources be better utilized in a more relevant place? Such an exhibition could be constructed in many different ways. This chapter, will develop some of our thoughts on trying to accomplish that objective.



From the beginning of this project, we have always thought that if such a place were to be built, it must not be seen as a Museum with antiques on pedestals, but as a showroom displaying Progress and the methods HP used to create state of the art technology.

The showplace is imagined as a walk through time. Travelling from engineering “bench” to “bench” witnessing progress in technology, with the flavor of changing times and styles. Each exhibit would be fitted with working instrumentation highlighting the best available technology along with period furnishings and accessories.

A very simplified illustration of this concept is shown in the animation above.

Between the booths, information relative to the "scene" will be offered to the visitor through their choice of presentation media (to be discussed later). Many variations of visitor assistance are envisaged, from the simplest information panel, to the most sophisticated interactive technologies, and even volunteer-manned displays. As well, many different types of information can be delivered through this media:

  • Variable detail in technical description of important products and technology (from original documents, HP-Journal, App. Notes etc...)
  • Innovation brought about by a specific product
  • Impact of the innovation on the technology and engineering at large
  • Designer's original notes relative to the products from their own writing. Many such writings have already been collected and published on the HP Memory Website. Accurate and meaningful information can't have a better source than the original designer.


In Practice:

Six booths would be a minimum, thus dividing the overall story into approximately six decades. A minimum length of 13 feet for each booth, and 7 feet between them would be necessary.

The booths could be arranged in different ways depending on the space available, and the shape of the room which will host the full exhibition. Three main kinds of arrangements could be envisaged:

  1. Linear, for a total length of approximately 100 feet, and a required floor space of 3500 square feet.
  2. In a "U" shape. For a total floor space of approximately 5300 square feet.
  3. In a semi-circle shape. For at least 7500 square feet.

The in line option would create a long showcase to look at, while walking along a long wall. The "U" and semi-circle shapes would be a choice also, giving a panoramic overview of the full timeline at first glance, but would increase the overall needed space.


In Line
Semi Circle
U Shape


Inside each booth, individual pieces of equipment on display could be temporarily enhanced by a small floodlight while details about the product would be available to the visitor by a recorded audio, and/or video message.

Another possible approach would be to give the visitor control of the available information via a control screen facing the booth. Dedicated Web pages accessed from these control screens will give a choice of informational items as discussed in the Concept chapter above. As a guide, we refer to some displays at the Computer History Museum, which use active video signage, allowing static messages as well as supporting video.

It is important to note that a large part of this work has already been done during the construction of the HP Memory Website. Most of the necessary products have already been photographed, and original documents have been scanned. Even some existing animations could be used as-is, to improve the quality of the information available. Some examples below:

In a real installation, it would be easy to have it fully automated using Hewlett-Packard equipment and Agilent VEE Pro software controlling already available HP automation hardware.


A short-form, non-exhaustive, listing of the key products and related technologies to be exhibited and demonstrated can be seen in the tables below. The tables have been constructed according to the suggested six decade timeline. All products listed are included in the HP Memory collection, excepted those marked with (*)


The 1940s
Date Innovation Product
1939 Improving Audio Signal Generator quality, at a surprisingly low price HP 200A/200B
1943 Offering better insights into signal distortion and multiple signal applications Low Frequency Signal Quality Analysis - Distortion HP 300A
1944 Improving in-house Frequency Reference accuracy HP 100A/100B
1945 Introduced the first Electronic Frequency Meter HP 500A
1945 Improving accuracy of Very High Frequency voltage measurement HP 410A
1940s Dramatically extending the performance and range of power and frequency in electronic signal generation HP 200 series
1948 Introduced the first Test Oscillator covering the entire Audio to Video Frequency Range HP 650A
1948 Exploiting the microwave technology that emerged from WWII systems HP 616A
The 1950s
Date Innovation Product
1950 Improving accuracy and simplifying analysis of RF and VHF networks - Direct reading of Magnitude and Phase HP 803A - HP 417A
1950 Extending the range of signal generation from Audio to UHF HP 608A
1952 Invented the first High Frequency Electronic Counter HP 524A
1955 Drastically extending the range of Frequency Counters to the microwave spectrum with harmonic mixing Transfer Oscillator HP 540A
1958 Improving accuracy and frequency range of DC to Microwave Power Measurement HP 434A
1959 Improving accuracy and resolution of low frequency signal analysis HP 302A
1959 Automating Digital Voltage Measurements HP 405AR
1959 Simplifying DC Current Measurements HP 428A
The 1960s
Date Innovation Product
1960s HP-Labs Developing new components for improved electronic circuit performances Hot-Carrier
Step Recovery
1960 Invented the sampling technology enabling for ultra-large bandwidth oscilloscopes of the future HP 185A
1963 Improving Frequency Synthesizer technology HP 5100A
1964 Invented the first transportable Cesium-beam Atomic Clock HP 5060A
1964 Improving range and accuracy of Microwave Signal Analysis HP 8551A
1966 Automating tedious Component Measurement of R, L, and C HP 4260A
1966 Introduced Vector Impedance Measurement for RF to UHF HP 4815A - 8405A
1966 Introduced the first go-anywhere, do-anything computer HP 2116A
1966 HP-Labs develop the first commercially available light-emitting diode HP LEDs
1967 Innovation in Microwave Network Analysis HP 8410A
1968 Introduced the First programmable scientific desktop calculator HP 9100A
1969 Introduced a generation of Spectrum Analyzers which become the industry standard for the next 10 years HP 141T-855X
The 1970s
Date Innovation Product
1970 Introduced the first computing counter HP 5360A
1971 Introduced the most sophisticated "Q" Meter ever built HP 4342A
1971 Introduced a laser interferometer capable of measuring to millionths of an inch HP 5501A
1972 Introducing the first Microwave Link Analyzer, which became the industry reference for evolving telecommunication microwave links HP 3702A
1972 Introduced the first "No Tuning" Broadband microwave counter (1Hz - 18 GHz) HP 5340A
1972 Introduced the first pocket scientific calculator HP-35
1973 Introduced a new standard in microwave power measurement HP 435A - 848X power probes
1973 Introduced a new standard in RF, VHF, UHF general purpose signal sources HP 8640A/B
1973 Introducing the first tools dedicated to logic circuitry servicing HP 105XX Logic Probes
1975 Introducing the first programmable pocket scientific calculator HP-65
1975 Standardization of the Hewlett Packard Interface Bus as an international standard HP-IB
1975 Introduced the first Logic State Analyzer HP 1601L
1977 Extending the frequency coverage of synthesized signal sources to the microwave spectrum HP 8672A
1978 Invented a new concept to help debug complex logic circuitry (signature analysis) HP 5004A
1978 Introduced the first automatic spectrum analyzer HP 8568A
The 1980s
Date Innovation Product
1980 Introduced the world lowest phase noise signal source HP 8662A
1980 Introduced the first Microprocessor Development System HP 64000
1980 Introduced the first commercial Laser Printer for general office use HP 2680A *
1981 Produced the first microcircuit made of 600,000 transistors with NMOS-III technology NMOS-III
1981 Introduced the first Color Graphic Desktop Computer HP 9845C
1981 Introduced the first compact low-cost Personal Computer with integrated thermal printer, magnetic tape storage, and ROM resident Basic Language HP 85A
1981 Introduced a new line of large, drafting-quality Plotters HP 7580/85
1982 Introduced the first fully programmable Digital Oscilloscope HP 1980A/B
1984 Introduced the first commercial Desktop Laser Printer LaserJet
1984 Launched the first inkjet printer based on the thermal inkjet technology developed by HP Labs in the 1970s HP 2225
1985 Introduced a new generation of Microwave Automatic Network Analyzers HP 8510A
1986 Introduced the first generation of PA-RISC Workstations HP 9000/S800
1986 Introduced the first generation of 3D Graphic Workstations, with Starbase Graphics Library HP SRX
1988 Introduced the first combined Spectrum/Network Analyzer HP 4195A
1989 Produced custom VLSI to deliver enhanced performance to earlier graphics subsystem design Turbo SRX
1989 Introduced a new generation of Digital Data Storage (DDS) drives using an helical scan tape technology HP DDS
The 1990s
Date Innovation Product
1990 Introduced a new generation of Digitizing Oscilloscopes with up to 500 MHz bandwidth HP 54XXX
1990 Introduced a set of integrated hardware and software products for network management HP OpenView
1990 Introduced the first A3, 180 dpi Color Inkjet Printer PaintJet XL
1991 Introduced the first Color Desktop Printer using fundamental color (sRGB) compression and half-toning algorithms HP DeskJet 500C
1991 Upgraged the 8510 Network Analyzer with last generation microprocessor for increased computing power HP 8510C
1992 Introduced a Visual Engineering Environment for test software development HP VEE
1992 Introduced the new concept of Frequency Domain Analysis HP 53310A
1992 Introduced a new product line of instruments based on the VXI Standard for test and measurement system architecture HP VXI bus
1994 Introduced a Collaborative Multimedia Environment for HP 9000, Series 700 and 800 Workstations HP MPower
1994 Introduced a third-generation HP Thermal Color Inkjet printhead with "Laser-Comparable" resolution HP 1200C
1994 Introduced the 64-Bit architecture (Itanium) that eventually becomes Intel's next-generation Itanium architecture launched in 2001 HP Itanium *
1995 Introduced a Dynamic Modeling Software for Three-Dimensional computer-aided design SolidDesigner
1996 Introduced a collection of software algorithms to use the Global Positioning System (GPS) as a source of timing and frequency reference HP SmartClock
1996 Produced the World highest luminosity Light Emiting Diode Power LED
1997 Innovations in digital photography technology (adaptive lighting, color balance, automatic red-eye removal, and "custom photo lab" inside HP cameras. HP Cameras



More on Demand


Basically, Hewlett Packard's achievements can be exhibited in any place where the illustration of technology growth is the objective. The HP Memory Project could deliver everything necessary for a Hewlett Packard display in such an exhibition.

Hosting and maintaining the project described above would require considerable funding. Hopefully, if a project with this level of sophistication could find sponsors, there would be no limit to the variety of configurations which could utilize the currently available resources.

The main objective of this presentation was to present a review of all available resources that the HP Memory Project has collected during its first 15 years of activity, and to suggest possible future evolution. Additionally, this presentation hopes to raise awareness among interested parties, and we will be glad to deliver more information to any request coming from any serious organization who could become active partners in the project, and who would be willing to benefit from the work already done.

Please use the contact us form below:



Your Name:

Your Email Address:


Table of Contents:



About Us | Contact Us | Privacy Policy