WATT'S CURRENT January 1946 Cover
Copy from MEASURE "Wrapping it Up"
Courtesy of Hewlett-Packard Company
Early HP Internal Publication
Publication of information has always been a major concern at HP. Technical documents published have been, and still are today, frequently used as reference in industry and in education. All of those documents are obviously the main tools we can use to relate the story with good accuracy.
For the very short-form company history & facts of this Quick Tour, most information comes from the "Wrapping it Up" edition of MEASURE magazine. In this issue, the origins of internal company publications are described as follows:
September 24, 1943 - The first Hewlett-Packard Company employee newsletter, edited by Nancy Burbank, is published with question marks across the masthead. The person who submits the winning name will get a $5 war bond from Dave, who sets the tone for future employee communications when he write in the premier issue: "I hope your paper will help to make the HP Co. a better place to work. You are free to use it in whatever way you wish. Do not hesitate to criticize anything you feel is wrong. Your criticism will be accepted in good spirit and your suggestions will be given fair valuation."
October 1, 1943 - Cliff Atkins wins the paper-naming contest with his WATT'S CURRENT entry.
This title would stay the same until July 1963 when it changed to MEASURE which would be edited monthly up to the "Wrapping it Up" issue of May-June 2000.
The First Hewlett-Packard Journal
The first HP Journal was published in September, 1949, ten years after the start of the company. The initial idea for the HP Journal came from a periodical called the General Radio Experimenter. General Radio, now known as GenRad, produced primarily electronic measurement instrumentation, and the Experimenter was a monthly publication devoted to supplying "unbiased information pertaining to radio apparatus design and application."
The Experimenter started publishing in 1926 (11 years after the founding of General Radio) and was the first periodical of its type in the radio industry. It was distributed free of charge to qualified experimenters and it was a popular periodical in the industry. Many HP engineers were devoted readers of the Experimenter. One of those readers, David Packard, was impressed with the quality of the articles and thought that HP should have something similar. This idea turned into reality when Frank Burkhard, the first HP Journal editor, was assigned the task of creating HP's version of the Experimenter.
Although one of the initial objectives for the Journal was to produce a periodical similar to the General Radio Experimenter, other objectives included telling customers about HP products and their applications, showing the quality and workmanship that went into each product, and giving credit to the product designers.