Hewlett, William Redington

Hewlett, William Redington
▪ 2002

      American engineer and businessman (b. May 20, 1913, Ann Arbor, Mich.—d. Jan. 12, 2001, Palo Alto, Calif.), was the cofounder of the Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP), the electronics and computer giant credited with pioneering California's Silicon Valley and thus the computer age. He and his partner, David Packard, promoted an innovative management style that stressed creativity, flexibility, openness, and teamwork, and they both became noted philanthropists. Hewlett's interest in science and electronics began when he was a child, and in 1930 he began studying engineering at Stanford University. It was there that he met Packard, and the two became lifelong friends. After graduation (1934) Hewlett earned (1936) a master's degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and then returned to Stanford for further study. On Jan. 1, 1939, at the suggestion of engineering professor Frederick Terman and with start-up funds of $538, Hewlett and Packard set up a small electronics business in a rented garage in Palo Alto. That garage was later (1989) designated a California historical landmark. One of HP's products, an audio oscillator, brought the company its first success when Walt Disney Productions purchased eight of the devices to test sound equipment for the animated film Fantasia (1940). Following service in the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War II, Hewlett returned to HP (1947) and was made a vice president, and in 1964 he became president, a position he retained until 1977. The company expanded rapidly and in 1968 produced the first desktop scientific calculator. The pocket scientific calculator followed in 1972, rendering slide rules largely obsolete. HP became even better known in 1984 with its laser-jet printer. The company eventually became the second largest computer maker, employing some 88,500 persons, and Hewlett became one of the 50 wealthiest Americans. Hewlett served as HP's CEO (1969–78), chairman of the executive committee (1977–83), vice chairman of the board (1983–87), and director emeritus (from 1987). In 1966 he and his first wife, Flora, established the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, which made bequests to numerous environmental, arts, educational, and social causes. In 1985 Hewlett was honoured with the National Medal of Science, the highest scientific award in the U.S.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • William Redington Hewlett — n. William R. Hewlett(1913 2001), co founder of Hewlett Packard, American inventor who invented the Variable frequency oscillation generator …   English contemporary dictionary

  • William Reddington Hewlett — Infobox Person name = William Reddington Hewlett image size =250px caption = Hewlett (left) and Alan Tripp in a 1993 photograph at Tripp s first SCORE! Center birth name = birth date = May 20, 1913 birth place = Irving, Texas death date = January …   Wikipedia

  • Hewlett — /ˈhjulət/ (say hyoohluht) noun William Redington, 1913–2001, US engineer and developer of computer technology …   Australian English dictionary

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