April 6, 1964 Electronics
[Table of Contents]
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics.
See articles from Electronics,
published 1930 - 1988. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.
The General Agreement on Tariffs
and Trades (GATT) has been around for a really long time - since 1947, shortly
after the end of World War II. It changed its name to the World Trade Organization
(WTO) in 1995. Japan was admitted as a GATT signatory in 1964
according to this Electronics magazine newsletter. One of the conditions
for membership was allowing foreign ownership of businesses on Japanese soil - previously
prohibited. Texas Instruments was the first American company to establish a presence
there. Japanese industry was just getting a foothold on manufacturing and selling
into foreign markets in the mid 1960s, and was still working to shed its reputation
- deserved or not - of producing inferior quality goods. Increasing foreign presence
and dependence on the country's economic well-being was a good thing for them. In
fact, many pundits believe that the globalization of production is key to preserving
peace (or at least not war) between certain countries. The philosophy is unofficially
referred to as
Mutually Assured Economic Destruction (MAED), akin to MAD (Mutually
Assured Destruction) that came about during the nuclear arms race that sought to
create enough of a critical interdependence between countries to thwart armed conflict.
In other news, Bell Telephone Labs was getting set to build a huge new research
facility outside of Chicago
West Ford was vindicated of predictions that its scattering of 400 million tiny
copper "needles" into Earth orbit would disrupt astronomical and other space-directed
research, and Ford began experimenting with in-car entertainment systems.
Japan: An Industrious Competitor,
Technology - When You're Second, You Try Harder, and
Japanese Technology - The New Push for Technical Leadership (includes a "Back
to the Future film clip").
GATT, Bell Labs, Space Needles for Communications, & Car Entertainment
Japan Opens Door to Foreign Plants
On April 1, Japan became a full member of the General Agreement on Tariffs and
Trades, a world trade organization that grants its members certain tariff concessions.
To remain in the organization Japan will have to alter its ban on foreign-owned
Very soon, the Japanese government will announce that United States and European
manufacturers may build and own plants in Japan.
First in line is Texas Instruments Inc. Other manufacturers are rooting for that
company's application, already filed, to be approved. Japanese officials have already
offered Texas Instruments a chance to own 50% of an operation. Previously they had
insisted on no more than 25% foreign ownership - the American company insists on
U. S. component and semiconductor makers are anxious to compete in the lush Japanese
consumer and industrial markets. Such a move could hurt the slowly growing electronics
industry recently established in Hong Kong, even though Hong Kong labor rates are
down to 86 cents a day.
Minuteman First in Specs, Too
The Air Force's first set of specifications for integrated circuits are based
on the circuits in the guidance and control system for the improved Minuteman missile.
The move sounds like a boost for companies selling such circuits to the Autonetics
division of North American Aviation, Inc. It was Autonetics that designed the circuits
and drafted the specifications for the Air Force [Electronics, March 23, 1964, p.
26]. But Autonetics says it isn't necessarily so.
The company points out that other concerns will have a chance to comment on the
specs and ask for changes. Also, it predicts that nailing down the specs will result
in a longer list of qualified manufacturers. This is what happened with the specs
for high-reliability parts for the original Minuteman, the company notes.
The Air Force adds that it is standardizing a spec system rather than specific
circuits. The new specs, numbered Mil-M-38104/901 through 924, come under the Air
Force's standard reliability spec Mil-M-38100.
The specs are supervised by the Air Force Ballistic Systems division at Norden
Air Force Base, California. In July, qualifying action will be shifted to the Air
Force's Air Development Center at Rome, N.Y.
In another stride for microcircuitry, Autonetics is testing two airborne radars
built with 20 standard microcircuits. One radar, the 100-pound R45, is a multimode
set. The other, the 30-pound R47, is a terrain-avoidance type for low-flying missiles
Bell Telephone Switching Lab
The research-hungry Chicago area will, in two or three years, get a big new laboratory
with 1,200 people, 400 of them scientists and engineers. Bell Telephone Laboratories,
the home of the transistor, will build an electronic switching research and development
lab in Naperville, just west of Chicago. About two thirds of the staff will be transferees
from Bell's present switching lab in Holmdel, N. J. The new lab, officials explained,
will be near the Western Electric Company's Hawthorne Works in Cicero, which is
Slated to become the Bell System s number one manufacturing facility for electronic
switching equipment. The Bell System plans to convert all its central telephone
offices from electro-mechanical to electronic switching. The target date for completion
of this enormous task is the year 2,000. The Bell System has been installing electronic
telephone exchanges on a test basis since 1960. The first commercial electronic
central office will go into operation in Succasunna, N. J., early in 1965.
Motorola Refrains from Navy Bidding
The Navy has been collecting bids for a new combination system - comprising communications,
telemetry, tracking and command - for three range instrumentation ships and the
Apollo spacecraft program. Bidders include the Lockheed Aircraft Corp., Martin-Marietta
Corp. and Radio Corp. of America. But the Motorola Corp, which was thought to have
the inside track, isn't bidding. The reason seems to be Motorola's confidence that
it will get the contract for the unified S-band system, even as a subcontractor.
The company believes it has the only one available - it is already making such a
system for NASA ground stations. The unified S-band system will be the only custom-designed
item in the contract. Most of the other equipment will be off-the-shelf.
Another bit of Motorola intelligence - picked from the grapevine of last month's
IEEE show - was that corporate headquarters would be moved from Chicago to Arizona.
Not so, company spokesmen insist. "We just couldn't afford to decentralize to that
extent," they explain. The inspiration for the rumor, one official suggested, could
have been someone's wishful overreaction to a long, hard winter.
Space Needles Found Not Guilty
Project West Ford, the controversial orbital scatter communications belt, has
received a clean bill of scientific health from the Space Science Board of the National
Academy of Sciences. The belt, consisting of 400 million tiny copper-wire dipoles
in a 2,000-mile-high polar orbit, was created last year to serve as a reflector
for radio signals in long-distance communications experiments. The project drew
protests from optical and radio astronomers, who said the needles would interfere
with their observations. But now Prof. H. H. Hess, of Princeton University, who
headed the science academy's study group, says West Ford did not hinder other scientific
observations. This supports earlier reports by backers of the West Ford project,
who have complained that political constraints - resulting from scientists' protest
- were hampering the project [Electronics, Nov. 8, 1963, p. 26].
Rolling Playroom in Ford's Future
The Ford Motor Co. has come out with a prototype for a car that's half rumpus
room. A communications console controls a television set, three a-m/f-m radios and
a recorder that feeds music, movies or business correspondence into the system.
A power-operated glass screen protects the driver from noises from the rear "lounge,"
where one of the radios is likely to be turned to a children's program. There's
also a thermo-electric oven-refrigerator for snacks, and an unexplained "kiddie-quiet
ion dispenser," based perhaps on the theory that negative ions in the air are soothing
to frazzled nerves.
Posted March 5, 2019