Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett – How a magical friendship created HP

Posted by Adrian Tolhurst on January 31, 2014 under Printers and Ink | Be the First to Comment

hewlettpackardThe Hewlett Packard (HP) company are a major company, ranking number 438 on the Forbes Global 2000 largest companies in the world. HP produce everything from toner cartridges to laptops.  However, they have not always been directly involved in the computer hardware business.  The HP company was formed by Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett in 1939, at the end of the great depression and at the outbreak of World War II in Europe.  Hewlett and Packard had studied together at university and found themselves working together on various university funded projects as part of their fellowship to the University of Stanford’s electrical engineering research department.  Hewlett and Packard both had Masters Degrees in Electronics so they shared a common interest and a desire to go into business. The two young entrepreneurs talked about this for a couple of years before finally deciding to start a new venture.  Eventually, David and William decided to use Hewlett’s garage as the headquarters of their new business.

The first problem Hewlett and Packard had to deal with was what to call the company.   To settle the issue of who would get the Kudos of having one’s name first on the company letterhead, it was decided that Hewlett and Packard would toss a coin to decide whose name would be first.  Packard won, but made the magnanimous gesture of allowing Hewlett the honour of having his name first – and so, the Hewlett Packard Company was born.

The first decade or so of the Hewlett Packard was spent working on projects to support the American war effort.  The R&D department of Hewlett Packard was kept busy with investigating ways to incorporate radar and sonar into electrical devices designed to track enemy planes and ships.  However, military equipment was not the only thing that HP worked on during those early years.  Disney needed a piece of sound equipment which HP was able to supply. Eventually the HP Company began to grow into a formidable organisation which could supply public organisations and major businesses.  This was also the beginning of a life-long friendship, which spanned over fifty years until David Packard passed away at the age of 83.

The HP company will be remembered in the annuls of history for being an innovative organisation that owes much to the endeavour of its founders William Hewlett and David Packard.

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