New Jersey

Division name: New Jersey


Founded: 1959
Address: 150 Green Pond Road, Rockaway New Jersey
Rockaway Division in 1964

Description:

Older than HP, the Boonton Radio Company was founded in 1934 by William Loughlin in Boonton, New Jersey. Prior to founding Boonton Radio, Loughlin had been president of Radio Frequency Laboratories. Boonton Radio made test equipment for the radio industry. HP acquired BRC in 1959, and it became HP's Boonton Radio Division.

By 1964, the division had 185 employees with Bill Myers as the general manager. In that year, the division moved to Rockaway, New Jersey (from Boonton) and was renamed the Rockaway Division in 1966. The division made impedance measuring equipment, signal generators and instruments for calibrating aircraft navigation systems.

Harrison Laboratories was founded in 1954 by Bill and Gwen Harrison. The Berkeley Heights New Jersey company made an aperture equalizer for television cameras. The company was making primarily power supplies when it was acquired by HP in 1962. Bill Harrison was the general manager of HP's new Harrison Division. By the middle of 1966, Don Tighe was the general manager of the division that employed 124 people.

Rockaway and Harrison were always primarily instrument divisions with very little involvement in the computer industry. On November 1, 1968, the Harrison and Rockaway divisions merged to form the New Jersey Division (NJD). Don Tighe headed the new division while Bill Myers was the operating head at Rockaway. The two facilities remained at their separate locations. In June of 1971, John Blokker replaced Tighe as general manager of NJD. Also in 1971, the division introduced it's first "computer" product, the 6940A multiprogrammer. The 6940A allowed HP 21XX computers to connect to sixteen external instruments.

In the Spring of 1972, HP began building a 52,000 square foot extension to the Rockaway plant to bring total space at the location to 111,000 square feet. The Berkeley Heights operations gradually relocated to Rockaway, with the move completed in 1973.

Multiprogrammers were a big business for NJD. In 1981, multiprogrammers were the second largest product line for the division (behind power supplies), turning over $16M. That business grew to $23M in 1984 but declined to $8M by 1990.

NJD made other multiprogrammers for HP computers including the 6942A in 1979 and the 6944A in 1984. In 1985, NJD launched HP into a new product category of instruments connected to and controlled by MS-DOS PCs. The new offering was HP's "PC Instruments". PC Instruments was available on HP's 150 computer as well as IBM-compatible PCs. The original products only lasted a few years in the market and were not replaced.


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