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Life and Times of Measurex

Late of Cupertino, California
Once the Big Frog in the small pond of Paper (and other sheet products) Process Control!
From a rented ?garage? on
Matthew Street, Santa Clara, CA
- year 1969
1 Results Way, Cupertino, CA
- year about 1990

I, Ed Thelen - - was there from 1972 to 1989

2022, December Mark Schiff, Australia, remembers
2022, June Paul Adams, of International Nucleonics and Ohmart, remembers
2022, March A friend is writing a history of Ethernet (he was at PARC). Measurex attempted to use an early (poor) INTEL Ethernet chip. Information on that would be useful - Please contact
Mx Waterford survived (under various names, including "Cork") until 2015. Info, web site, pictures here
2021, February Twenty seven 1988 operator display pictures available here, all 61 as slides and on a USB Flash Drive. Is there a Measurex archivist?
2020, October Ed Jemmings created a Facebook group for ex-Measurex folks.
2018, July Warren Schirtzinger has posted the 30 minute video RESULTS: The Measurex Culture

List of Present topics

List of Appended Material (latest at lower right)

This is a story that requires inputs from many people. No one sees the total picture.
    Not even Big Dave, who did indeed "walk the talk"!
    New 2011 Dave Bossen's oral history - 2011 - Thanks Alison (Bossen) ...
    Many ex-Measurex people use this e-mail list service. [The latest Yahoo revolution has knocked this out of service.]
    This is an ex-Measurex techie list service. [and this also :-( - Yahoo is easy to despise]

Please excuse this "bottom up" approach, that is my view point ;-))
    Most company histories are written from a press release and/or management view.
    I am pleading "equal time" ;-))

This is Dave Bossen at a reunion of ex-Measurex folks at the Duke of Edinburgh - Cupertino January 7, 2006, almost 40 years after he started Measurex. There is a rumor that he still plays a good game of golf. Good straight drives, ... when pressed for a weakness, the informant said that his chip shot game could improve ;-))
    About 50 of us ex-Measurex folks had a good time telling of the past and what we are doing now :-))
    (Update - Photo of Big Dave at Jan 2007 Reunion courtesy Jeanne Whitmer, organizer)
    This continues to be an annual event, a Saturday evening in early January. About 60 folks -

Eager Beavers

  • Two eager beavers, Dave and Dodie Bossen, in Columbus, Ohio
        Dave was sales manager at Industrial Nucleonics, now part of ABB.
        Figured that the coming low cost digital computers would supersede IN's analog approach

  • The young eager beavers get restless, and head West. (1969)
        *Digital* is the word! - Dave's new company was "Measurex", and Dodie was Personnel Manager.
        e-mail from Chere Nijim about working for Dodie.

  • Dave and Dodie got "Venture Capital" .
        Industrial Nucleonics wanted to stay analog, and did until kicked (hard) by Dave's new company!!

  • Measurex early days in the low rent district - (Matthew Street, Santa Clara, 95050 )

  • Jan Thompson - janthompson aty mail dotty com - sent -

    They started in a garage setup at 330 Matthew Street in Santa Clara (on the perimeter of San Jose airport), later used by StorMedia (a rigid disk maker). Later on Measurex moved to the Cupertino location when they bought the cannery property in Monta Vista.

    I was a field engineer in the Midwest for a few years, then came to Cupertino as an instructor, then worked the R&D lab, then was "Special Products" coordinator (Where we sold something we didn't make) and I worked with a lot of VERY good folks to make that sale happen.

    I certainly recognize your name, but can't attach it to a face {I apologize, since I know I have worked with you in the past}.

    Jan Thompson
    Employee #330

Goal of Systems - what they did
Process Control of sheet processes - initially paper, then plastics, fabrics, ... , chemistry of pulping, flue gas contents, ...

A great overview is in Dave Bossen's oral history - 2011 -
and the Promotional Film, 1987

Using mini-digital computers to:

  • control the calibration of the gauges to various specifications of product
  • control gauges that scanned back and forth across the sheet
  • convert gauge reading to engineering units - for each slice across the sheet
  • use the engineering units to control the (paper making) machine
  • to enable the customer to make product closer to spec
  • which enables customer to set targets closer to spec, saving material, speeding process
  • provide easy operator control interface, grade change, production reporting.
    Grade change is a difficult procedure, to be completed as fast as possible -
    While changing grades (specifications), you are making junk, no one is being paid -
Measurex provided superior site support and a "Results Guarantee".

The above provided Superior Results to - employees, management, investors,
- (and tax collectors lest they forget where their bounty comes from. ;-))

Measurex started in paper process control. Wikipedia now has a fairly good description of industrial scale paper making (including stock (pulp) preparation) here.

Systems Sold
Table Of Contents
    - A list of Measurex systems installed before mid 1973
    - Scanner Pictures
    - Gauges
    - Hp 2116 computer with high speed paper tape reader
    - Hp 2100 system
    - Scanner after Measurex was purchased by Honeywell
    - Some OEM peripherals - "Other Equipment Manufacture"
    - Some 1988 pictures available

Scanner Pictures
    Harold Welch got the picture (below) "from John Swan who works for Honeywell-Measurex as a trainer here in the Atlanta area. He said that the picture originated from Terry Kerr, an ex Measurex field guy. Also, while it looks like it could be system 1, I am not sure. The scanner is very short which was the case for system 1 at Simpson Lee in Ripon CA." Folks think that is Jerry Patel behind the scanner heads.
Displayed by Harold Welch at the Jan 2009 Cupertino Reunion Annotations, as heard by Ed Thelen from Harold Welch and George Wells, at the very noisy 2009 reunion. Additions/corrections solicited.


The gauges (sensors) seen on the above scanners usually included
  • Moisture (sensitive to water in the sheet)
  • "Basis Weight" sensitive to the amount of carbon (wood pulp) in the sheet
  • later a Color gauge
The Caliper gauge (by Gunnar Wennerberg) was the only sensor that actually touched the sheet.
The 12 round buttons are artificial sapphires to resist abrasion by the paper.

Hp 2116 computer with high speed paper tape reader

Hp 2116

Use Hp 2116 computers to gain face? They were indeed tough and reliable, and the vendor stayed in business :-))
    Ray Winskus says that the Hp 2116 was one of the few mini-computers that had a (microcode) floating point option - very useful in gauging and control.
    First system working! (Results Guarantee?) (Ripon, Ca ?)
     Note the paper tape reader appended below :-)) The software for most systems was on three tapes - each spooled about 6" diameter - read from pocket left of reader right into a waste basket. We used a little hand held wind up motor to re-spool from the wastebasket ;-))
     We wrote our own "operating system" - ( job scheduling, ...) buried in the three spools of paper tape (above) could not blame anyone else for bad code -
     The Computer History Museum does not have an Hp 2116 - and would like one. If you know of one, please e-mail Dag Spicer of the museum, or me.

Hp 2100 system


Hp2100 system

Photo courtesy Computer History Museum.
Computers like this controlled the scanning, sensing, display, report generation, and process control during the 1970s and 1980s. The Bossens hired Gene Stinson from Hp. Gene apparently had been in on the design of the Hp 2116 - Measurex turned out to be Hp's biggest customer for Hp 2116s and 2100s.
     This is a non-Mx Hp 2100 system - the successor to the Hp2116. Notice the paper tape reader and paper tape punch ;-)) Mx did not use disks at sites.
    One day an Hp 2100 computer arrived with a bronze/gold brushed anodized front panel rather than the usual painted front panel. This was the 4,000th Hp2100 Hp manufactured, and there was a bit of splash made about it ;-))

Scanner after Measurex was purchased by Honeywell
This is a picture of a scanner after Measurex was purchased by Honeywell. The Scan Heads go back and forth across the paper as a pair measuring "slices" (say 2 inches wide) of the sheet. If the customer has suitable equipment, Measurex could control each say 2 inch slice to proper characteristics :-))
     Gauges included Moisture, Fiber, (Moisture vs fiber gave Basis Weight), Color, Thickness. A scanner was about 7 feet tall and up to 30 feet wide depending on customer equipment width.

Some OEM peripherals - "Other Equipment Manufacture"
Until about 1976?,
a Versatec printer/plotter


Until about 1976?,
a Western Electric
(Teletype Corp.) Mod 33 tty,

image from Wikipedia
this is a somewhat similar 35 tty in action
from the 1977 Annual Report
the Operator's Panel
the CRT displays and buttons were OEM ;-))

Some 1988 pictures available
From: Paul Adams < paulzadams @ yahoo . com >
Date: Mon, December 28, 2020 12:28 pm
To: "" < ed @ ed-thelen . org >

Hello Ed,
     I'm trying to contact someone at Measurex because recently I bought about seventy old 35mm slides at a flea market and each slide is marked "1988" and "Measurex".
     Attached is a scan of one slide.
I would like to return these slides to the Measurex, since the slides may have historical value.
Thanks for your help,

I (Ed Thelen) responded that I don't know of any Measurex archivist, but that I would gladly post some of the slides.
- a printed report

Move to Cupertino

  • Building a new building in the "High Rent" district - Cupertino
        1 Imperial Way? - Lots of room to grow.
        Like where did the money come from?

My First Impressions - 1972

Software Development - that is what I did - mostly;-))
I have recently (2016) been "helping" restore a Xerox Alto II to functionality. The Alto (I) system was in late development in 1972 when I joined Measurex, and unknown to those outside of Xerox PARC.

This reminded me that software development at Measurex was very different at Measurex than the company I had just left (Control Data).

  • At Control Data, we were still punching IBM cards and "assembling" the code on the mighty machines. After the code was "assembled", we picked up printed paper "listings" to examine for obvious errors, and if none, getting a punched card deck to be run to test the code. (Special Systems in Sunnyvale printed almost a ton of paper per day.)

  • At Measurex, we soon changed
    • from editing on disks and assembling code on HP equipment for our HP process control computers.
    • to using terminals attached to Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-11 "mini-computers" to assemble code for our HP process control computers.
    Many terminals attached to one PDP-11 run in a "time sharing" mode. Each person could think that the machine was dedicated to him/her. Both programmers and "data base integrators" (who tailored customer requirements and paper machine characteristics to "system software") had similar equipment and responsiveness.

    We sat at the new "glass TTY" terminals to:
        a) edit code files in the PDP-11
        b) command the PDP-11 to assemble the code (or total system)
        c) examine the (non-printed) output for errors
        d) get punched paper tape (later disk) output to load into a HP-2100 for testing.
    The PDP-11s had a "cross assembler" that could process the input HP code file (not IBM cards)

[ In the same era, although we didn't know of it, the Xerox Alto featured text/code editing with an early mouse - really handy compared to the keyboard controlled editing we were using. Although very memory cramped by today's standards, this wave of the future was developed about 10 miles from Measurex. Then Steve Jobs of Apple, 2 miles from Measurex, commercialized this idea with the Lisa and the Macintosh.]

Around 1978? the PDP-11s were replaced by three VAX 11/70 machines run as a cluster. These VAX machines had an emulation mode which could run the PDP-11 cross assembler to make the HP 2100 code we used.
(Gads - it sounds complex today !!)

Miscellaneous Items In no particular order ;-))
  • Tales from Valliant, OK - which I as a new hire luckily missed :-))
    • Town too small for a motel?. Oklahoma was dry? Nearest town with a motel and bar was how far away??
    • Nearest pulp wood for paper hundreds of miles away - government "pork barrel" money?
    • 1st 4 scanner system, in the middle of nowhere!
    • One scanner (with gauges of course) on top of steam dryer section! Yeah, shoot samples up there!! In the summer!!!
      - One guy quit rather than go back.
    • Mx folks had much trouble convincing customer that the fan valve must be messed up!!
      - Finally, the customer cut the (14 inch pipe?) fan pump valve open and there was a 36 inch pipe wrench lodged in it!!

  • The Management Experience
    • OK - So some folks are queasy about the name "1 Imperial Way", Cupertino
      - OK, what does it take to change the name to 1 Results Way?
    • And the end-of-quarter all hands meetings
      - and the quarter that the only profit came from Dave selling Industrial Nucleonics short?
    • And moving incorporation from California to Delaware?
    • AH - Yes - the *GREAT* Christmas Dinner Parties at some nice hotel
      - and Dave's loud red and yellow checkered "Christmas Party" pants :-))

  • The Sales/Marketing Experience
    • Need a boost in sales to make the year look good?
      OK - promise a coming price increase! That motivates the customers to "do it now" ;-))
    • Ed Vopat organized/supervised TAPPI shows
      In New York he carried a wad of $100 bills to pay off the various "authorities"
      - so that trucks could be unloaded and systems set up on time.
    • The show in Chicago (1980?) where Suzanne Sommers (a cool soft bright looker) was our "booth bunny"
      She flew from San Francisco with us, and her agent/chaperon.
      - In a few hours she had perfected her role, by far the best "booth bunny" at the show.
      She later had several TV shows where she played a "typical" air-head blond - what a waste!
      An update on Suzanne - a 2017 TV appearance :-))

  • The Manufacturing/QA Experience
    • Remember those all night, all weekend end-of-quarter marathons to
      get as much out the door as possible to make the quarter look good?
    • And how empty the factory was for a week or so afterward??
      Yeah - few machines and no people - comp time :-))
    • Life was never booring - not sure this is the way to do it though -

  • And We Have Gauges! and Calibration and ...
    • The caliper gauge had artificial sapphire (hard) contacting surfaces,
      but if you lowered the gauge off sheet and came on sheet,
      the 25 miles-per-hour paper edge of sheet cut through the bellows and the gauge went flying.
    • - and Gunnar Wennerberg, (stories of working for Bill Lear)
    • A techwriter, Bill Hauser, was contracted to document the basis weight calibration procedure -
      Bill spent a frustrating 6 months trying to resolve differences between:
      - - Sensor engineering, floor calibration, field calibration - failed and was not renewed.
    • And the intelligent color gauge (with its own microprocessor to program)
    • And of course the radioactive Basis Weight gauges. Floor folks and many engineers wore finger ring and badge type dosimeters to detect if you had been overly exposed while wearing it. And the radiation safety classes -
      Materials such as:
      - Krypton-85
      - Americium-241
      used in favor of electrically produced X-Rays for stability and reliability reasons.
      Also, Beta emitters have big advantages in some applications.
    • and stories of basis weight radiation shutters getting stuck open and worrying people.

  • And Shipping
    • And Measurex folks getting caught sticking a few bottles of California wine
      into a Canadian shipment - all heck to pay when Canadian customs discovered 'em!
    • and forgetting to remove the computer card from the Hp chassis -
      The Japanese police raided the Mx Tokyo office for illegally importing a computer (the card),
      - and hauled the Tokyo Mx manager (Wilkinson?) off to jail
      It was expedient to fire the Tokyo manager and get on with business.

  • And Keeping 'em Working, and the Customer Satisfied
    • Many Field Engineers were ex-submariners, needed to be serious and resourceful!
    • from Don Pruitt to [ex_mx] Jan 28, 2007
      I too remember Don Cossi. System 202 at Greenwood Mills in Orangeburg, SC was also my first assignment as an AE with Measurex. Don was a strong Christian individual and he had the temperament to handle a feisty old Finishing Supt. by the name of R. J. Reynolds. The plant manager was Charles Gardner. During those first few weeks in the Fall of 1974, Don and I labored long and hard to get that system up and running. At that time the Textile Exposition Show was in Greenville, SC and we had a lot of visitors to view those old MX 1000 with the old Western Union Teletypes. You know, us two rookies seemed to have pulled it off enough for Charles and R.J. seemed to be pleased. I just remember how calm and collected Don was during all of those times. He was certainly an inspiration to me as I believe he was to others that he came in contact with. I wish his family solace during this time of grief. I thank God for letting me spend a brief time working and talking with such a truly Christian individual.

      Don Pruitt

  • And Engineering - you can tell where I worked

    • Measurex knew how to make money :-) Have good enough software to sell it many times on its own specialized hardware.
          My previous employer, Control Data Corp, Special Systems, could only figure how to sell expensive software only once - not a winning game!

      • And it was in an old field (paper making process control) with new technology (use inexpensive digital mini-computers) and interesting business plan.

      • Business plan included "Results Guarantee" - install our equipment and software and use it for a while - if you don't like it, we will remove it at no cost.

      • The gimmick was that customers quickly became dependent on our system - like forgetting how to make paper the old fashioned way - and we indeed helped them make better paper faster :-))
            And the field people had to be good to make sure the customer was indeed getting RESULTS - and document the RESULTS! - and SELL!

      • And we had a good thing going for us - the union paper makers in the mills were paid by the ton of on-specification paper they produced!!. Better paper, more paper - was money in their pockets!! *AND* our equipment did not displace anyone - it still took about 8 people to run one of those monster machines. Apparently the paper makers (the union folks who operated the machines) influenced the other mill workers to let our (non-union) people do what they had to do with little interference or union steward bitching. Adding our automation was relatively painless :-))

      • It was many years before someone wanted Measurex equipment removed. Customer wouldn't/couldn't pay, Measurex wouldn't remove its equipment - fearing negative publicity? - Customer finally cut our equipment out - but by then Measurex had a good reputation and the publicity hit was not serious :-|

    • We shipped "industrial strength" process control equipment into primarily paper mills - a rather hostile electrical, temperature, vibration, humidity, ... environment..
      • The HP 2100 series computers were solidly designed and constructed.
      • All of our systems were shipped with Sola ferroresonant transformers to reduce powerline voltage changes into our equipment. While "our" regulators were in our cabinets, this online description is a floor mounted model -
        To the best of my limited knowledge mill power notches and upsets had little/no effect on our equipment.
      • I was primarily software writing for not-yet-released hardware.
        If I found a problem, often the specification was changed rather than the hardware :-((
        • "OK - so the status is backwards, we forgot an output inverter -
              We'll change the spec."
        • "OK - so the INTEL EtherNet chip can't run at 1 megahertz -
              What we going to do? - We change our spec. )

    • The "Gemini" experience
          - so yur outa address space, just bolt on another computer - yeah - tell me another one
          One day I'm on the system integration floor doing something and
           Big Dave Bossen comes by and asks "Hi Ed, how are things going"?
           I nearly swallow my teeth! I had met him the first day - and this is 6 months later -
               How the *&%$%^ did he remember my name???
              Is this a good thing????

    • Fun with cigarette machines
          and the low cost Lockheed Sue computer - Dave Matlock, where are you?

    • Fun with plastic sheet extrusion - Bill Sanzo in charge -
      This was a an off-site Skunk Works for a couple of years to do a low cost Plastic Extrusion System.
      A house about a mile away from the Cupertino plant was rented for us (on de Anza blvd.)

      Our new product was for a central printer (Diablo, remember them) and floppy ( with DEC LSI11-03 ) to load and print out the results of up to eight plastic extruders with scanners and sets of control elements, each with a DEC LSI11-03.

      I was to design and code the central function and serial communications and control engineers the code/parameters for the control elements.
      We (of course) made our own "Real Time" operating system ;-))

      The choice of mini-computer, DEC LSI11-03, had been made.
      Being a proper contrarian, I wanted to justify in my own head, why this machine. The computer was one of many single board computers being announced at the time
      - with no front panel, lights, switches to control all the manual
      - start - stop - debug, look-at/change memory, ...
      so long performed by interaction with the front panel?
      The serial port and user supplied teletype seemed a poor answer.

      image from Wikipedia
      Unlike many of the competition, the DEC LSI11-03 ( and successors ) had many user interface functions (via the serial port) built into the ROM microcode. The computer expected to have a TTY on-line.

      You didn't have to fool with lights and switches to do "L"oad, start, examine/change memory, ...

      At the time, the above seemed unique amongst the competition, and a powerful cost saving for the manufacturer while maintaining accessibility and control for the user (with the probably required TTY interface anyway.) It even had the pin-selectable capability of booting up from power-off from a floppy. !!! Also, separate power-up and power-down interrupts could be handy ;-))

      Our product was very successful in its niche, but product planning had vastly (factor of 10) overestimated the plastic sheet lines in the world.

      I think that little DEC LSI11, with its low cost, effective Q-Bus deserves a nice place in the history of mini-computers ;-))

      Of course you need to measure the characteristics of the sheet as soon as possible after it is formed so that you can apply corrections in a timely manner and avoid control ("hunting") problems.

      So you provide a scanner with appropriate gauges to scan above and below the sheet so you can measure through the sheet. You divide the sheet into slices as narrow as practical to measure and control streaks. You need to know the position of the gauges and the time of the measurements to form the gauge data into slices for streak control.

      Often the mass of a section of sheet is measured by passing x-rays or electrons through the sheet to determine the absorption. You may provide "lenses" or honeycomb elements to reduce confusion with diffused particles.

      Because of the limited number of counting events per second, statistical counting errors are a problem -
      - more radioactivity and
      - wider slices help
      - the customer wants less slice width and maybe less radioactivity
      interesting compromises.

      More slices and faster scans, all desirable, require a faster computer to handle the gauging and control. I was in frequent communication with DEC pushing for samples of faster versions of the LSI-11 ;-))

      Gauge calibration to cover variations in the source material is required.
      Gauge calibration to cover variations in gauge performance during during a production run, dust, dirt, drift, while under process control, is usually required.

      It is/was a fun game :-))

    • Getting into bed with INTEL and the 8086
          I plead (4 page letter to Big Dave) for the bigger address space of the Motorola 68000, available at the same time.
              Big Dave, Bit Seto, and ??? may have been reasonably correct - Motorola was very late with a floating point chip.
          There were also stories:
              Bob Noyce (INTEL) gave Big Dave a special deal on the 8086s, then sold us the required 4 phase clock chips at list price :-|
              Noyce and Big Dave belonged to Rotary together - a level of trust? or screw me and I know where you are?
              Polly Noyce came to work at Mx at about the same time - nice reasonably efficient young lady
              She and her house mates gave parties at their rundown "rustic" rental house high on SkyLine drive, my first hot tub experience :-))
          The 8086 had a 1 megabyte address space :-((, Implementation selected is 500K base page
              and about eight 500K pages to be memory mapped into the other 500K space as commanded by software
               - and may God have mercy on your soul!
               - I felt REALLY sorry for the "system software integrators"
               - - who had to get the addresses right :-|

    • The Vision system and the early daze of INTEL's Ethernet chip
          The $%^&* INTEL Ethernet chip won't even go 700K bits/second)
              and pages of exceptions to its published specs.
          Measurex was author to most of those exceptions!
              The Mx Ethernet project engineer gets a heart attack -
              He doesn't come back - he died?

    • Special projects
          A label making system and printer for Three Rivers, Quebec, Don Robinson in charge
              The French speaking workers friendly when we English only speakers
              are introduced as being from *CALIFORNIA*.
          A mini-tape replacement for the floppy disk,
              Tom King - *please* kill this dead end project - only one manager came to the final demo - he wanted to hire me.

    • I hear that it takes all night to do a Vision Data Base -
           If you did *EVERYTHING* right -
           If not, you have all next day to try to figure out the trouble,
              Then you can re-try it again tonight :-((
          In modern speak, the implementation did not scale well.

    • My office mate and supervisor at one time was Jim Livingston.
           Jim had an advanced degree in Psychology, but had gotten hooked on the statistical aspect, and hence into programming. Not only was he programming full time at Measurex, he was a featured columnist in some Unix/C publication, and he was supplementing his income doing contract software for others. He unfortunately did some work for Jack Tramiel, boss of Commodore. Jack was getting the name "Jack - so sue me - Tramiel". He usually wouldn't pay unless sued. Painful lesson in various business practices. I never heard of Measurex screwing anyone.

    • The Vision System is now the only active development project -
          Life is too short!

    • I won't join Vision, and out the door *Fired* in 1989 :-)
          Measurex was very humane - make work projects for a few months - time to change my stubborn mind?
              I got fired before noon - Mx let me stay all afternoon, saying good bye to friends - nice touch :-))
              Olga Tanton (database integration) cried a little. I never had anyone cry for me before!
              (I had always tried to be helpful to the folks who put the data bases together that ran the machines.
              Constant software upgrades and changes made their life "interesting".)
              Exit package was something like continuing pay for 2 weeks for every year employed. (Lost 1000 hrs of sick time.)
          I had forgotten how hard you have to run to get a job -
              It ain't just the politicians :-(
          But I catch a job I like at
      Landis&Gyr, and get paid double for a while :-)))

    • National Instrument Inc. software later replaced home grown software for gauging and presentation

    • Later, "Measurex Open" and other things I never heard of -

  • And Finance

    • With the real looker brainless blond who called her mother in New Jersey for two hours every morning,
      when a real bargain WATTs line was $18/hour.

  • And Personnel (*Not* "Human Resources" ala Dilbert)

    • Measurex figured that companies rose and fell too fast in Silicon Valley and did not pretend to have a company retirement plan. Instead, Measurex provided generous matching funds into individual "401K" type plans. Seems very foresighted now that former employees of many major companies are getting abandoned.

    • Dodie Bossen ran it - her own way - and I generally approved (rare for me)

    • Except the day she posted reserved parking signs for the "wheels".
      Big Dave figured that if you didn't arrive at work early you didn't deserve a close parking slot!
      (His big red Mercedes was usually close in - but sometimes way out in the "boonies".)
      The next day the reserved signs were removed! And anyone arriving early could park anywhere as usual. - I think there was eventually "customer parking".

    • And a sauna (it was hardly ever used and later disappeared).
      A number of us were offended when the ping pong table was removed from the System Integration area and Mx!

    • That reminds me - Both hardware and software engineering were close to the System Integration area, and if there appeared to be a problem - we were right there!! No committee meeting, no international memos, no delays - FIX IT NOW! :-)))

    • There was considerable flexibility. Gerta Thiem (name correction by Tom Wilson), the cafeteria supervisor and cook, had been a young woman in Germany at the end of World War II. She *HATED* Soviets. (I guess Soviet soldiers were especially hard on German women.) She would not cook if there were Soviet buyers in the building likely to eat her food. On those days, outside vendors were hired to provide food for the company cafeteria.

      Yeah - you heard me right - right in the middle of the Cold War, the Soviets bought our machines. There were stories of horrible Soviet concrete shedding dust all over and plugging our filters. Stories of the system that ?slid? off a Soviet loading dock and had to be returned to Cupertino for rework.

      One of our systems went to a new Soviet truck factory. The French had prime contract on that truck and tire factory and had proposed our equipment for tire tread control :-| We delivered the system at the time requested, but the factory completion was delayed and delayed - ?Soviet government bungling? - A few years later we got word that the Soviets were ready to use the system - would Mx come over and commission it. By then that version of software had been out of production for at least a year - and people largely forgotten all that old stuff (or at least said they did). Finally Tony Fredrickson (a software manager) went over and got the system going - and brought back wild tales of vodka drinking - who wants to be sober when you don't have to be? - and the high cost of vodka to the low paid Soviets - a not so hidden tax?.

    • One day I was "Xeroxing" a many page non-company document when Jack Gurten (personnel security person) walked by. I was feeling guilty about using company resources so I told him that this was not for the company, and that I wanted to pay for usage. He said "I don't want to hear!" and walked away.

    • Lab equipment was available for loan, and parts could be taken, for projects that enhanced your work skills. I frequently borrowed expensive oscilloscopes to play with on the week ends - even designed, made, debugged a 16 K dynamic RAM controller for the family Commodore PET computer. :-)) (I purchased the RAM chips.)

    • I was heavily involved with the switch from Fabritek core memory to (I forget the company) chip dynamic RAM memory. Among other things - there was concern that the plastic packages of the memory chips would allow environmental steam in and ruin the memory chips - Mx had an environmental chamber in ?Campbell? and we used it for several weeks cycling temperature and humidity wildly. Everything OK :-))

    • There was considerable flexibility in promotions and demotions also. Folks who were promoted to supervisors/managers could return to "the ranks" if they didn't do well - with little stigma. OK - it didn't work out - no problem. I thought that very enlightened - especially as I didn't view myself as management material - much preferring hands on experience.

      Several people made the cycle several times, manager - burnout, individual contributor, manager ...

  • The founding owners (majority stock holders) Dave and Dodie Bossen were right there - taking care of business.
    Like late one afternoon in say 1974, I was doing something near the loading dock. Dave Bossen came by and noticed a stack of core memory cards from Fabritek about 2 feet tall - looking ready to fall over and break. (At the time, the Hp 2100 was using memory cards that had a single plane of cores a little like this. These core memory cards were *expensive* - maybe more than the price of the bare computer - and reasonably fragile - lots of little cores and wires. Big Dave's mouth tightened and he hustled off. A short time later I noticed the cards were removed, I presume to a safer situation!!

    Ya know, I really liked that !! - Concerned management present and active -

  • Talking about the loading dock - Incoming/Receiving - what ever, seems to be a problem in many/most companies. Not that they have as simple and easy a life as you might think - but.
    1. Being close to the hardware, I got to order some special items, maybe every 6 months, and asked for samples quite a bit.
    2. After maybe 10 days if I received nothing, I would call the vendor to see what was up. All too often the vendor would say - "... and it should have arrived a few days ago." So I would call "Receiving" and ask if there was anything for me.
    3. About half the time they would say "Yes, we have been waiting for you to pick it up." I would say - "I didn't know it arrived - Did you call me?"
    4. The other half of the times, they would say "No", so I would ask if I could come down and look. With reluctance they would say "Yes", and there it was, not all that hard to find. :-((

    Dave Bossen Passes the Torch - 1994
    Four years later, after I was gone -


    Later Control Systems, from Dirk De Mol, added March 2022
    I do know that we had issues with Ethernet and so we made our own! We could not get it to work at 10 Mb/s, only at 1 Mb/s. So Marketing called it a “Ruggedized Ethernet” and charged $25000+ for it. That was the “DataFreeway”. It’s still amazing though that we actually made our own Ethernet with very few engineers.

    Everything I know about the Ethernet issues at Measurex was hearsay as I was not involved in the development or even the use of it. I’m a control engineer so that’s a different field.

    I can tell you what it was used for: paper (or more general “sheet industry) production. Those are very large factories (1 km long) and we needed to connect different parts of the control system and monitors. Our actuators (devices to change the thickness of the paper were on one side of the machine, the measurements happened on the other end of the machine where the paper was rolled up. Paper can be made at 100 km/hr and 10 meters wide! Taking the time delay between control and measurement into account was a big part of our control strategy.

    The number of customers that had our “datafreeway” device is probably in the hundreds, not tens and not thousands.

    Measurex really was ahead in so many areas. We just had problems moving on when the industry passed us by. Hard to still sell a $25000 huge box when you could get a $1000 Ethernet card for your PC a couple of years later. Same for our water cooled (!) printer. Or our own compilers and linkers!

    I also avoided Vision like the plague. I hated the programming environment. The software engineers just had a captive audience: as control engineers, we had to use what they gave us. Luckily I still had the PDP-11 systems for plastic to work on for a couple of years.

    And when Measurex finally started to look beyond Vision, I already was using Macs to compile/link our control code for ISD systems. The Mac and the compile environment developed by our Chicago office ran circles around the VAXes.

    It then became a battle between the next-gen system developed by the paper system group and the one by ISD (Industrial Systems: everything but paper) group. They had 5x the resources and 5x the people and on top of that a 2 year head start!. But most of them were the old guard or Unix people with no experience with graphical environments. I could not believe what was going on then: they created thousands of pages of specifications on how they were going to change the Vision language to a graphical environment and their idea was to just make a dialog box for each existing command. Which made using it to develop control systems even more cumbersome.

    I was already programming in LabVIEW at that time. That was graphical. You [Ed Thelen]were already gone at that time but the battle came to a head at a board of directors meeting. The paper group came in, showed a lot of Powerpoint slides, asked for another 2 years of development budget but could not show anything real. When we came in, we rolled a fully functional plastics control system into the room, removed the blanket and showed it off: we had full color high res screens, used off-the-shelf hardware, had far better graphs, touchscreen control, 2D color intensity maps of sheet thickness, 3D graphs, etc. Our VP at the time had actually stacked the deck a bit and unbeknownst to us engineers, had given a demo himself to the sale force the night before. It was so easy to use.

    The sales force was livid and told Dave: this is a system we can sell, we cannot sell powerpoint presentations! Oh it was a sweet victory. Within months the paper development group was cut and all people told to move to that new-fangled graphical LabVIEW environment. But then the lawyers got involved: how could we base the future of the company on some software package from a company in….Texas?? In the end, I won that battle too but that’s another (long) story!

    And, when after a couple of years of more development, we started moving our largest paper systems to this new environment, we ran out of CPU power. The PC curve (from 386 to 486 to a Pentium) could not keep up with the advanced controls and sensors and #of scanners that we kept on adding. But by that time LabVIEW was already multithreaded and because of the graphical dataflow and it’s runtime engine, supported multi-CPU systems. So we bought a 4 CPU Dell server, and the LabVIEW code just distributed itself over the 4 CPUs. We did not have to change a line of code. Problem solved.

    And then Honeywell bought us. Problem created…


    Destruction of Measurex, From Dirk DeMol - December 2005
    The "destruction" of Measurex was because of many factors. Honeywell just being one of them.

    Some of the initial strikes against Measurex within Honeywell were caused by some executives stacking the books in their favor when they retired. That caused the year after their retirement to be a disaster which caused Honeywell to come in heavy handed.

    Most of the decline in engineering was caused by a changing market place. Instead of people designing boards, compilers and control design software, we just bought PCs and off-the-shelf software. We just could not charge $5000 for a black & white daisy wheel printer anymore. Or $25000 for a "DataTranslator" if much better functionality could be bought with a $100 Ethernet card in a PC.

    Dirk De Mol
    National Instruments

    Honeywell-Measurex Develops Large Industrial Control Applications Using National Instruments LabVIEW Software - local copy

    Dodie, (spelling corrected by Alison (Bossen) Tahl ) From Chere Nijim - January 2006
    Thanks you for enlightening us about the stories of MX and the beautiful memories you shared with us. Mr. B is definitely looking well.

    I reported to DSB [Dodie] and I enjoyed working with her and for her. She was a delightful and colorful person. The simple pleasures we share the secret things we share and the secret delights we shared in one with the other. A gift indeed, was she. She definitely know people and could read you like a book, and very charming as well.

    I appreciate you saying such nice things about her. I even went to her memorial. She did a lot of good in her life, from "Woman of the Year" in Silicon Valley to V.P. of Corporate Communications.


    An obituary for Dodie, SFGATE, Published 4:00 am, Friday, December 20, 2002 - She died December 9, 2002
    ----------- local copy -----------------
         "Doris Patricia "Dodie" Stephens of Redwood City, who helped build one of the first technology firms in Silicon Valley, died Dec. 9 of complications related to polio. She was 74.
         Dr. Stephens, born in Glendale, earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Vassar College in 1950. That year, she married David Bossen.
         The couple raised four daughter before divorcing in 1991.
         Dr. Stephens, who returned to her maiden name after her divorce, earned a master's degree in guidance and counseling in 1965 and a doctorate in education in 1968, both from Ohio State University.
         The family moved to the Bay Area and in 1968 founded the Measurex Corp., a manufacturer of computer-guided controls in Cupertino. Dr. Stephens started off working in personnel and held different jobs before retiring in 1991 as vice president of corporate communications.
         "She was always the person who helped the underdog," said her daughter, Amy Bossen Fuchs of San Francisco. "She was the heart of Measurex."
         Dr. Stephens founded the Peninsula Professional Women's Network, was a charter member of the Committee of 200, an organization of female entrepreneurs and corporate leaders, and was a member of the board of trustees of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation.
         She also dedicated herself to several causes, including the SPCA, Planned Parenthood and the Democratic Party.
         In addition to Bossen Fuchs, Dr. Stephens is survived by daughters Alison Tahl of Maui, Julie Ayerza of Fresno and Laura Gomez of Woodside, and nine grandchildren.
         Services have been held; burial will take place next week in Nebraska.
         Memorial donations may be made to the SPCA or Planned Parenthood.

    If you have comments or would like to do a MEASUREX page/site, Send e-mail to Ed Thelen

    Back to Home Page

    Construction at Measurex
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Jeanne Whitmer
    Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2006 9:37 PM
    > > Hello fellow Ex-MXers!  Here is a message from Paul Lannus, who is
    > > looking for some assistance on a project he's working on.  He was
    > > referred to the site, and so I'm forwarding to you his message.  I
    > > hope some of you can help him:
    > > ------
    > Greetings!
    > I am working on a project that concerns the
    > construction of the One Results Way campus - work in
    > the 1970s to be specific.
    > A bunch of former MX officers suggested I check with
    > you alums.
    > We would like to chat with anyone that worked in
    > Operations/Building maintenance or has any
    > recollection of the original construction and
    > expansion projects that went on at the Measurex
    > Cupertino campus.
    > I can be reached by email at or
    > telephone at 415.267.4058.
    > Thanks,
    > Paul Lannus
    Jan 2010 actions
    Ed Thelen received e-mail from Bob Breckenridge (Jan 11, 2010)
        " ... A little input on the under ground parking. It was built by local contractor Rudolph and Sletten. They also built the "new cafe", and I believe the earthquake retrofit on building 2. My mom worked for them when they did the work. You may want to contact Joe Stasi or Ron Edwards for more building, planning details.

    "Thanks again,
    Bob Breckenridge 1979-1997."

    so - Ed Thelen called the 415.267.4058 above - got San Francisco offices of McCenna, Long & Aldridge. Paul Lannus no longer works for them - and neither Dave Bossen nor Measurex were clients - so an apparent dead end?
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Rudolph and Sletten was "bought out" in 2005 by a company that I think is based out of Philadelphia. I do not know the name but the office should be located in Foster City. Sorry I do not have more information, I'm living in Ohio now and mom has since passed. Thanks BB

    Coulda Shoulda Woulda - response from Ed Thelen (Jan 2006)

    I had an 1st floor office overlooking the Mx construction of the building that housed that deep (2.5 story) parking lot. Down and down, round and round - like they almost needed an elevator.
         What turned out to be the most eastward building on the "campus".

    Being a techie, I was fascinated by the digging, re-enforcing, concrete pouring, ... of that building.

    I took lots of pictures of all phases visible from the outside - but everybody else was properly bored with them and I pitched them out during my move to Fremont from Cupertino about 10 years ago :-((

    Watching digging that hole was FUN. I suppose the techniques were standard, but getting the dirt and later the machinery out was fascinating to watch.

    What may not be obvious,
        - there were serious attempts to stabilize those large vertical underground walls.
    Large boring machines, like those used to drill telephone pole holes were used to drill *long* (what appeared to be 40'?) diagonal holes (maybe 30 degrees down from horizontal) which then had re-bar and concrete inserted.

    I don't think, not sure, that they used tensioning techniques like in prestressed concrete slabs. And far down on the bottom floor and support columns had lots and lots of re-bar - like the re-bar salesman made a mint.

    I watched and photographed every day - sorry Big Dave, I also did a little productive work ;-))
        One day in the big hole, there were the usual supervising and whatever people in their yellow jump suits (never seemed to get muddy) and yellow hard hats. Suddenly one of the people moved in a way that only a woman (or impersonator) moves.
         I got all excited and called people in - "Look - one of those people down there is a woman!!" The person moved again - indeed - all agreed that was a woman. I guess they had a lady engineer or inspector. Later she came up and took off her hard hat, yup - acts and looks like a woman - on a construction site no less

    I felt sorry for Mx - putting all that money into a hole in the ground. We all had teased the administration to build enough parking - - but I think they over did it :-(( Sometimes one should be careful what one asks for, one might get it :-(( The upper structure was standard tip up slab construction.

    Is this the kind of whakky stuff you are looking for??

    I have a Mx oriented web page at
        --Ed Thelen

    Turns out "they" want info on dates, contractors, plans, permits, ...

    Mud Wrestling !
    This is favorite tale of mine. (Ed Thelen)

    In the early 1980s, the Saddle Rack was in downtown San Jose. It was a very large bar/dance hall/place to hear canned and live country western music. It also had a prominent mechanical bull the folks tried to ride, with controls from gentle to Moon Shooter.

    Soon we at Measurex heard that there was "mud wrestling" going on there Saturday nights.
         The general plan was that two young ladies, who were quite athletic, would wrestle guys from the audience in a ring covered several inches deep with mud. We had heard from magazines that this was the latest fad, and here it was in San Jose. OK?

    Soon we heard that teams of folks would pool their money so that their designated person could wrestle the young ladies. That there would be an auction preceding the event, and the winning group would have their person wrestle the young ladies.
        And the bearer of the news thought that we of engineering software should pool our money and have Tai Chen, a software engineering manager, be our hero.

    Tai Chen was all of 5'5" tall, quite popular, a practical go-get-er, but no one would consider him a threat physically. His wrestling name would be "Too Tall Chen" ;-)) What the heck - we oughta have some fun!!
        Somehow a pool of $120 dollars was collected and that Saturday night a delegation of mostly Measurex software engineering showed up at the SaddleRack to participate in the excitement.

    There was a crowd maybe 150, a wrestling ring with maybe 3 inches of mud in it, some means of keeping the mud mostly in the ring, and a master of ceremonies. The master of ceremonies started out explaining that this was not ordinary mud from some back yard, but sterilized filtered clay to remove sand, rocks, and other possibly harmful material. Among other things, the mud would reduce the impacts of falls.

    The two young ladies, in bathing suits and caps, maybe 115 pounds each, were introduced and gave a maybe 30 second example of their wrestling prowess. They flipped each other about, pinned each other, and it was obvious that they were athletic, agile, and used to the mud ring.

    The master of ceremonies then announced the terms of the wrestling, the auction, and the constraints on the challenging wrestlers. The heroes would wear heavy boxing gloves, presumably to restrict pinching, hair pulling, scratching and gouging. Also, the hero would have his feet tied together to prevent kicking.

    Then the auction started, our $120 pool was quickly exceeded and a group offering say $250 won. Their hero appeared, and he was a maybe 200 pound hairy muscular specimen - with the humor of a brown rock. The wrestling started, and it was quickly obvious that the two young ladies could do nothing with that 200 pound hairy chimpanzee of a guy. If they tried to pin him - with one arm he could flip a girl off, get up, and chase them around the ring again.

    It was scary. I was impressed with how little a 115 pound woman could do against a 200 pound guy. If he can keep his hips rotated a little to protect his gonads - she has no apparent chance. Anyway - the event was over - we (or at least me) went home somber.

    Well, lets try again - but Tai Chen decided he did not want to be our hero again. Who would volunteer? The search was on -

    Mike Powell was persuaded to be our hero. Lets introduce Mike Powell, Mike is your basic nice guy, a kind of Dilbert. No bad jokes, quite serious, hard worker, handles practical mathematical questions with ease, stable temper, wife and maybe three kids, one adopted?, goes to church, teaches Sunday School, not known to drink, ... maybe 5'11", 200 pounds, works at building/improving his house in the mountain/woods near Cupertino. What an unlikely hero for mud wrestling at the rowdy SaddleRack bar.

    A much larger bidding pool of maybe $300 dollars was collected, and down to the SaddleRack we went. This Saturday night the bidding was not so vigorous, and we got our hero, Mike Powell, into the ring for something like $180.

    The boxing gloves, leg restraints and swimming cap were placed on Mike - and the action started. Mike and the girls were wonderful. Mike had a sense of humor we had never seen. He and the girls were rolling around in the mud - It was quickly obvious that Mike could take care of himself, but restrained himself from pushing hard and soon we were enjoy the humor of the participants.
         Now, I cannot tell you how folks wrestling in the mud can cause an audience to start to smile and relax. But we did. Maybe the contrast with the previous Saturday's gorilla made us feel better about people and guys and gals - who knows - but they had fun, and we had fun.
         Unbelievable - fun mud wrestling - you must be kidding !! But I'm not.

    The event was over too soon, and the participants were wiping their faces, shaking gloves and laughing.

    Mike - Thanks much for the memory.
        The world can indeed be a fun place.

    added July 2020 - Tai Chen is back in town - taischen @ aol . com - and clarifies about the mud wrestling ;-)
    This is the story that I had only shared with my wife Kathy about my time at Measuurex. I thought you may find it interesting.

    There was a movement at Measurex to participate in a mud wrestling event at Saddle Rack.

    I heard that some people were trying to draft me to give the girls at Saddle Rack a fair chance. I was only 5'5" & weighed 130 lbs.

    While I was in favor of the fun event, I was not keen about being humiliated by mere girls.

    So I secretly started to pay quite a few dollars to stuff the ballot box with Matt Guerreri's name.

    I called Matt our "Italian stallion".

    Unfortunately the "Italian stallion" lost to Mike Powell in a popularity contest. The rest is history.

    Carol Gilbert offers (March 13, 2006)
        Software Training, Software Maintenance/Configuration:
    Software Training:
         The first person to try to pull thoughts and documentation together to help newcomers to MX Engineering was Diana Tingley. When she left for HP, Matt Guerrieri gave me a shot at it since I had been integrating systems for a year and had a teaching credential. Ultimately I was able to hire Susan (Cox) Hernandez, Jan Mitchell, and Joan Hebert. We had a great time indoctrinating all the new people into the paper biz, plastics, VISION, HP systems, DEC systems, process control, and whatever else we were called upon. Thank you Burt Kendall for the wonderful overviews you helped out with. You were the only one who had a handle on the "big picture."

    We also gathered the resources that were present and eventually ran a library with a collection focusing on programming languages, process control, other technical disciplines and my full set of Dilbert books thrown in. Dave Bossen once called it "The World's Smallest Library." Yes, but we could always find what people wanted from the books or the archives of magazine donations. It wasn't a pretty site after the Loma Prieta earthquake!

    Software Maintenance/Configuration:
         When Rowena Koch left, Randy Kalmeta felt I could take on the SWM team too. My wonderful group consisted of John Charlton, Vicky Stewart, Haruko Vultee, Polly Noyce, Cyndy Hiatt, Linda Borg, Alice Huang, Mike Olensky, Cathleen McCann, Kathy Weill, Maureen Maris, Marge Bogen. Apologies to anyone I've missed.

    Little did I know how emotionally charged the words "release" and "update" were . Nor were letters and numerals straightforward. We created a whole new alphabet. To save my sanity I wrote two editions of "In Search of Euphemisms," the first in 1983 and the second in 1988. If we weren't releasing new software, were we disgorging it? liberating it? unfettering it?

    Characters of note:
         Steve Cabot, our homeless employee, who lived in his truck in the parking lot, The Duke of Dork who stuck to you like flypaper, Holly who had a special relationship with the Xerox machine, Jerry McCann and Mike Powell--to know them was to love them, Claudia Mc Queen whose silhouette made strong men crumble, Tom King, who besides being the best VP, made April Fool's Day special, Pat Van Munn who lived by the credo, "It's better to ask forgiveness than permission."

    The Grade Program:
         I started at MX when it had to be run from multiple boxes of punch cards. God help you if you dropped them!

    The SYSGEN program:
         Why did I think that every time I submitted it was the final one?!

    Carol Gilbert

    Tom Wilson offers (March 19, 2006)
        Engineering Lab
    It's kind of funny to see some of the names from so long ago. I read the bio of Measurex.

    I worked there from Jan. 73 until about May of 80 and previously worked for one of the vendors who produced sub assemblies for MX, 7 Associates the company owned by Dave Meader's Dad, Dave Sr.

    I started out in manufacturing and worked for Fred Moulton, then made a series of jumps. The tobacco system prototypes were all built by me and Sandi Swain (who can forget her voice) under the direction of Ron Smithson. I worked in the engineering lab with Pete Wellington and built the first X-ray based ash sensor for system 307 (Finch Pruyn Paper) in Glens Falls NY.

    I finished up in the system configuration department working for Ken Meigs. I was part of the "flying" group which included Ken, Bill Davis, Bill Rink Bob Micelli and a wannabe named Connor Vlacancic (sp). I owned the green Mooney, and the white XK-E Jaguar that often sat next to Bossen's Mercedes 450/

    I currently live in Boise where I inspect aviation assets for the Department of the Interior, and still fly.

    One correction in the bio, the cafeteria manager was named Gerta Thiem. She personally witnessed the destruction of Dresden during the war, and later went to the former East Germany in the later 70's. She had a drop dead gorgeous daughter who I once took flying.

        Tom Wilson employee 636. would I know....Why should I care..?

    Sean Maxwell offers (March 31, 2006)
        "a refreshing company to work for" - the correct word at last :-))

    I was bored and decided to look up Measurex, and was amazed to find your site.

    I was an employee from 1978 to 1986 based in the UK.

    I was taken on as Field Engineer for the "new" Energy Systems having had Power utility experience.

    I worked my way up to Applications Engineer having changed disciplines from Energy to Paper to Plastics and Metals.

    They were some of the best years of my life. I found it a refreshing company to work for, and particularly enjoyed my training / visits to Cupertino, Waterford and Cork.

    I now live in Richmond, Virginia.

    Power to you!

    Sean Maxwell

    Results Guarantee :-))
    from Raul Femenia fraulf1940 @ yahoo . com - [ex_mx] Dec 27, 2015

    Now, what I recall about the results things that it was a clear concept when applied to say the paper machine.
        Mx had the applications engineer that collected statistics about BW and Moi BEFORE Mx and then documented how much $ the customer was making by pushing the Moi to the upper limit and the BW to the lower AFTER he had the super duper sensors and control software.
         Key of this success were the resident tech rep and the app engineer.

    Note that we, the software/control engineers, did our contributions too by fixing and adding to the MIS reports.. ;-)

    Best regards,
    Raul Femenia

    from Scott Mayer from [ex_mx] (October 13, 2006)

    Sometimes the results guarantee was an offer of a refund of the price of the system, less the portion paid for initial services [usually 205].

    If the customer was not satisfied for ANY reason, they could return the system for a full refund of the system price less the initial services.

    The evaluation was to be performed by the customer in any manner they chose.

    If they weren't satisfied, we were allowed the opportunity to improve the performance or situation to their liking.

    We didn't get many back.

    Best regards,

    Scott Mayer

    from Jeff Mitchell from [ex_mx]

    What we used to do on the DMC side (metals, mostly zinc coatings) was to offer a guarantee for a certain extra price. We would guarantee, for example, a 50% improvement in long term variation. If we did not meet that, we would refund a prorated portion of the purchase price, for example 10% return at only 40% improvement, 20% return on only 30% improvement, etc. On the other hand, part of the agreement was for the customer to give us a 10% premium if there was a 60% improvement, 20% on a 70% improvement, and so on.

    No one EVER took us up on the offer! But just the confidence we showed gained us a 90% market share (North America) in metal coatings during our heyday.

    Jeff Mitchell

    from Mike from [ex_mx]

    From my experience in the UK it was always difficult to get the customer to come up with reliable QC results. Generally, you had to help them out first with training on how to establish good practices in quality checking of their own product!

    I lost count of the times that I went to a site to follow up on an installed system only to find that the only quality check was a battered old hand micrometer with a bent pointer that (when it wasn't being used to measure) was being used under the leg of the qc bench to stop it wobbling.

    Best regards
         Mike Howard

    Stories from Harold Welch

    Mathew St. & shipping - received May 31, 2008

    One of the things about Mathew St [1st home of Measurex] was shipping. There was no shipping dock and we didn't even have a fork lift. Loading a scanner was an "all hands" effort.

    We would borrow a fork lift from the company next door and the driver would load one end of the scanner onto the truck while everybody else steadied the other end.

    The fork lift would come around to the other end of the scanner, lift it up and then push the scanner into the truck. Everyone else steadied the scanner the best we could.


    While I'm thinking about it, here is another story

    Control Tuning

    In the first days of System #1 in Ripon, the system was turned off at night because we were not sure what it would do when it wasn't attended.

    After the sensors were operating, the next thing was to get running was control. Simpson Lee was a challenge since it made fine paper in short runs.

    One of the founders of Measurex was Eric Dahlin. He was well known in the industry for his control techniques and algorithms.

    The control constants were determined by a bump in the process. The results were measured with stop watches, lines on the two pen recorder, rulers and slide rules.

    Eric would determine the constants and had the field engineer put them in the computer. He would calculate the numbers to 5 places and complain about computer round off. "Lambda should be 3.8754" he would say. After watching the process for a while he said "Make it 4".

    The first successful Measurex grade change was made by a Simpson Lee backtender long before grade change was implemented in the software. He simply changed the BW target by 20lb not knowing the equipment was not designed to do it.

    It was a little bumpy, but the machine did it.



    Here is the slide rule story. received March 15, 2007
    When Measurex was the new kid on the block, the main selling point was digital control. Industrial Nucleonics was still selling the analog functions.

    Ed Richter decided to prove the digital superiority.

    He had some 6 inch slide rules made with the Measurex logo on the back.

    At his first opportunity he went to a meeting with the management of a paper mill in the North East.

    He handed out the slide rules and papers with a sample math problem, to the mill management.

    He then pulled his new four function calculator out of his brief case.

    He told them he would show the digital superiority by a race between the slide rules and the calculator.

    He turned on the calculator and the battery was dead!

    Ed said that the mill manager peered over his glasses at him and said "Son- Does your system run on Batteries?"

    That was the last of the slide rules.
    They became available to some Measurex employees.
    I still have mine.
    By the way, I was the first field engineer at Simson Lee in Ripon, (Employee 65) before I ended up in in engineering. I spent every year at TAPPI and CPPA supporting the equipment.

    I worked for Gene Stinson and then Tom King. When I left, I was the manufacturing engineering manager.


    When the first building was built in Cupertino, a new road was constructed to get to the parking lot.

    Measurex was able to name the road.

    An employee contest was held for the best name and the winner was "Digital Drive"

    Dave in his wisdom said it did not describe the company values and chose "Results Way"


    The work load in the early days required a lot of overtime.
    It was common for people to be there Weekends and holidays.
    I suppose that never changed.

    One 4th of July we were there getting ready for a customer visit.

    Jim Holdorff (sp), a floor tech working for Bernie, made the observation --

    "The nice thing about Holidays is that there is no traffic on the way to work"

    One of the first systems was Interstate Paper located in Riceboro GA. (System 7)
    It was sold by Chuck Worthly, one of the first and most successful
    salesmen. He was known for his sales ability and his frugalness.

    The mill manager explained that Riceboro was a depressed area and
    people were not used to full time jobs. Some people would work until
    they had enough money to survive and then quit for a while.

    He told the story of a janitor that approached him one day.

    The Janitor asked "Boss, what do we do here?"
    He replied "We make paper"
    The janitor asked "Is that all we do?"
    He replied "Yes"
    The janitor observed "It sure seems like it would be cheaper to buy it"

    Anything that can go wrong ------

    I was hired by Gene Anderson in 1969 and the company was in Santa Clara at the time.

    Mounted and framed on the wall in Gene Anderson's office was a printed circuit board.

    It turned out that it was an interrupt priority jumper board for the HP2116.

    The board required only one trace between two pins.

    It was designed with the trace was on the wrong side of the board.

    Murphy ruled again, and Gene had a quality talking point.

    Scanners and High Tea

    The first system built in Europe was system #16 for Bowaters in Sittingbourne Kent England in early 1970. The system was put together in the small town of Whitchurch in Shropshire England. This location was selected because Dave Patterson knew people there. The assembly took place in a foundry. Tony Foskett had the most headaches in this operation. My effort was incorporating subassemblies shipped from Matthew street, and test the system.

    Our mill interface was a gentleman named Dennis Lord. I sent the scanner installation drawings to him, and he noticed a mistake in the scanner length dimension. To make sure the scanner was the right length, he traveled the 200 miles (Yes it was miles in those days) up to Whitchurch.

    He broke out his tape measure and found the scanner was 1/2 inch short. We heard about that 1/2 inch everyday from then until the scanner actually shipped to the mill.

    At the mill, when the scanner was lifted and moved to the stands. it was obvious that the stand on the backside of the machine was 2 feet from where it should have been and that there was a large air duct in the way.

    We didn't here about the 1/2 inch after that.


    On a personal note: My oldest son was born in Westminster Hospital in London during that time.

    2 Start - received April 29,2010

    In 1970, system 16 was assembled and integrated in Whitchurch, Shropshire, England.

    Whitchurch is about 200 miles north of London. When the system was ready it was shipped to the Bowaters mill in Sittingbourne, south of London. At the time there was talk about shipping it on a coal barge via the canals, but it finally went by lorry. (truck)

    One weekend after the system was installed, Dave Bossen visited the site. I was back in Whitchurch with my wife and son who was born in London a few weeks prior.

    Dave and the application engineer could not get the system to run. They loaded the System and started it, but every time they tried to get the scanner to run, the system crashed.

    Dave called me and asked me to come to the site. He suggested that I charter a plane, but I decided to drive the 300 miles. I got to the mill about midnight loaded the software, entered the grade and width, started the scanner and the system worked fine.

    They had not made the grade and width entries and a "divide by zero" probably crashed the software.

    After that, every time you did a "2 Start", the message Enter Grade and Width was displayed on the printer.


    1. The computer we used then was a HP2116.
    2. It had 16K words of core memory.
    3. The complete operating system was in the 16K along with a diagnostic that could send and receive I/O bits.
    4. You could monitor switches, toggle displays and other stuff. Anybody remember the "Bit book"?
    5. The system was loaded using paper tape that spewed onto the floor in the process. God help you if fibers from the paper machine got into the holes on the tape.
    6. To perform a "2 Start" you would use toggle switches on the 2116 to set the starting address (2) and press the "Run" button
    Thanks Ed

    Received June 16, 2010
    Attached is a picture I received from Jerry Patel
    He is now retired and living in Reno NV
    He says the picture was taken when they were designing
       the very first product brochure for the 1000 system.
    You can see from top to bottom
      - The Tektronix Storage Scope used to display CD profiles
      - Three dedicated displays
      - The I/O panel (open with Jerry's scope probe inserted)
      - The Motorola controller (Gray part)
      - The Grade On/Off panel  (next to the controller)
         It told the software when to accumulate the grade MIS data.
    The picture is not very high resolution, but I'm hoping you can use it. 

    View from the field, Rob Brauns (Dec 15, 2007)
    Hi Ed,

    Interesting site you have. Finding this site is pretty amazing because I remember my days at Measurex well. I was hired in 1983 as a Field Tech in Canada. I was sent to Iroquois Falls, which is about as far north as you can go and still be connected to civilization by road. Measurex sold the mill at Iroquois Falls a DEC based system with the auto calibration feature. The DEC unit didn't have enough memory for this software and the instrumentation guy at the mill knew it. I finally managed to fudge a scan showing that the software was in fact installed. I remember Iroquois Falls for another reason well because I got called in one Sunday morning because one of the rolls of the stack has broken our scanner. The "stack" is the final stack of rolls maybe 8 of them in a vertical frame before the paper goes on the reel. The top roll had a bad bearing which knocked the second roll down into the pit. Our scanner was bent and had to be replaced. The paper mill insisted that I remove the radioactive part of the head and place it in an unused room. I wanted to remove the whole scanner head but the mill insisted that I remove only the metal can holding the beta radiation source. This was a Sunday so I had no choice. Boy was the mill floor ever deserted as I walked to the unused room with this little metallic can in my hand. By Monday Atomic Energy Canada and even Cupertino where getting involved and they all insisted that nothing be moved or removed. By then of course it was too late. It took my boss 3 days to get to Iroquois Falls and then he finally believed me when he saw the scanner all bent. Before that nobody really believed me when I told them what had happened but there it was. Probably the only damaged scanner in all of Measurex.

    I later moved south to St. Catharines, Ontario and worked for several mills. The mill in Thorold made recycled cardboard and had an HP something that the guys in Cupertino stole from a museum. While the modern mills had a pizza sized floppy disk to load the programs, this Measurex unit had a glorified 8 track reader that required one to hand type 28 lines of code to be able to read the tape. It never worked the first time but we'd clean the tape heads with alcohol and then cross our fingers that it loaded. If it crashed, we'd have to reload and retype those 28 lines of binary code. It sometimes took hours to get the system running again. I wanted to make a copy of the one tape that still worked but nobody had any documentation so we prayed that the system never broke.

    The other mill I remember was the Kimberley Clark tissue mill with one of Measurex's least thoughtful inventions. The C scanner. This C frame scanner is a testament to what happens when electronics people design something mechanical. The scanner rode on the same 8 wheels that the I-beam sensors rode on but the C frame had this gigantic thing made from ?" plate steel shaped like the letter C. The C frame probably weighed 2 tons. Well, those 8 wheels were constantly wearing down. To make matters worse tissue dust would come up and get flattened under the wheels making the heads shake more than an elvis doll so we'd have to change the wheels a lot. We finally resorted to changing the wheels at every shutdown but after a while Management complained that we were spending too much on wheels. The work around was to order wheels for other mills (there were about 4 mills within a 6 mile radius) so we wouldn't get called in at 3:00 am for bad wheels. The other thing I remember is that the scanner would not see the magnetic reed switch and over travel. The closed end of the C would break the paper so we'd be called in for that. At shutdowns everything appeared normal so it took us techs forever to figure out what was wrong and it was me that found the problem. While running, the moist tissue dust would short out the magnetic reed switch signal making the scanner think that it had traveled all the way to the one side when it fact it would only travel a bit. Then the scanner would go into some kind of calibration mode and scan until it found the limit switch which would break the paper. We finally solved this issue by adding a second magnet to the scanner arm and using silicon on the terminals whenever the reed switch was replaced. That C scanner was by far the most repair intensive piece of equipment that Measurex ever made.

    I also had the distinction of getting called in to repair a system that had failed because the mains had shorted. At the back of the Measurex unit where 3 long vertical power strips that feed the various pieces of equipment. The wires had rubbed along these strips wearing through the insulation and causing a massive short with sparks. I remember the mill guys clapping when I was trying to figure out what went wrong and then there were massive sparks flying out of the Measurex unit. They thought it was me that caused the problem. I bowed gracefully and called my boss who was still sleeping. Then the big boss Dennis reminded me that I seemed to have my share of problems with Measurex. After that I left for Europe.

    I did like the TR job because I had lots of free time to take off during the day but that pager was a pain. I also remember my 6 weeks in California. Gee sunny weather, lots of pretty girls and great food. The mid 80s were interesting times for me.

    Oh, you can email me at if you have any further questions.

    Kind Regards, Rob

    MX product pictures from Tom Steele ( steeletom at shaw dot ca )
         The "basetrimmed" note means I (Ed Thelen) trimmed off the base to give better detail to the display














    1. Harold Welch says "The 1000 ca 1972 system is actually a 1500 system. Note the two color panels. It was the first system to have a CRT instead of the storage scopes. It was invented between the TAPPI and CPPA shows one year."
    2. Harold Welch says "The 2000 ca 1974 system was installed in Vancouver Washington. This was done secretly months before the 2000 was announced."

    Gunnar Wennerberg - RIP
    One of my favorite people, and Measurex had a high percentage of good people, was a Swedish gentleman named Gunnar Wennerberg - who died July 1, 2008 -

    Gunnar worked in sensors, and lived about a block from me in Cupertino. I tended to visit with him at work rather than home - I guess our kids were very different ages.
        (Info from resume)
    M.S. Equivalent, Electrical Engineering, 1942, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm
    1947-52 LEAR, INC
          ... autopilot and general servomechanism development ...
    1954-59 LEAR, INC, (now Lear-Siegler).
          ... avionic devices... transistorized servo amplifiers .. airborne navigation ...
    1959-  Lockheed Missiles ...  Manager ... fuel cells  .. digital telemetry ... 

    Gunner would tell of working with Bill Lear
    In WW II Bill Lear proposed and apparently manufactured a good enough control for the tricky problem of controlling the turbo superchargers on high altitude bombers in WW II. Apparently he made enough money to later develop the small business jet called the Learjet 23. Lear had no aircraft design or manufacturing education nor experience, but selected inventive skilled people, which led to the development of a very successful aircraft - and Gunnar was one of those -

    According to Gunner, Lear's next project was a steam car. A prototype was made - but it seemed to have the following unresolvable problems:

    1. Mileage per gallon of fuel was poor compared to the then current gasoline engines
    2. Cooling the steam for the closed cycle of water/steam was a big problem. Even the outsides of the doors were used as part of the condenser - a safety hazard.
    3. Even though a "flash boiler" was used to try to speed getting steam when someone wanted to drive the car, it took almost a minute from "turning the key" to having enough steam pressure to drive down the street.
    Apparently the last was the project killer - Bill figured auto drivers would not wait, and therefore would not buy!

    Then Gunnar worked for Lockheed, but the dynamics of mass hirings and lay offs did not agree with his organized soul.

    In about 1970?, Gunnar joined Measurex as part of sensor development. The following are my recollections, corrected by John Dahlquist, Thanks much John :-))
    It is my impression that Gunnar worked on many gauges but his specialty was the thickness (caliper) gauge. I understood he had several patents on it -

    If I remember that gauge was so good that some folks bought the gauge as a separate item and tried to use it with competitive equipment -

    The software to use it was a combination of simple and complicated.

    • The thickness determination was relatively simple. Convert the frequency (difference due to the separation of the inductive lower and upper parts) to separation - a relatively straight forward formula
           - with minor correction due to the different compressions of different grades of the paper

    • The control of when to close (make the gauge touch the paper) and open the gauge was more complicated -
      • It was a contacting gauge, the two parts coming from the bottom head and the top head - You (the software) closed the gauge when the gauge was "On-Sheet" and opened just before going "Off-Sheet".
      • If you closed the gauge before it came on sheet, the rapidly moving paper generally cut through the rubber bellows that helped the gauge flex with the rapidly moving paper -
      • Worst case, either the top par or bottom part of the caliper head got sawed off by the rapidly moving paper and thrown some distance down the paper machine - maybe never to be seen again.
      • Also worst case - Sawing off of the gauge could tear the sheet of paper - further irritating the situation :-((
      • Going "off-sheet" with the gauge closed was not very cool either !!
    So, Software/Control had to be sure that the
        - offset from the center line of the scanning head was correct -
        - the edges of the paper were REALLY where you thought they were -

    But the gauge was a winner, apparently the best in the industry :-))
        Gunnar got many complements on it -

    John Dalquist e-mailed
    He also was responsible for Mx using the Microwave gauge, on an OEM basis from a Swedish company.

    He also proposed the Z-sensor, which ended up being a joint invention of Gunnar (who proposed it as a correction to the way the scanner distance changed and thus affected the basis weight gauge), myself who took his idea and made it work, first installed in Australia) and John Goss, who was the Sensor Group boss. Enough said.

    We sensor people thought the only real problem with the caliper gauge was that the S/W could not be relied on to know off-sheet vs on- sheet. This could hardly be a hardware design fault.

    Getting Started
    Mark Humphreys November 14, 2008
    I remember very few of the people there now---but I do remember two people very fondly---Carl Deck, the colorful retired Navy postman (and WWII/Korean War vet) with whom I worked in the mail room, and Doddy {Dodie?] Bossen, who was always kind to me during my short stint at the company.

    At age 21 I had just moved back to Northern California in early 1979 and, to make sure I had some income, had taken a job at a Jack in the Box restaurant in Saratoga while looking for a mail room position (which was where all of my experience was at the time). I had searched for weeks in the classifieds, going to interviews without any luck. I was staying at the time with some friends of my parents who lived in Cupertino, and every day on my way back to their house I passed by One Results Way. One afternoon after a particularly disappointing day of job hunting, something compelled me to pull into the Measurex parking lot and simply walk in the door, without any appointment, and ask for a job. It was one of those divine moments that never leaves me, no matter how old I get.

    It turned out that just that day Doddy had agreed with Carl that the mailroom needed an extra hand, and she was preparing to place an ad for the position. I?ll never forget how amazed Doddy was that I walked in right at that moment, or how quickly we hit it off. I had a job right there on the spot, and started the next day.

    I gave two-weeks? notice to Jack in the Box, figuring I could grind it out working graveyard, then 8 hours at Measurex immediately thereafter, for a small amount of time. I learned differently very quickly. On my second day of work at Measurex, I arrived about 20 minutes early from my restaurant gig and figured I?d take a short nap in my car. I woke up three hours later, ran in to the mail room, where Carl (who had assumed that after my first day I had just walked out) gave me some good-natured razzing and Doddy never said a word about it. On one of my breaks that day I called the manager at Jack in the Box and told him I was done. I worked at Measurex until March of 1980, and I?ll never forget the warmth and family atmosphere that existed there at the time.

    Thanks for the site and the opportunity to remember a very happy time.

    Mark Humphreys
    Mark S. Humphreys
    Vice President/Director of Risk Management
    Watt Companies
    2716 Ocean Park Boulevard \ Suite 2025
    Santa Monica, CA 90405-5209
    PH \ 310.314.2503 FX \ 800.856.4520

    A Basis Weight document - July 2009 - A tale from Ed Thelen
    I had a techwriter friend, Bill Hauser, who got a contract with Measurex. The six month contract was to write the manual for calibrating a sensor which measured the weight of fiber in paper. The weight of fiber in an area of paper is called "Basis Weight", that is the weight you see on a ream of paper - like 20 lbs.

    Basis Weight and moisture are prime things to control in the paper forming/drying process. (The paper goes by the gauge at up to 30 miles/hour.)

    1. He talked with sensor engineering how to do it. He wrote that up to their satisfaction.

    2. He showed it to the people who actually took customer samples and provided initial calibration for systems being shipped. They said his document was all wrong. He got into some trouble trying to get sensor engineering and the calibration people to reach a consensus.

    3. He showed the confused consensus to the field people, They did not adjust factory calibrations that way at all - and gave him their inputs.

    4. By that time, the six months was up -
      - My friend's attempted document was not published.
      - He was not invited back.
      - There never was an approved document developed -
      - This was at Measurex, the world leader in paper process control for over 20 years -

    The Spirit Lives On - Sept 2009
    from Matthew Morycinski - e-mail address doesn't work
    Just found your page about Measurex. I am a technician at Honeywell, formerly Measurex, QCS integration facility in North Vancouver, BC, Canada. Started in the fall 2007. Many techs and assemblers have been around much, much longer. They fondly remember the Measurex time, when the company splurged on parties and such. The company name may be different, but the spirit that drives the place seems to have survived. There is a lot of camaraderie that makes it such a nice place to go to every day! Nice to see that the history of Measurex is not being forgotten. Keep up the good work!

    Glad you enjoyed :-))
    I [Ed Thelen] worked a number of places before - and one since -
    but Measurex was tops :-)) IBM only second ;-))

    Hard to explain:

    • We of course bitched about the imperfections of life
    • We sometimes wondered about where Mx got their comparative salary info they quoted didn't seem to match the job offers we were getting
    • People did leave -
      Some felt Measurex was getting too big or the valley too crowded
      One software integration guy had a knack with people and selling realestate - left (1980?), was last heard of making big bucks selling commercial properties in Los Angeles
    But even folks that left thought very highly of Measurex --
        "I would like to stay but ..."

    There are some stories yet to come,
        but Big Dave figures that people don't need to know - so - we will see -
    I think he would have made/is a great poker player -

    Ed Thelen

    A Nano Report of 2010 Reunion - Jan. 9, 2010
    by Ed Thelen
    I arrived a little early (a bad habit I don't seem to break ;-) at The Duke of Edinburgh, Cupertino. There was Pat McSweeney waiting for "the rest of us" - and she was wearing the old Measurex badge. This was the style of badge I was issued in 1972 - George Wells, employee # 3xx said the original badge at Mathew Street did not have a picture.
    Pat McSweeney today I, Mr. Diplomacy, told her I really was enamored with her badge.
    Mike Terry took this best picture of her badge.

    At the same table a little later :-))

    I, being still lazy, had determined to take few pictures. I had come to talk, not to do post production work. Besides - most of us do not preserve as well as Pete Wellington, employee # 2xx. Some, such as Burt Kendall, looked distinguished, gray hair, ... .
        But, for the rest of us, - the spoken word may be a kindness.

    Dirk DeMol also came early - we of course talked astronomy.
    Dirk said in a 2011 e-mail
    "The software group for the Keck telescopes [10 meter diameter, Mona Kea, Hawaii] is now heavily Measurex-flavored. Their director is Kevin McCann who you might have met at Measurex. I think you were still there when Kevin came from Ireland. He now has two people under him who used to be my colleagues at Measurex in the later years."
    He had just come back from Costa Rica. He claimed you could drink the water, eat the fruit, walk the streets, ... Dirk had shown me the Internet in 1992 - this time he showed me the tricks he could do with his iPod - guess I will just HAVE to get one :-| (My youngest works at Apple - has been trying to persuade me for 'years' - like get modern !! )

    Soon the Mx reserved zone filled to overflowing with happy people exchanging tales. The noise was "deafening". A group of more than four really couldn't communicate - lots of mixing - lots of fun - I would guess 60 people?? including overflow near the bar -

    Robotics, software, hardware, ... who is where doing what ... A number are "looking" :-|

    As I was leaving I bumped into Rolf Brewer and Pete Wellington comparing notes of the decline of SUN Microsystems. Having been at GE Computer, Control Data, Mx and Landis&Gyr, I listened intently for clues of business survival ;-)) (Even IBM had to "re-invent" itself.)

    "Big Dave" did not get to this reunion from his rumored birthday party at a daughter's home.

    It seemed to me, a great time was had by all. Lots of "see you again next year" :-)))

    From Don Dittmann, now living retired in Oxnard, Ca (deceased Feb 2010 ??) "Many years have come and gone (and many miles too) since Ripon #001 and ConCan #003, to say noting of St. Francisville, Valiant and then Gold River etc, and Brisbane and Hobart, Tasmania ... to name a few. -
    "As you can see by my badge (employee # 37 on Mathew Street) it wasn't all hard work ... 12 hour days and 7 days a week when on travel trouble-shooting). But the big thing was we all had a piece of the action (contemporary pay scale, but lots of stock options) that we all felt a part of something bigger and leading edge. And the camaraderie, guys like Lumen Morrow (whom I brought over from GE Spacecraft), Don Brewster and Don Robinson (English blokes) doing the trade shows in New York Waldorf-Astoria and then in Montreal, Gene Stinson, Jerry Patel (Yes, that's him by the early scanner) and Oh ! What great management."

    Don Dittmann 'War Stories' Jan 2010 (e-mail address no longer works)
    And here's a picture from 1973 in Brisbane outside the paper mill (a few days before the hurricane (willy willy) that flooded the plant and sent me to Hobart, Tasmania for a week to fine tune their paper machines and wait for Brisbane to dry out. That's the physicist from cupertino, me, field engineer von Fremd, Bob Richardson, and the system engineer.
    We had been to Kellog Carton in Michigan trying to solve a microwave moisture gauge problem ... turned out the ink from recycled paper and magazine stock was gumming up the contact quartz window so the solution was to re-calibrate every 2 scans, send the heads off sheet every 10 scans to rub the window across a sanitary napkin taped to a paint stir-stick taped to the scanner frame, and three times a day clean the window with mineral spirits. Bob Fuller was sent to South Africa to perform the same fix and I was sent to Australia. Bob's problem was in using bagase (sugar cane pulp) to make paper and mine was using eucalyptus pulp. Same gummy problem, same fix. Cases of Kotex on expense reports might have raised some eyebrows !!

    But I did get to stop in Fiji, Tahiti (for a week), Samoa, and Hawaii (for a week too) after seven weeks in Austrailia. My contact in Sydney was Don Brewster who was a big help in getting our strontium 90 basis weight gauge thru customs (another war story) and also cashing U.S. checks. Also a British rock group was trying to get off a cruise ship to tour Australia with their band but didn't belong to the union so all unions (including stevadores and freight handlers) were on strike and customs questioned us at length about "Were we taking an Aussie's job?" ... The stock answer was we were only there long enough to train the local FE, but it still took hours to get inside the country.

    Want some more "war" stories ?

    Here's a couple pix of the paper/stud mill in Terrace, British Columbia. Seems every time I was on my way to Prince Rupert, Kamloops, or Prince George (sometimes with Pat Van Munn, another war story), I would first try to fly to Terrace, B.C. for maintenance and upgrade to their system. But they were always low clouds (on the ground) or snowed in, so we would make the approach, then waved off to continue on to Prince Rupert.
    One time even tried to drive from Ruppert to Terrace but RCMP had road blocks out and were using mortars to blast loose some avalanche across the hi-way and then get it plowed. Discretion sent me back to Rupert. But I did get into Terrace once for a long week. Checked into only motel and asked where to eat. Only place was Dairy Queen and the disco downstairs. Well the basement rocked with live music and huge velvet menu tied with gold cord. Inside was two items on facing pages ... American filet minon or breast of chicken, next page was German filet and chicken ... same for Japanese, Russian, Thai, French etc. So each night I tried a different country and each was delicious and authentic. What a place to be snowed in. How deep was the snow ? Look at the road to the mill.

    And Canada had a regulation ... 50 percent of Douglas fir had to be made into studs and 50 percent could be pulp. But the Japanese market for pulp was very good so after producing and loading studs onto flat cars they were pushed down to the paper mill and ground into export pulp. Law complied with !

    more (Dittmann ;-))
    Having been with Measurex from March 1971 to June of 1977 starting on Mathew Street, then # 1 Results Way in Cupertino and then finally out of the Portland, Oregon office; well there were a lot of "interesting" stories to tell ... and interesting people.

    Traveling with Eric Dahlen was always different. First off, he was about 6 foot 4 with a thick Scandinavian accent, having graduated PhD in Finland. As a vice-president (and with long legs) he always traveled first class and so did I so we could talk business on our way to Augusta, Georgia or Valiant, Oklahoma or wherever.
        Ron Smith carried his tool kit: an army foot locker full of equipment (must have weighed 50-60 pounds) and he could just about rebuild a system in the field if required. Even stuffed his old bib overalls in the hole they had knocked in the Mx computer shack for the cable entry 'cause it was air-conditioned and steam poured thought the hole and kept knocking our system out. Innovation was the main technique in the early days. Con-Can in Augusta and Interstate Paper in Savannah were early sites and mill managers had no qualms about calling Mr. Bosen at any time of day or night if our system crapped.
        Eric was a whiz with the theory and implementation and guys like Ron could make repairs with masking tape and coat hangars if that's what it took. On an early trip with Eric I noticed he was always living high on the hog (which was not too high at Holiday Inn, Augusta, Georgia), and the always say charge it to Mr. Dittmann's room. After 10 days I had quite a bill so on the plane back I asked him about how come I had to foot the bill. He explained that as VP Engineering he had to approve my expense reports, but his had to be approved by Dave. Did accounting ever catch on ?

    At Valiant the new mill was an economic development in the middle of the dust bowl, but on the Red River. Nearest trees were in Arkansas where the lumber mill loaded their chips in box cars to make pulp and the bark and sawdust to burn in the steam boilers ... shipped about two hundred to where the unemployed farmers were. But they had to bring in experienced paper-makers from North Carolina to start up and run the mill. Now this was the largest paper machine ever ... 1000 inch wide sheet (about 83 feet) and over a half mile long ... first time for three scanner too!
        Gene Stinson had to replace the computer, so he carried it from his car in the parking lot across the plant and up about 40 stairs ... ended up with a clot in his arm and in the hospital for about a week back in San Jose.
        The plant was so long that signal boosters were needed to keep the 3.5 volt signal traveling from wet end to dry end to light the panels. Now communicating between the good old southern boys, the Oklahoma farmers, and Eric's Finnish sometimes got quite funny and frustrating when Dr. Dahlin was trying to explain some simple algebraic concept, with me as interpreter. There were a lot of "Yumpin' Yiminy's" and "Yeppers" before we finally rolled the first sheet at about 1000 feet per minute ... also the fastest paper machine. Couldn't even celebrate because it was a dry county so had to wait 'till Dallas airport.

    Christmas Cards from the Bossens
    Yes, and every Christmas every employee got a family oriented Christmas Card from the Bossens :-)) Usually a Bossen family picture with the four daughters :-))

    Wilson Barbosa e-mailed from Brazil - Jan 17,2010
    I?m the first Measurex employed in Brazil. I had been visiting this page and last week working on my office I found a nice picture received from Dodie and Dave Bossen in December 1988. Great times it was.

    Dodie and Dave send to all Measurex folks this card. I lost all others that I had from 1978.This one survived.

    as sent, (reduced)

    It Will be Nice to all folks remember great time we had with measurex.

    By this time do you have any information about chuck wortley? Sales man that I met in 1978. He sold first system in Brazil.

    Many thanks

    Wilson Barbosa

    Creative Hanky Pank received May 1, 2010, from Tony Favero, favero_t at hotmail dot com
    Hello Ed,

    Don?t know if you recall me, I worked at Measurex from 1978-88 and shared my office for most of that period with Marilyn Clemo.
        [ Ed's comment, Marilyn Clemo was more pleasant to look at, STACKED, and a more reasonable person, than any current Hollywood starlet. Maybe I'm showing my age? ]

    I just saw your site and came across some interesting memories, esp. the mud wrestling affair. I confess I must suffer some responsibility or accountability for the emergence of that nefarious episode in Measurex history. My role in much of life from college on has been one of instigator, leaving the flowering of such instigation to more entrepreneurial types.

    One evening I ventured into San Jose?s Saddle Rack to experience the largest bar in the area equipped with a mechanical bull and became quite fascinated with mud wrestling and the contemplation that some member of Measurex?s more audacious staff could possibly vie for the much vaunted mud wrestling title. Upon sharing my experience and hopes with some promising promoters the next day we quickly found many Measurex hopefuls in attendance at the Saddle Rack the very next week. Regrettably, I was unable to attend this first gathering, but fortunately for me, the bidding war for the privilege was lost to a more affluent congregation. But with little despair and brimming with great hope, the same assemblage returned to the Saddle Rack the following week and victory this time was ours. The honor of representing Measurex fell to Mike Powell. Mike performed admirably and was designated the winner of this hard fought contest with fame and celebrity his reward. Sadly though, Mike never defended his title and fell into mud wrestling historical obscurity afterwards.

    There are so many stories I can relate. I do recall Lincoln Towse was the fellow that provided much of that entrepreneurial talent that I refer to. He was responsible for carrying out the 180 degree turn of Clemo?s desk that was a big hit. Lincoln at that time had too much time on his hands and spent an entire morning gathering resources and carrying out this well engineered project. The front side of her desk was turned towards and backed up to the window, with the rear part of the desk then equipped with black paper in the middle to simulate the leg well with desk drawers then carefully drawn in with black marker and ruler. Items on top of the desk were carefully 180?d. The result was quite outstanding, as we had some people stand outside our door and view Clemo?s desk unable to detect any misplacements. Clemo finally came in, sat down to look at something on her desk, and without looking attempted to put her purse in the lower left drawer but found no drawer and only black marker on her hand?..she screamed and many came rushing in to discover the cause of her dismay. For that entire day, people came in, with some people even bringing groups, to view Lincoln?s masterpiece. Near the end of the day we reluctantly relented to Clemo?s desires to return her desk to normal placement.

    Plus the ?Macho Mike? (our boy again?.Mike Powell) photos that were taken up on the 2nd floor outside break area (amid a number of curious and perplexed onlookers, as Mike was viewed posing with his shirt off as Lincoln captured the images)?..the best photo was later presented to Clemo for her pleasure (and astonishment I might add). Her screams upon first viewing the photo on the wall next to her desk are quite memorable and brought in quite an abundance of viewing audience for some time. I believe I have a copy of that photo and would love to upload it to your site. It was really a lot of fun in those days.

    During the time that ?Baby on board? stickers were found on so many cars, I found such a sticker, in blue that stated ?I Stop for Studs?. I retained this sticker in my desk and on occasion I would share my desire with Lincoln on installing this on the rear window of Clemo?s car. Lincoln demurred on this project for some months, then to my astonishment one day, he comes enthusiastically rushing in to our office just before lunch and demands to see the sticker at once and goes to Clemo?s desk to retrieve her car keys (Clemo was of course absent at the time). He then rushed out, installed the sticker on the rear window and quickly returned the keys to Clemo?s purse. The result was gratifying (for me at least); Clemo and Lincoln were later driving to a restaurant for lunch, when she glimpsed the sticker from the rearview mirror and shouts ?Lincoln you A..Hole!?, hits the brakes and quickly disposes of the sticker. I was sometimes amazed that she desired me as an officemate despite all the travails that befell her due to my depraved amusements.

    Perhaps more later.

    Take care Ed.

    Tony Favero

    and more Creative Hanky Pank received Sept 2013 from Tony Favero, favero_t at hotmail dot com

    Creative Hanky-Panky Continued??

    Coors Inspiration?..

    In the early halcyon days of our hiring into Measurex, there was a span of time that my former officemate, Mike Powell, reasoned that stocking beer in the company fridge to be a worthy undertaking for those thirsty moments that beckoned for inspiration. Later on I recall he had a rather prolonged evening on the production floor that necessitated laboring into the wee hours of the morning; upon arriving at work at daybreak, we observed empty Coors cans residing up and down the scanners as ample testimony of his overnight efforts. Several weeks afterward found Mike a bit distressed that someone would shamelessly breach what he termed the ?honor code? by pilfering his beer from the company fridge; this unmitigated provocation sadly terminated such indulgences.

    Fly trekking?

    As a new hire in those same warm days of spring with no project, while Ed Thelen in an adjoining office was snapping photos of the new building construction with the underground garage, I found myself on occasion with too much time on my hands. Whereas our second floor office provided a perfect vantage point to view the new construction, the location also provided an abundance of flies on our windows due to the door just below the stairs remaining open far too habitually. I am uncertain as to what motivated me, but I opened a small bottle of whiteout and carefully applied it to the back of one fly?.sounds silly, certainly. But I was rewarded with the remarkable observation that the fly refused to become airborne afterwards and gave preference to just walking on the window, fully unresponsive to any hand waving attempts to encourage flying. As Mike Powell and I shared an office with Dan Caoco (sp?), the computer lab manager, a brainstorm came upon me. I commenced to apply additional whiteout to other flies, then having them walk on to a sheet of paper whereupon I would transport our newly fashioned pedestrians to Dan?s desktop. I estimate the process took about 20-30 minutes to acquire around 12-14 of these diminutive desktop trekkers due to an abundance of applicants. My efforts were entertainingly rewarded soon afterwards as Dan returned to his office to exclaim ?what are all these flies doing on my desk?? and even more hilarious to see him wildly wave his hands over the desktop, leaving him astonished that the little trekkers ignored all encouragements to abandon the desktop to soar into the air.

    Lunch time foibles??

    The apparition of Bob Zimmer, our supervisor, can still be seen and heard at the top of the stairs at the old Measurex building as we exited out for a customary Friday lunch, exclaiming??.?you guys are coming back aren't you?? Bob became a little insecure about our Friday afternoon attendance and frequently required assured affirmation of return. Lunch attendees in those early days, before ambitions eroded such frivolities, were Jerry McCain, Mike Powell, Robin Sinee (sp?) and I; later on those memorable Friday lunch forays included a fellow from South Africa, whose name I can no longer recall, so I?ll just label him Rob. Rob was in all ways a good fit for us. Once while Rob was driving us all back from lunch on Hwy 9 he turned into the left turn lane to await a green turn arrow to Bubb Road. We were the first car in the turn lane and were awaiting the green arrow, when Jerry McCain reached over from the back seat, shut off the engine, removed the keys and threw them into the landscaped median strip. At that precise moment the green turn arrow came on which by then we had accumulated quite a number of cars in back of us waiting to turn. Needless to say, Rob was quite displeased as he exited the car cursing to find himself plowing about the divider landscaping to search and recover his car keys while impatient drivers honked their horns at him; the conclusion of yet another entertaining and memorable lunch.

    Measurex recreation precinct ??

    In those same times, Rob found himself as the third person in an office that included Mike Powell and Jerry McCain. Rob, rumor had it, was put there to provide a calming effect on the antics of Jerry and Mike, but such efforts proved futile. Once again, Rob was a good fit, but one not intended by management. I used to refer to this office as the Rec Room. When I desired to stretch my legs and take a break?.I would go down to that office for some amusement and relaxation. Once, while strolling down there I heard Rob yelling and as I entered into the ?Rec Room?, I observed Jerry holding Rob high by the ankles as Rob?s head went in and out of a trash can while Mike howled with laughter. I am uncertain as to what initiated that episode but I nevertheless secured some momentary diversion from work.

    Rebel with a cause??

    As Carol Gilbert mentioned above about Steve Cabot, the homeless employee; I don?t recall that he was homeless, but he did rent a room from me in Half Moon Bay for a period of 9 months along with his German shepherd dog, Edgar. Steve was certainly a fascinating fellow who eschewed conformity to many of the mores of society and corporate. Steve employed as a Control Engineer, possessed eccentricities that were quite amusing. For instance during field trips away from Cupertino, Steve?s concept of doggie care was to park his truck in the back lot and place an open 50 lb bag of dog food inside of his truck for Edgar, windows down of course; transforming the truck for a period of time into a mobile dog house. Edgar was quite a enjoyable dog and could usually be found in the truck, hopping in and out on occasion though the open windows to take care of business or grab a drink out of one of the percolation ponds nearby. At home, I once got on my knee to place my arm around Edgar and commence to howl; Edgar being a very quick study without hesitation commenced to howl in concert with me. The local kids once saw me do this and afterwards from time to time, Edgar and the neighborhood children could be heard performing outside?..Edgar proved to be quite a virtuoso in those days. Meanwhile, Steve shunned conventional 40 hour work weeks to persist in laboring tirelessly for days without sleep on self-styled projects, doubtless with the assistance of some pharmaceuticals. He once submitted a three digit sum of weekly hours on his timecard but was forced to rectify it as it exceeded 168 hours, the total number of hours in a week. Such long hours eventually became his undoing and at length he departed Measurex to engage in inspired endeavors better suited to his life style.

    Characters of note: From Carol Gilbert

    Steve Cabot, our homeless employee, who lived in his truck in the parking lot, The Duke of Dork who stuck to you like flypaper, Holly who had a special relationship with the Xerox machine, Jerry McCann and Mike Powell--to know them was to love them, Claudia Mc Queen whose silhouette made strong men crumble, Tom King, who besides being the best VP, made April Fool's Day special, Pat Van Munn who lived by the credo, "It's better to ask forgiveness than permission.

    End-of-quarter catch and release?.

    Dave Bossen and assorted VPs loitered nearby with mellifluous music playing as the beer and wine flowed at a ?end of the quarter? party in the Measurex parking lot; the consumed libations inspired Jerry McCann to swiftly seize Robin Sinee and fling her over his shoulder to then hastily sprint away from the Measurex assemblage while loudly exclaiming, as Robin screamed,???I got mine!? Ty Chen became mortified and feared that some would cease gainful employment owing to such frolics. Fortunately, Measurex leadership exhibited broad tolerance to such undomesticated behavior.

    Friday revelry??.

    Friday going away parties in the software department for Measurex employees transitioning to other employments were usually raucous affairs and generally, with very few exceptions, persisting well past Friday lunch hours, and some advancing into the evening hours as well. During one occasion at a Hwy 9 restaurant, a male and female employee became embroiled in an inebriated tiff, in which the man dumped an iced drink in the lady?s lap. Not to be outdone, the woman commenced to open up a ketchup container and vigorously wave the container past the fellow, who ducked at the precise moment, only to leave a line of ketchup on the wall behind him? incensed waitress witnessing the scene at that critical juncture vigorously encouraged the Measurex assemblage to vacate the premises with due haste. The subsequent party necessitated scheduling at another restaurant.


    And who could overlook the Duke of flypaper celebrity that Carol mentions above?! It was grueling to sustain two-way conversations with Duke, as getting in a word edge-wise proved unfeasible, leaving one with an imminently exploding head. Once, in a desperate struggle to extricate myself from diarrheal verbosity, I impulsively departed my office for the men?s room but was shadowed attentively by Duke the entire route. In anguish, with Duke remaining in persistent tow, I desperately advanced to the 4 person programmer?s corner office, whereupon I successfully engaged him and one of the programmers in conversation, at which point I was able to exit unmolested and scurry back to my office to swiftly secure the door behind me. Soon afterwards, Jack Obicina, one of the afflicted programmers approached me with a newly crafted office ruling: ?You take him in, you take him out.?

    Once as Duke departed for a week?s vacation (which furthermore was merriment for one and all) all the office doors in the hall remained freely open for the entire duration of Duke?s vacation. Upon his return on the following Monday morning all doors were found shuttered as a precaution. Afterward the Powell-McCann office, functioning much like a foreign embassy, granted sanctuary to those entering due to Duke?s reticence to cross the unwelcoming and hostile threshold.

    Measurex Holy Grail?

    Building a Dec or HP system devoid of QA errors appeared unattainable and later emerged into a sort of an elusive Holy Grail in Measurex legend. One heroic attempt, however, was documented to snatch this elusive prize. The man of the hour was Herb Baumgartner, our office neighbor and Measurex programmer freshly entrusted with a project, now a quest, to create a new, but duplicate system he fashioned earlier for the same customer. Herb, like the knight of Grail legend, now seemed blessed by fate with the opportunity to craft the fabled ?perfect system? and thus enter into the annals of Results Way legend. Armed with prior knowledge of all QA errors, plus all known audit trail edits on the previous system, he meticulously lined up the foot high databases of old and new systems side-by-side to laboriously advance page by page to apprehend any elusive errors. Finally the hardware on the production floor was ready and so was Herb. With scanners going to and fro satisfyingly and all errors known to mankind seized and eradicated, several days elapsed with the QA error book free of discrepancies. It now appeared that indeed Providence had kindly gazed down on Herb and his quest to enter into Measurex grail legend. However, tantalizing near the conclusion of the testing period Mike Shelly, the Measurex QA man assigned to Herb?s system and unaware of this historic mission, audaciously documented a discrepancy into the hereto error free QA system log. Understandably disconcerted by this shocking setback, Herb departed the premises abruptly and his whereabouts remained uncertain for several days; sadly this terminated the last known grail quest.

    Vision received March 29, 2011, from Raul Femenia, fraulf1940 at yahoo dot com
    Don, Clifford et al:
    I was also one of those complaining about Vision and the sequels; way too complicated....
    I had so much power and independence with the good old HP systems....

    But let me tell you that I have had a lot of fun and $ lately consulting with MXOpen systems, that still right now are controlling processes like in Ely Lilly in Indiana and FMC in Green River, WY.
    They are slowly replacing them with the likes of Delta V and Siemens but by no means these new guys have the capabilities of the MXOpen + Unitec..
    So, the history is still being writen..

    Anyway, hang in there and don't ride into the sunset yet...
    Raul Femenia

    Frans Venter - fventer at attglobal dot net - replies
    Hello Raul

    On the other side of the coin ? Vision and MxOpen was incredibly easy to sell! I know ? I sold many and some of the biggest out there and never had a complaint that it was too expensive. Ditto for all my old Euro colleagues, we out marched and outsold the competition because it beat anything else hands down. (I know I will end up in hell for saying this, but Alcont too in those days!) Customers liked the fact that it was a one stop shop. My team was absolutely fabulous, we delivered as promised and on time. The Ireland factory teams were delivering total quality on time. When I left Mx I left a backlog of 2 years for my team. You would be surprised how many systems there are still globally. Many an old Mx salt still making good money to this day as customers see no reason to spend big bucks on a system from one of the Big Four while the old QCS and DCS crank away merrily?

    Best regards,


    John Andrews - john atsign softgoodsint dot com - comments from the field - received June, 2011
    ... - I worked out of Chicago where there was a really strong "fan base" for the Dec systems, I'm sure you know some of the names, they did remarkable work (as did the 'Jazz group' out there). And they generally had the similar feeling about Vision as you indicated. Given the chance, they'd have developed the same functionality based on the DEC Jazz platform. It just seemed that there were some curious driving forces that were pushing things (in the Intel/Vision direction).

    As history happened to unfold for me, I did get extremely involved with Vision in that period, 84 through 89 (I departed in 89). I liked the opportunity to learn new and different things. The only big objection I had was that Vision was on life support for so long a period of time, and there was such resistance to take seriously the sincere feedback (from the field, often customers) as being "learning opportunities" for product improvement.

    I'm sure that certain folks would argue that this wasn't the case, but I remain convinced that the high degree of fragility of Vision during the 84 to 90ish time was a factor in the corporate direction, analogous to the Titanic hitting the ice berg. It didn't sink the ship right away, but the hull was leaking enough to make staying afloat a problem. By the time MxOpen was ready for prime time, the hull was still too waterlogged so Honeywell pulled their boat along side, and the rest, as they say is history.

    Bossen Oral History - sorted index/links
    David Bossen was interviewed by the University of California at Berkeley for an Oral History. The original is
    here in .pdf format.

    I have received permission to post the above document, on this web site, in HTML format, with "anchors" so people can immediately go to specific statements. This version of the document is here

    The posted Bossen Oral History has a Table of Contents in mostly historical order here with links added to topics.

    The table below is in topic sort order for easier access to a given topic.
    AccuRay Corp – was Industrial Nucleonics 01-00:49:22

    AEC [Atomic Energy Commission] 01-00:33:38

    Alcoa 01-00:28:44

    aunt 01-00:10:46

    Blanche B. Woelffel , owned Cupertino farm 02-00:13:11

    born 01-00:02:51

    cafeteria, information source 02-00:30:12

    color sensor 02-00:21:34

    Cupertino, move to 02-00:12:13

    dad dies, moved in with grandmother 01-00:05:32

    digital computer, 01-00:42:39

    Doris Stephens Bossen 02-00:12:21

    Draper, Gaither & Anderson – venture capital 01-00:59:42

    Eric Dahlin, co-founders, software 01-00:52:20

    first three systems 02-00:40:45

    fleet appointment 01-00:14:26

    gamma ray sensors 02-00:22:57

    Gene Anderson , co-founders, hardware 01-00:53:15

    Industrial Nucleonics 01-00:31:27

    infrared-based moisture sensor, better one 02-00:16:56

    international service organization 02-00:37:11

    IPO in 1972 , $20 to $40 first day 02-00:44:37

    John Howarth 02-00:16:56

    local service – 99.7 up time 02-00:43:07 02-00:44:16
    Marine Corps 01-00:07:20

    minicomputer 01-00:51:29

    MIT 01-00:18:49

    MIT marketing 01-00:24:16

    moisture-measuring 01-00:39:53

    Naval Academy 01-00:13:23 01-00:21:20 01-00:27:24
    objective: outstanding economic results 02-00:46:47

    parents business 01-00:04:22

    Physicists and sensor business 02-00:16:21 02-00:34:25
    products consistent = make money! 01-00:45:56

    purchase by Honeywell in 1997 02-00:47:48

    quarterly meetings - physicists w sales people 02-00:26:11

    Radioisotopes 01-00:33:18 02-00:23:26
    results company 02-00:32:00 02-00:37:11
    Santa Clara, first office and development center 01-00:55:12 02-00:10:44
    sheet process industries 02-00:09:36

    venture capital $1.3 million 01-00:54:03 01-00:56:19
    VP, general manager Industrial Nucleonics 01-00:50:42

    Hired because-of/inspite-of being greasy ;-)) from Rik Nilsson, Jan 2013
    Ed, you old Nike war-monger.

    I'm Rik Nilsson. I was hired into Measurex by Kieth Swanson in February, 1971 as Field Engineer employee #39 or #62 (or something low) and sent to Snowflake, AZ to install and maintain the 1000 System there on their #3 kraft machine. When Keith interviewed me in Phoenix, I was working as a small engine repairman for a rental company, in jeans and plaid shirt with grease up to my elbows. His Red Lion hotel suite was full of suited guys. Don't know why he hired me, I was a mess. Maybe because I was ex-Navy (submarine) and we were both Scandahoovians.

    He invited me down to the bar after grading my tests and we had a pitcher of beer -- he stood up, shook my hand and said I'd get plane tickets to Cupertino on Monday! That's how Measurex moved in those days -- strike like a cobra. I was there 2 years. One extra job the FE had in Snowflake was to also maintain the mill's railroad crossing light electrics. What a kick!

    A town with no stop lights, one grocery, one Western Auto store (also the motorcycle and gun store), one school, two churches (one Mormon, one everything else). The mill was 14 miles away in the middle of desert just off the highway. I hired Tom Grant to replace me and moved back to California (Antioch, home of Louisiana Pacific mill) to become a Senior Field Engineer. Bob Fuller was our Installation Engineer. I traveled 5 days a week hitting Ripon(Sys#1), Stockton(cylinder board kraft), Santa Clara, Salinas(Firestone Rubber tire fabric calendar), Anahiem(Proctor&Gamble tissue machine) and occasionally Snowflake and another new mill in Flagstaff. There was another one up around Concord, CA, I think, or south of there off of I5 someplace. I was responsible for 13 systems in all.

    After awhile I went to Ocean Falls BC to install a newsprint system for a year, then came back and Bob Fuller and I swapped jobs for couple years. I worked with Area Manager John Spanbaur as a Systems Engineer for awhile, configuring 1010 and 2000 systems and managing installation projects. I was asked to be the field liaison for the 2001 System development project, so I moved to San Jose for about 3 years. Afterwards, I became Chief of Quality inspection, over Incoming Inspection, PC Board Assy&Test, and Subassembly fab. I took college courses in quality control at night at De Anza. Once Dave Bossen personally called me to his office and talked me into going to Taio Paper in Iyo Myshima Japan for a couple of months to get a newsprint system back online. The Japanese service group had let all the 'extras' degrade (headbox ctl, caliper, dryer-limited control).

    I remember writing statistical analysis programs on the 'big' VAX 11/780 we used to do the cross-compiling on. I met Robin Senne, a pretty blonde software engineer you may recall -- we were bad, fooled around a bit -- I got divorced and we married in 1982. After I got back from Japan, I was passed over for Director of Quality so we both quit and moved north.
    Still together, living rurally southeast of Medford, Oregon now. Retired and raising chickens, brewing beer, playing with my John Deere.

    So very sorry to hear about Lumon... he was a good friend and colleague, and an able mentor when I was learning BLOC control tuning, and on the 2001 project. I loved the way his facial expressions would animate his soft-spoken explanations and solutions to your problems. Especially when he'd sneak in a wry joke! What a guy. I'm glad he had a full, productive and rewarding life. Oops, got something in my eye.



    Early installed sites, and characteristics ? from Warren - May 2013 via
    Is there anyone out there in ex_mx land who can answer the following historical questions about Measurex?

    What kind/grade of paper did the first Measurex system measure? (e.g. kraft, tissue, paper board, etc.)

    If system #1 wasn't on a tissue machine, how long did it take Measurex to sell its first system for use on tissue?

    Any information about the SEQUENCE of paper applications in the early days of Measurex would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks and best regards,
    Warren - Mx 81-89

    The first Measurex system was installed on a fine paper machine at Ripon, California. This was before my time but I worked there much later, after system #1 had been replaced by system #2000. The machine made fine paper, lots of colors, lots of weights.

    Scott Mayer

    From:	"Vangeel Paul" < >
    Date:	Sat, May 11, 2013 1:26 pm
    To:	"Warren Schirtzinger" < >
    Hello Warren,
    It has been a long time we had contact but it does feel good to still see your interest
    in this fantastic company we both had the pleasure and honor to work in.
    The answer to your questions can be found in an interesting interview of Dave Bossen
    by Sally Smith Hughes (University of California) in 2010 :
    which you can find at
    In the last part of this interview Dave mentions:
    The first three systems that went in?one went in Varkhaus, Finland. No, that?s the next year.
     Can you slide that report over to me? [reviewing annual report] This is the 1972 annual report,
    and it shows the systems. The first three systems went in?one in Garden State Paper Company
    in New Jersey, one in Fiberboard Corp. which was in Antioch, California then, one in
    Simpson Lee Paper Company out here in Ripon, California. I wanted to get all three of them
    in California so we could service them easily. And then we started moving out.
    Our first European systems went into Ahlstrom and Varkhaus, Finland, Bowater in England,
    and Fundy Forest Industries in Canada.
    But this [annual report] shows the first three?1968, ?69, ?70, ?71, ?72.
    This was a great selling aid, showing this to our new customers.
    Best Regards
    Paul C.J. Vangeel
    Zandstraat 19
    4891PP Rijsbergen
    The Netherlands
    Tel: +31 (0) 76 596 3927
    Cell: +31 (0) 652 523 901

    From: "John Gingerich" < >
    To: < >

    First Kraft machine was Fiberboard Paper in Antioch, CA. I worked on that one in 1970. I think first newsprint was Garden State Paper Company in New Jersey. These along with Simpson Lee in Ripon, CA were first three. First tissue, I think, was Wisconsin Tissue in Wisconsin and that would have been late 1970/71. I have all of these records at another location where I will be in about two weeks. Let me know if you need something else.

    John G. Mx 1970-1997(1999)

    TUQUER < >

    simpson was text and cover and it was the first of all of them

    hey john, howdy from patrick theut in michigan

    From: Raul Femenia < >

    Hi everybody: nice to hear from all of you...Long life to Mx...
    Just a little trivia: I used to go to a paper mill in Trois Rivieres (Quebec) (perhaps Canadian International Paper) that had the most newsprint machines: 11 of them and all had a Mx system on it..!!!
    Now we read the news in Google...-;)

    Raul Femenia (1977-1982 and 1986-1993)
    Montreal, Cupertino, Mexico City, Cupertino

    Form: "Harold" < >

    • System No 1 was at Simpson Lee Paper in Ripon CA. They made fine paper of various grades. I was Measurex's first field service engineer there.
    • System No. 2 was at Fiber Board in Antioch CA where they made heavier papers.
    • I don't remember System No 3.
    • I believe System No 4 was in New Jersey and it was newsprint.
    • I think the first tissue machine was at Wisconsin Tissue, but I don't remember when it was installed.
    Harold Welch 1969-1979

    From: < >

    I think #3 was coated board at CCC in Augusta, GA. # 8 was linerboard at Interstate in Riceboro, GA.

    Phil Wheeler

    From: Ernie Bell < >

    What was the number of the system that went down in flames when the "cannery" caught fire? I remember fetching parts off of old systems we stored in that old building to satisfy Level One orders. We sure serviced some old systems, couldn't buy new parts (they didn't make'em anymore) so we had to be creative. Guys like Glen Closson, Harry Jue, Rahlon, and a few others made my job easier at times because of their Measurex "History" knowledge.
        I worked there for almost twenty years, miss it at times!

    From: "Basanese, Chris" < >


    It was System 1 that met its demise in the great cannery fire. I recall seeing the remains of the scanner the day after. The I beams had twisted and the welds holding the end plates had apparently given way as they were no longer connected (it was a very hot fire). I do not recall seeing any other parts of the system ? but then there was not much that was recognizable in the ashes.

    Best of luck to you and all the other folks that I had the privilege to work with at Measurex.

    Chris Basanese (1977 ? 1997)

    2014, Measurex complex now Apple iTunes campus
    Someone hosted Dirk deMol, Ed & Randy Thelen on a one hour tour. The product planning areas were off limits. In general the cubicles did not have doors.
    This in an annotated GoogleEarth (2014) view of the old Measurex complex, now the Apple iTunes campus I arrived half an hour early for the 9:00 tour and took some pictures - which attracted security who asked that I stop taking pictures - I have no inside shots -
    A panorama of the Bubb Road entrance on the left, Results Way, ..
    A steady stream of buses brought people to work. Two passengers will soon remove two bicycles from the cargo bay of the lead bus. There were also smaller buses in the stream -
    Remember the tunnel ?? Still alive and well, view from east, with a large parking area under the building on the right of the tunnel. The building on the right was (and is) still a cafeteria.
    And viewed from the west. Far to the left, facing north, was the receiving dock. And to the right, the shipping dock. We moved product ;-)) Yeah - good product !!

    Ernie Belkham (employee # 577) shared some 1973 documents, List of personel, Field Support, Field Engineering, and Installations, - Aug 22, 2014 - using Yahoo groups file sharing. Ernie [belkham @ aol . com] retired last fall and moved to Valrico, Fla.
    "Description : A copy of Measurex personel as of December 1972 given to me during one of my visits to the home office"
    Mx-Personel-as-of-12_11_72.pdf, 2.2 MBytes

    Hmmm - Ernie has "Time-in-Grade" on me, Ernie's list shows me as employee #580 :-| ;-))

    There are numeric gaps in the employee # list -
    And I don't see Doris Bossen ???
    Ernie wrote back noting that Doris Bossen is employee # 264, and wonders if there is a story there ??
    Harold Welch writes Aug 26, 2014
    When I joined Measurex in 1969, Dodie was not yet there. She was going to Stanford earning her Masters/PHD.
    I'm not sure exactly when she started.
    Her "Analysis of Relationships" testing for employment at Measurex started after that.

    I notice that Don Wyman was not on the employees list. He was one of the first programmers. I guess he was gone already.

    "Description : From company directory dated April 19 1973"
    "Description : From company directory dated April 19 1973"
    "Description : From company directory dated April 19 1973"
    Mx-Field Engineers-04-19-1973.pdf
    "Description : From company directory dated April 19 1973"
    Harold Welch writes Aug 26, 2014
    You will notice that there was no system 28.

    This system was intended to go to a paper mill in Wisconsin. Ken Ostrow was the salesman It was built, tested and ready to ship, but Ken never actually got the order.

    Promotional "Giveaways", from Warren Schirtzinger, added Oct 2014 via the Mx news group
    I was recently cleaning out my garage and discovered a bunch of promotional "giveaways" Measurex used in the past. (see attached photo) The variety is quite impressive: - Measurex-branded golf balls, - various pens, - key chains, - Measurex-branded books about Silicon Valley, - beer mugs, - coasters/paper weights
    I know a variety of golf shirts were produced but I think those were for employees rather than customers. And I'm guessing there were many other promotional giveaways as well.

    'Olympic Medals', from Rebecca Hendricks, added Jan 29, 2015 via the Mx news group
    I am packing for a possible move and came across two of the 'Olympic medals' from the 1992 Atlanta MXOpen TAPPI training and competition. I'll send them to anyone who is nostalgic enough to want them :-)

    Rebecca Hendricks
    408-307-9616 cell

    Dave Bossen Passed Away Today - April 21, 2015
    Subject: [ex_mx] Dave Bossen Passed way today
    From: "Anders aaxelsson @ yahoo . com [ex_mx]"
    Date: Tue, Apr 21, 2015 11:48 pm
    To: ""

    I just wanted all of you to know that Dave Bossen passed away today. He was at home with his loved ones and he died peacefully.

    I am not sure how to express my sadness - but for me and my family a great man has left us.

    Let us all ex-Measurex people remember a man who meant so much to all of us - remember a company that was all about of us - a company that cared about people. Dave was the person that made that happen.

    I met Dave over the weekend and he still was discussing what was happening around the world and how we all at Measurex had a great company.

    Darlene asked me to let you all know that he was always thinking of all of us.

    You can send her an e-mail at qweend @ pacbell . net

    I will provide more details about his funeral when we have more details...

    In great sadness - Anders

    Memorial for Dave Bossen - to be Tuesday, June 9, 2015
    from Alison [Bossen] Tahl, April 30, 2015

    Darlene has set the Memorial service for Tuesday, June 9 at 3 PM. It is being held at the Menlo Circus Club. The obit will appear this Sunday in the SF Chronicle and the San Jose Mercury papers.

    By the way this service is exactly six months from Dad's Jan. 9 birthday when he turned 88. Also there will be an Honor Guard to present a flag to Darlene.

    Aloha, Alison

    Sun, May 03, 2015 Tony Favero sent link to Obituary from San Jose Mercury News
    - - - - -
    I much prefer this picture of Dave taken at the 2006 Mx reunion.
    Bossen oral history, collected by UC at Berkeley

    Please RSVP
    from Anders, Wed, May 06, 2015 8:37 pm
    As some of you might have seen there will be a Memorial Service for Dave Bossen on June 9th @ 3pm. The service will be held at the Circus Club in Menlo Park.

    Darlene has asked me if I could help her with getting information of how many people that will attend for planning purposes.

    So if you plan to attend would you be so kind and send me an e-mail at with that information. This will make it so much easier for Darlene.

    Thank You - Anders

    Obituary By Tony Favero
    Hi Ed

    Its interesting to note that long before Jobs and Wozniak commenced work in that Los Altos garage, Dave's vision at Meaurex was already a reality. I always wanted to write an Op-Ed on Bossen, but always put off the research. With his passing, I finally did write something (below)...solely from my remembrances and heart. The time at Measurex for many of us was a seminal time in our lives. The letter below may get published in Palo Alto, but that remains uncertain. The pics do not come though in the email so I offer them as attachments is a cropped pic from your website.

    Dear Editor: I worked as a software engineer for 10 years at Measurex Corp in Cupertino. Mr. Bossen was certainly an icon of Silicon Valley and a most wonderful human being. He lived for decades in Woodside and later Menlo Park. Many on the SF Peninsula are greatly saddened to learn of his departure from all of us. With sincere heart I decided to write the following general story of him and the company he founded. Below are two cropped pictures, of Mr. Bossen, one recent the other much earlier in his life. For your generous consideration: Thank you.

    This past April, Silicon Valley visionary David August Bossen, 88, long time resident of San Mateo County, quietly passed away at his home in Menlo Park. Most residents of the San Francisco Peninsula would fail to recognize his name, yet he was a brilliant futurist that elevated paper manufacturing from truly what can be regarded as the ?dark ages? of the industry.

    The paper production process is a very linear endeavor that extends a football field or more in length. Liquid pulp at the start going on a ?wire? with dryers and rollers in between; the early paper making process was primarily a mechanical effort that resulted in numerous breaks in the lengthy paper stream, which fashioned quite a chaos in factory clean up while securing serious consequences to productivity and expenditures.

    Dave, a graduate of MIT in Electrical Engineering, spent several years working and learning with the leaders of the paper making industry. Eventually his industrialist creativity led him to a judgment that digital technology, via computer control, would influence a dramatic rise of efficiencies and productivity with commensuratey diminished costs. Prior to the implementation of digital technology, most paper making controls were discrete functions scattered in the paper making line, with modest efforts in the way of feedback control loops.

    To advance his vision, Dave founded Measurex, (which stood for Measurement Excellence) on Results Way, Cupertino, CA. Employing 7x30 foot rectangular I-beam scanner placements, complete with digital instrumentation that would traverse the paper making sheets continuously at various critical junctures of the paper production process, Dave became very successful at not only eliminating most disrupting sheet breaks, but inspired pioneering standards for the entire industry worldwide. Critical measures and process control of paper basis weight, moisture, thickness, opacity, color and other parameters affected the entire spectrum of paper products globally. Such technology eventually not only conserved capital by diminishing product levels and energy, but established new industry standards that found such technology not merely convenient, but now essential in addressing consumer demands for more exacting and uniform products.

    For the first time in paper manufacturing history, the entire line of isolated controls were unified with robust feedback control loops through a central processor, performing much like an orchestral conductor, meting out precise commands to assorted actuators to facilitate a streamlined efficient production control process.

    Measurex consequently advanced to exceptional success in numerous countries worldwide with offices in Australia, Japan, and Europe et al.

    Dave, a World War II veteran serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, would often proudly fly the U.S. Marine Corps flag alongside the American and State flags at the company headquarters in Cupertino, CA. Yet with all his success, he and his wife Doris remained caring and affable as they kindly greeted anyone encountering them in the hallways of Measurex.

    I was surprised to recently discover that akin to baseball in Cooperstown, the Pulp and Paper Industry has a Global Pulp and Paper Industry Hall of Fame to which at the time of his passing Dave was nominated to; in due time he will certainly be regarded as the Babe Ruth of the industry he graciously gave much to.

    David August Bossen truly embodied the entrepreneurial spirit of Thomas Edison with his energetic creativity and intelligence that genuinely contributed to the heart of what is best known as American Exceptionalism that has made this country a beacon to the rest of the world. To Dave I personally say ?thank you? for your service to our country, both in uniform and as an entrepreneur who provided a superb environment of employment to many grateful people.

    Semper Fi.

    Tony Favero
    Freelance writer and former software engineer at Measurex Corporation

    Dave Bossen was inducted into the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame - via Ted Stutzman - Tue, Dec 01, 2015
    Recently, a few of us old ex-measurex guys living close to Appleton Wisconsin were invited to attend a dinner where Dave Bossen was inducted into the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame and honored for his contribution to the industry. Darlene Bossen and Anders Axellson were also in attendance.

    The following link has the verbiage from the dinner program, and contains the video that was shown prior to the presentation.

    Who knew there was a Paper Industry Hall of fame? ...


    Ted Stutzman
    Honeywell Process Solutions
    1511 West Main Ave.
    DePere, WI 54115
    Office: (920) 338-2060 x1049
           (920) 632-1049 direct
    Mobile: (920) 819-6255

    30 minute Promotional Film, 1987 - added Dec 23, 2015 - link updated Dec 29, 2020
    from Warren Schirtzinger - wschirtzinger @ comcast . net
    Results: The Measurex Culture
    from High Tech Strategies, Inc 3 hours ago /

    In 1987, Measurex hired a video production company called "Great Caesar's Ghost, Inc." to produce a promotional/educational video.
    The original video was approximately 30 minutes long and was distributed on VHS tape.
    Now (Dec 29, 2020) available at

    You'll see lots of familiar faces in addition to Dave Bossen. There is also footage of system installations at james river, smurfit and exxon.

    I hope you enjoy this walk down memory lane.

    Best regards,
    Warren Schirtzinger

    This is a response to Warren's posting - that rings so true - Measurex did indeed provide all the challenges you might want ;-))
    "We don't get paid for Effort, we get paid for Results".
    Hi Warren,

    What a video! It stirred a lot of coals that have been smouldering for years. I went to work for Measurex at 29 in 1974 - system 080 in Lyons Falls, New York. I clearly remember training in Cupertino; Dave and Dodies' introductions to Measurex culture and Bob Aldred's great training experience. I'll bet I retained 80% of everything they taught us. I have always believed that Measurex poured 90 percent of the concrete that became the foundation for my entire career. As a Field Engineer I was always being taken way outside my comfort zone to do things that just had to be done, from almost single-handedly pulling system 80 and installing system 466, to completely refinishing, painting (with DuPont Imron), and installing on another machine, a dirty used system 1000 that the mill acquired from Finch Pruyn in Glens Falls. I even spent a whole Christmas shutdown doing a hand drawn engineering drawing for a size press scanner, and Measurex built the scanner to my drawing! I was scared to death but it actually fit right in and worked great. It was almost like feeling that the systems were our own personal property and we didn't want anybody else to even put fingerprints on them. On top of that I gained eight years of experience in communicating with top management right down to floor level. Distinctly different, but very important. I could write a book about my Measurex experiences but it would probably only be interesting to me!

    Now, in the twilight of my engineering career (I'll be retiring on January 4th), my current employer, International Wire Group, CEO has asked me (and made me a pretty generous offer), to stay on a few days a week for a year or two to mentor new engineers and teach them how to troubleshoot systems, and to instill in them as much as possible my philosophies about company loyalty, tenacity, always having fun working and all those other little intangibles that follow you to work every day. Yet another stretch outside my comfort zone, but I guess I'm prepared as I'll ever be.

    I have a sign on my office door that reads, "We don't get paid for Effort, we get paid for Results". It doesn't matter that I'm the only one who knows where it came from, the message is clear. I think that little snippet of philosophy is what drives me. Measurex will always be special.

    Best regards and thanks again,

    Fred Carpenter
    > Camden, New York

    Steve Kall?s - added - and ?grow as much as you can? attitude.
    Hi Warren,

    I never met you, but your remarks sure ring a bell. My Measurex experience served me to this day, for the reasons you state ? good training, great boss, and ?grow as much as you can? attitude.

    Very best in your new phase in life

    Steve Kall?s P.E.
    +1 (770) 449 7564 cel: +1 (770) 728 8906

    The early computers used (Hp 2116) were reliable, added Oct 1, 2019
    from an Hp web site
    "Introduced in 1966, the first 2116A was sold to Wood's Hole Oceanographic Institution, which used it aboard a research vessel in a salt-air environment for over 10 years. With 4K of magnetic core memory (minimum system configuration) expandable to 32K, the 2116A cost $25,000 to $50,000, depending on options."

    November 02, 2003 in response to a question "was it reliable", I wrote YES !! :-))

    I joined MEASUREX (a local company becoming the big frog in the paper process control pond) in about 1971.
    (I arrived as some of the original employees were leaving. They claimed the company (100 employees world wide) was getting too big and impersonal. There were about 4,000 world wide when I left about 18 years later.)

    We used the Hp 2116 (and the later Hp 2100) exclusively in paper process control for about 10 years, then started buying higher and lower cost/performance machines as different markets were attempted. Both the Hp 2116 and Hp 2100s were good reliable workhorses!

    A rumored reason for the selection of the Hp 2116 was to piggy-back on the solid reputation of Hewlett-Packard by the then rather small startup Measurex.
    Another good reason was that it had a rather fast floating point capability microprogrammed into its control ROM :-)

    Already on board was Gene Stinson, reputed to be one of the designers of the 2116. The 2116 had lots of slots for peripheral and memory cards , and a capability for DMA transfer of data. Gene Stinson said that Measurex would use that DMA capability only over his dead body.
    (Life was interesting enough without random malfunctioning I/O cards or malfunctioning programmers picking away at random addresses in memory ;-))

    Originally the Hp 2116 was all Hp, with Hp core memory. Then Fabri-Tek core memory was purchased.

    We made most of our own I/O cards, used Diablo disks for software development, and a not-too-great Hp printer. The customer's program, individually tailored to the hardware configuration and gauges, was punched onto paper tape (three reels about 4 inches diameter each).

    We were probably a good customer - sending out maybe 8 Hp computers per month. A typical shipment to a customer would be an Hp 2116, paper tape reader, along with our 1/2 or more truckload of
        - 20 to 40 foot wide scanning frames,
        - scanning paper gauges measuring
          -- carbon (in the cellulose)
           -- water
           -- thickness,
        - operator control panels,
        - main processing rack
        - spares, ...

    Then the almost identical Hp 2100 (with optional hardware floating point :-)) came out and we used that. Some years later Hp sent us their 4,000th Hp 2100 produced. It had its brushed aluminum front panel anodized (which looked like gold :-).

    Then we started buying semi-conductor memory !! I got involved with writing test programs and verifying that this new memory was environmentally tough. (Paper mills are usually hot and steamy!!) Man did we freeze and steam cook those memories. The plastic dual-in-line memory packages were (unexpectedly) up to the job.

    For years, I made part of my job tracking the success of the hardware. (I had been in G.E. field support in the early 1960s and have always been interested in keeping things going.) Hp made reliable stuff, gold plated contacts and all.

    After about 5 years there was a real certified bad memory board. Prior to that, the headquarters people had taken suspect boards from the field, rubbed a rubber eraser across the gold contact pins of the board, tested the boards, found them good, and returned them to the field.

    I even have some international shipment tales

    1. We used to send some California wine in system shipments to Canada. Customers really liked that. That stopped suddenly when Canadian customs held up a system for 2 weeks after finding a few cases of wine hidden in some shipping cases.

    2. The Hp 2116 (and the later 2100) were basically backplane machines, that is the processor was plugged into the backplane which held the memory cards, I/O cards, ... When shipping to Japan, we had to remove the processor (CPU) cards (2116) or card(2100) because some Japanese company had exclusive rights to sell this Hp line in Japan. On one shipment someone forgot to pull the CPU card before sending it to Japan. All hell broke loose!! The police arrested and hauled off to jail the Measurex manager in Japan. The Measurex sales (not maintenance!!) office was seized. The Japanese government regarded the offence as major smuggling. In the end, several weeks, the innocent Measurex manager in Japan was fired (with a promise never to hire him again.)

    3. We had to demonstrate to the State Department that the Hp 2116 and Hp 2100 were slow and clunky and not capable of targeting an intercontinental ballistic missile. (This at a time when the Apple II with the MOS Technology 6502 8 bit processor was considered a threat to national security.)

    Some techie details:

    1. The Hp 2116 had some registers in low memory - - they traded the slow cheaper core for the higher speed more expensive flip-flop memory. Something like the A register was in address 0, the Q register was in 1 ...

    2. The return address of a subroutine call (OR INTERRUPT!) was stored in the first word of the subroutine. (this made any use of re-entrancy "interesting", and since all coding was in assembly language, a few folks made some really tricky code!
          - like sometimes incrementing the return address to skip some code in the calling routine )

    3. Floating point variables were stored in two consecutive words. You could get into interesting jumps in floating point values when running interrupt driven scheduling.

    4. Maximum memory addressability was 32 K words. The high order addressing bit was used for indirection. This was a MAJOR limitation to our business. We spent considerable effort to run our system on two machines. The results were poor - too much inter-process code with too little gain in available storage for
          - control targets for different paper grades,
          - gauge parameters in different situations,
          - production history
          - ...


    We were all dependent on Measurement Physics, added April 15, 2020
    It would be great if someone who knows about Mx Measurement Physics could expand on this!
    A friend was experimenting about breathing (warm moist air) onto an uncapped germanium transistor
    Human breath on exposed germanium transistor
    This reminded me of working at Measurex the difficulties of measuring humidity, and many other characteristics, of paper and other sheet products, preferably without touching, While the up to 30 foot wide sheet was moving by at 30 miles per hour.

    I responded somewhat as follows -

    Lets expand the investigation to include measurement - ever wonder how your clothes drier "decides" when your clothes are dry enough, and shuts off?

    I worked for about 17 years at Measurex, now "absorbed" into Honeywell. It became New York Stock Exchange listed as MX.

    As the name implies, we were deeply involved with measurement. Software folks, such as myself, were merely a necessary supporting role.. We provided support for the gauge and scanning activities, process control activities, and presented the results to the customers.

    Other than marketing, those guys ;-)
    the heart of the company was the Measurement Physics Department
    and OK, the Process Control folks, who controlled the speed, valves, ...

    The company started measuring and controlling sheet products,
    such as paper, which starts the process as a runny wet mush
        - the "basis weight", amount of wood fiber per square foot,meter,what_ever
         - and humidity, the % of water,
        - - final product needed to be 6%, and the % used to help calculate the "basis weight"
        - thickness, this was a contacting gauge, touched both sided of the paper,
        - - the paper moving at say 30 mph
        - color, our color gauge used one of the first microprocessors in industry
    all of these gauges had to be taken "off sheet", say every 5 minutes
         to assure and maintain calibration in the face of reality, crud, dust, wear, ...
    And since paper manufacturing can create streaks in the product
         we had to scan the width of the "sheet", up to say 10 meters
         which we divided into "slices" usually about 6 inches wide,
         which of course customers wished to be narrower ...
    And the sheet whizzed through the mill at say 30 mph.

    We then expanded into sheet aluminum, plastics, rubber, ...
         - and then more exotic situations such as bleaching paper pulp
         - and measuring combustion products of flue gasses in power plants.
         - - oxides of hydrogen, nitrogen, carbon and sulphur
         - - particulates, ...

    Babbling on --
    The humidity sensors were based primarily on two effects
         - infra-red
         - microwave
    and since carbon/wood measurements and water effects interacted
         the separations of the variables was "interesting".

    And of course this little tale shown above

    2022, March - Mx Waterford survived (under various names, including "Cork") until 2015. Info, web site, pictures here
    Return to Updates
    I (Ed Thelen) received the following March 15, 2022
    Subject: MeasurExtra news letter

    Good Morning from Waterford,
    I have all of the MeasurExtra publications that were sent from Cupertino to worldwide employees, 3 or 4 are photocopies but the rest are all originals sent from personnel department ( can't call that department HR -Human Remains )

    Would you be interested if I could scan any of them as there are pages and pages of photos.


    then, after my positive response, a day later
    Good Morning Ed,
    Below you will find a link that was generated to celebrate 35 years in Waterford so you might see a picture or 2 in there that will stir the memories. Every month about 15 of us ex-employees meet up to rekindle all the good times....I'm the youngest there @ 63 yrs so at least we keep the flag flying.

    Cheers & thanks from the sunny south east of Ireland



    So, now we await the likely "MeasurExtra" publications mentioned above :--))

    2022, June, Paul Adams, of International Nucleonics and Ohmart, remembers
    Hi Ed, I apologize for not telling you my history in the "beta gauge "business".

    I worked at Industrial Nucleonics from 1963 to 1975, mostly in IN's engineering departments.
    I knew Dave B., but I did not have direct contact with him, since he was doing sales and marketing.

    In 1975, I left IN, because they were hiring hundreds of people a month and IN was not the small company I joined in 1963.

    Several IN sales people had moved to Ohmart in Cincinnati, and they asked me to join them.
    I was impressed with Ohmart's nuclear and IR sensors, but Ohmart was more of a "job-shop" operation and did not have a fixed web scanning weight & moisture product line. Most or their business was nuclear density and level gauges.

    In 1975, I designed, Ohmart's first microprocessor based web measurement system, called WebArt 2000 for plastic film and WebArt 3000 for paper product lines.
    More about my Ohmart Years at:

    In 1992, Ohmart developed a web system, called Concept One, using a Dell PC for data processing, display and process control. I do not remember the exact year, but in 92 or 93, Ohmart showed their Concept One online measurement system] at a Plastics Show in Chicago. MX and Dave B. were at this show. I asked Dave to visit the Ohmart booth and see Ohmart's new scanning system. Dave visited the Ohmart small Ohmart booth and we opened the op-station to show the Dell PC. Your know the rest of the story, when in 95 MX bought the Concept One in 94.

    In the 1988, I moved from engineering, to start Ohmart's international division, for Ohmart's process measurement gauges, not beta gauges.
    Some time in the 1900s, I met a MX sales people in Europe and he gave the slides I sent you. I forgot out the MX slides, until I was sorting through my Ohmart materials. Sorry to make up the story.

    I remain in contact with old IN and AccuRay retires. I helped them document IN/AccuRay's history online at:

    During research for the above, we found Dave's 1981, article in Paper Mill News and link is:

    Ed, I should have written this email years ago, but at 80 my memory is goes first and can not remember what goes second.
    (Comment from Ed - I'm 90 - Memory does not seem to improve with age :--((

    Have a great day,

    Mark Schiff, Australia, remembers - December 2022
    Hi Ed,

    I’m not sure we ever met - though I did often see you name on many GN and MN documents.

    I’ve read some of your website contributor musings - especially one by Tony Favero. I did meet Mike Powell and Jerry McCann at probably the height of their reign of terror - and this included the South African (Paul Rodman) who shared their office for a while before. Paul was unceremoniously lifted by his ankles and plunged head first into a waste paper basket at least once.

    I started with Measurex in South Africa in August 1976 as an Applications Engineer moving to Measurex Australia in July 1981. My last working day in Australia was in April 2017 - of course that was Honeywell. My Measurex employee number was 1952.

    Our Area Manager was Todd Williams and Operations Manager was Rod Moore. Chuck Worthly was at this stage our President (of Other Measurex International - “OMI”).

    I had previously worked for Hewlett-Packard and was familiar with both the 2116 and 2100 computers, and had already become aware of one at South African Board Mills (Sacks Circle, Bellville, on a cylinder board machine, with a never clean contacting Scanpro microwave moisture (thanks to Gunnar Wennerberg and his consistent messaging (Technical Bulletins) on setting up temperature compensation)

    Before joining Measurex, HP had already released the 21MX computers with battery backed MOS memory. We didn’t like the single board CPU and the risers for memory and I/O. The microcode firmware add-on modules were a real pain to install. So coming to Measurex and seeing the all core memory system (32k words) and the extended Fabritek memory “buckets” with the very unwieldy cable and cheap plastic P-connectors was a bit of a shock. But hey, it was reliable, but the Cartrifile cartridges & machine was another story. HP were already using mini data cartridges in the 9825 desktop computers so the care, feeding and use of the Cartrifile was a bit of a shock. How many times did the SOT/EOT reflective strip come off and assist in wrapping the tape around the capstan destroying the machine and the media. Too bad if there was no spare machine or backup media and one had to reload!!!

    Most of my early days in Measurex saw me preparing operator manuals, running operator training and explaining to a disinterested audience the what the statistics in MIS meant. Oh and of course, sensor calibration, baggies, slab tests, TAPPI fan forced 105°C ovens etc. Thus life was fun but a lot less intense than causing a paper break or complete machine shutdown.

    I waded through piles of application reports sent out by Barclay Wallace (with a blue cover sheet) that arrived in large Tyvek envelopes. This was my basic paper making education - start at the end and work towards the calender stack, dryers, press section, wire (thou shalt not lean over the customer’s wire or date the mill manager’s daughter), headbox, fan pump, thick stock valve (with its unique C5), refiners, pulp mill, wood yard, hog & recovery boilers.

    I’ll have to write a list of all those I helped, annoyed or contacted over the 40 years before my neuron connection based memory fails me. But hey, no one will care because all that good stuff we did then will have been superseded or made redundant.

    Kind regards,

    Mark Schijf

    Please send additions, corrections, suggestions to