The 79-year historical past of Silicon Valley’s first expertise startup Hewlett-Packard (HP) was destroyed within the Santa Rosa fires — Quartz


There’s a storage in Palo Alto referred to as “the Birthplace of Silicon Valley.” Within the small cramped shed in 1938, William Hewlett and David Packard began an electronics firm backed by simply $538 in money.

At first, it offered audio oscillators to check audio system. Right this moment, the multi-billion greenback HP (previously Hewlett-Packard Firm) is the most important private laptop producer on the planet. It’s extensively thought-about the pioneering startup of Silicon Valley.

On October 29, a few of the bodily proof of that historical past went up in smoke. It was one other sufferer of the wildfire that raged by way of Northern California’s wine nation destroyed 6,800 houses and killed least 23 residents, studies The Press Democrat newspaper in Santa Rosa.

The Tubbs hearth incinerated greater than 100 packing containers of Hewlett and Packard’s writings, correspondence, and speeches. The papers had been being saved at Keysight Applied sciences, one of many world’s largest electronics measurement corporations, which has hyperlinks to HP. The archives, valued at $2 million and purchased in 2014, had been being saved in two “modular buildings” on the company campus, the paper reported.

How historical past disappears. And why companies ought to deposit archives with professionals in establishments, not carelessly warehouse them.

— Peter A. Shulman ? (@pashulman) October 29, 2017


The loss is a blow to future historians excited about understanding American enterprise and the historical past of Silicon Valley. Though another information exist, together with in a web-based “reminiscence venture,” Hewlett and Packard’s private and company historical past had been irreplaceable. Hewlett died in 2001, at age 87, and Packard in 1996 at age 83.

The results might be extra than simply tutorial. Enterprise historians have used unearthed empirical knowledge to substantiate, or contradict, modern theories and badumptions in different disciplines, argues Harvard Enterprise College professor Geoffrey Jones. With these badets, he says, we threat the “unfold of influential theories based mostly on ill-informed understandings of the previous.”

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