In 1937-38, computer pioneer George Philbrick worked for the Foxboro Co. as an analyst. He had the radical idea of building an electronic analog computer to simulate the behaviour of hydraulic industrial equipment, so Foxboro customers could experiment with control systems without needing a pipe wrench. One of the world's first analog computers was ignominiously ferried around the U.S. in the back seat of Philbrick's car. Ironically, Philbrick didn't give his "Automatic Process Analyzer" a properly techy, pretentious nickname. He dubbed his one-eyed monster Polyphemus.
It has always been difficult to look up any information on the pioneers of computing. Even today, in the Internet age, one has trouble finding much about early computers--even on the ultimate computer network.
Consider the late George A. Philbrick. He was one of the titanic figures in electronic computing in the 1950s--mainly because of the company he founded, which was a major manufacturer (and pioneer) of the operational amplifier
, at a time when an "op-amp" was made of vacuum tubes. Op-amps were used to build analog computers
, which were widely used to simulate physical processes in the days when digital computers were either non-existent, or too slow and costly, for many kinds of simulation and process-control work. Op-amps, in chip form, are still widely used in electronics. Yet, despite his unquestioned status as a major pioneer of electronics, there was almost nothing on the Internet about Philbrick or his company.
Until 2005--when Joe Sousa decided to put up a website dedicated to Philbrick's legacy. Behold The Philbrick Archive.