William R. Hewlett
Born May 20 1913 - Died Jan 12 2001
Variable Frequency Oscillation Generator
Patent Number(s) 2,268,872
Cofounder of the electronics giant Hewlett-Packard, William R. Hewlett invented the audio oscillator, the first practical method of generating audio signals needed in communications, geophysics, medicine, and defense work.
Until Hewlett's invention, scientists and researchers had no simple and accurate source for low-frequency signals essential to their work. One of Hewlett-Packard's first customers was Walt Disney Studios, which ordered eight of the Model 200B oscillators to use in producing the soundtrack for the film 'Fantasia.'
Hewlett was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His father was a professor of medicine at the University of Michigan and, later, at Stanford University. The younger Hewlett attended Stanford, receiving a B.A. in 1934 and an electrical engineering degree in 1939; his master's degree was awarded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1936. Hewlett met partner Dave Packard while both were in undergraduate school at Stanford. While in graduate school Hewlett developed the design for the product that later launched the Hewlett-Packard company-the model HP200A audio oscillator. Hewlett served as an Army officer during World War II and was named vice-president of the newly incorporated Hewlett-Packard upon his return to civilian life. He served as president of H-P from 1964 to 1977 and as chief executive officer from 1969 to 1978. He is now director emeritus of the board of directors. In 1989 an old garage in Palo Alto, the first home of Hewlett-Packard, became a California historical landmark. The state dedicated it as the birthplace of Silicon Valley.