Wednesday, May 25, 2011


This is the world's most famous garage:

It's where Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard started a company.  You might have heard of it, but it was tough for the wives when they started:

Hewlett and Packard, however, did much of the production work on the Model 200A oscillator at their garage and in their house.
When we started making the audio oscillators, we bought the cabinets but made the panels ourselves. We sawed them out of aluminum and drilled the holes. Then we'd spray-paint them at home and use the kitchen oven to bake the paint.
Lucile was said to have remarked that her roasts "never tasted the same" after they had baked the paint in the oven.
Hard work, and doing basically everything themselves.  But smart, and different, and a focus on quality made the difference - and World War II gave them their chance.

Brains and luck, and you might end up with a market capitalization of $6 Billion or so.  Better than I can do, quite frankly, even on my good days.

From and old email from Dad.  He kept me in blog fodder, although I didn't post quite a bit.  Looking back through my old email folders, I'm glad I started saving his messages.  He's still keeping me in blog fodder.

I guess I'll go through all his recommendations some day, and have to do my own posts.  Man, I'll hate that.


North said...

Wow I hope my garage businesses are successful so that I can be rich... wait I mean be taxed into squalor to distribute my hard earned wealth to people that won't try to do anything.

North said...

A friend offered me a 200A. I was dumb to not accept.

Jay G said...

I was about to quibble with you, until I realized that William Harley and Arthur Davidson got their start in a shed, not a garage... ;)

NotClauswitz said...

Audio then video - oscillatorscopes came later when ray-tube prices dropped.
It looks a lot like my dad's garage, only with a pitched-roof. He's a few blocks away. Kenny Morse lived two streets over, grandnephew-of.

Dave H said...

I wonder what that garage is worth now. Thanks to HP and other companies like it, real estate prices in Silicon Gulch are NUTS!

I just did a quick search. There's a mobile home in a park in Palo Alto for sale for $35k.

SiGraybeard said...

And then they went and split the company because stock buyers didn't know what to make of the company - are they a computer company or a test equipment company (? -srsly - heard a financial talking head say that).

And changed their name to Agilent. I could do 10 minutes on this terrible example of focus group names. But all I think of when I see it is - it's an anagram for Genital.

BS Footprint said...

"Lucile was said to have remarked that her roasts "never tasted the same" after they had baked the paint in the oven."

HAHAHA! I'll have you know that I've cured spray-painted auto parts in my kitchen oven more than a few times (we open all the windows and evacuate the house to avoid breathing the fumes).

And *everyone* in my extended family thinks my Thanksgiving turkeys are the best they've ever tasted. :D

(I'll note that my oven paint-curing projects have yet to result in the good fortune visited upon Messrs. Hewlett and Packard... alas. But it's nice to confirm that warped minds think alike.)

Hat Trick said...

Recognize that garage. As an electrical engineer educated at a school that received many donations of equipment from HP I trusted in their dependability. Their PC's and printers, not so much. They should have kept the HP name for the test equipment.

NotClauswitz said...

The house on Addison is in a part of Paly called "Professorville" because it's "across the street" from Da University and where original-gangsta Stanford Professoratie built their Manses - and the property values are at a premium even for Shallow Alto. Cribs run around $1.6 to $2.2 million...Check it out on Zillow.

And note, some Super-Supreme Idisos think they are gonna run a 50-foot tall High Speed elevated Rail line through the side yard of this neighborhood? Oh rilly??? Grizzly Warning: Don't get between an OG PalyAltan and his Univerbisity...

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit late to the party but from an HP perspective, the garage is still a big deal. It might even be a company museum type site at this point, they made a big deal about the company $$ sent on renovations a few years ago.

Princess Carly Fiorina was responsible for jettisoning the Agilent products part of HP. After destroying Lucent, HP got her as a diveristy hire. She did her best to kill the culture and sell off pieces of the company, but thus far HP has outlived her.