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News Archive - Arthur Lowell's New Job after General Micro-electronics


New Role - Arthur Lowell, formerly President of General Micro-electronics, assumes role of Asst. President & Exec. Director of R&D at Autonetics
Electronics, May, 3, 1965

This article talks about Colonel Arthur Lowell's new role as Assistant to the President, and Acting Executive Director of Research and Development at the Autonetics division of North American Aviation(NAA). Autonetics was the electronics section of NAA, famous for developing electronics for the space, military and government security environments, as well as a relatively short stint making some commercial computers in a line called RECOMP (RECOMP II, and III), with the RECOMP II generally recognized as the first commecially-product fully transistorized computer. The RECOMP II and III computers were compact scientific and engineering computers, and were considered "portable" computers, weighing 200 pounds or less for the CPU. Col. Lowell's previous job was as the President and one of the founders (and finder of start-up funding) of General Micro-electronics (GM-e), a company founded by Lowell and three defectors from Fairchild Camera and Instrument. GM-e was originally founded to improve RTL (Resistor-Transistor Logic) integrated circuits, which were primarily used by the military and security sectors for weapons and communications systems, but RTL's future was limited, and another focus was Metal-Oxide Semiconductor (MOS) integrated circuits, which, at the time, we rather a touchy technology that was not yet perfected. GM-e's claim to fame came in the development of an extremely advanced set of MOS integrated circuits that powered an electronic calculator build under contract for Victor Comptometer called the Victor 3900. After General Micro-electronics suffered cash problems related to it's mis-choice of investing in RTL IC's, as well as major cash drain relating to the development of the MOS IC's for the Victor calculator, Pyle National, the major source of capital that Col. Lowell had arranged for GM-e, asked Lowell to step down, and not that long thereafter, he assumed the role at Autonetics. It is interesting to note that Autonetics was the division of (by that time) North American Rockwell that Sharp Electronics contracted with to develop the 4-chip MOS Large-Scale Integration chipset use to make the history-making Sharp QT-8D calculator possible.

For more information in the story of GM-e, and the development of the Victor 3900, see the Old Calculator Museum's essay on the topic.