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Guide to the William Ross Aiken Papers
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Collection Contents

Box No. 1

Series 1.  Biographical information, professional associations, career history 1944-2007

Physical Description: 7 folders.

Series Scope and Content Summary

The first series contains biographical sketches and a limited amount of material relating to Aiken's political career in the town of Los Altos Hills, California, as well as materials relating to professional associations and an oral history given to the IEEE History Center. This series also includes materials relating to Aiken's early career at Kaiser's Richmond shipyards, his interest in radio, and early computer manuals.
Of particular interest are correspondence regarding flat CRT donations to the Center for the History of Electronic Engineering which were later relocated to the Harvard Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, and publications related to Aiken's Radio and Shipyard Public Address System.
Box No. 1

Series 2.  Thin Cathode-Ray Tube: Invention, Development, Promotion 1955-1996

Physical Description: 9 folders.

Series Scope and Content Summary

The second series deals with the invention and development of the thin cathode ray tube from 1955-1996, and consists mainly of materials from Aiken's tenure at Kaiser Electronics. This series includes retrospective materials, photographs, correspondence, and promotional materials for commercial and military applications of the thin cathode ray tube.
Folders 8 and 10 follow the history of the thin cathode-ray tube development and subsequent improvements at Kaiser Laboratory, including photographs of the lab and physical components. Folders 9, 11, and 12 contain a comprehensive collection of Aiken's publications on thin tube technology. Folder 13 contains Aiken's speeches on the thin tube, while Folders 14 and 15 contain Aiken's correspondence, mostly to magazine editors, including accompanying articles. Folder 16 contains newspaper clippings and miscellaneous memos, reports and photographs.
Box Nos. 1, 2

Series 3.  Patents and Research Notes 1949-1978

Physical Description: 10 folders.

Series Scope and Content Summary

The third series contains Aiken's patents (U.S. and international) and research notes. The patents are arranged chronologically. Foreign patents included in the collection are from Belgium, Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy and Asia. Also included is Dossier von Tauchendorf, a book based on the life of Kurt von Tauchendorf (aka Kurt Tauchendorf), Aiken's patent attorney. The majority of the research notes are found in Box 2. These hand-written journals contain notes, photographs, negatives, and research data. Subjects include solid state display (a color TV panel), audio compressors, automatic volume control, audio compressors, and electrostatic signs later produced by Display Technology Corp.