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Guide to the Don Liddie papers on Signetics
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Provenance
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Separated Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Guide to the Don Liddie papers on Signetics
    Dates: 1961-2006
    Bulk Dates: 1975-1992
    Collection number: 102708137
    Creator: Liddie, Donald F., 1930-2008
    Collection Size: 42 linear feet 37 boxes
    Repository: Computer History Museum
    Mountain View, CA 94043
    Abstract: The Don Liddie papers on Signetics contain the professional papers of Don Liddie, a Signetics employee from 1963 through 1995. The collection documents the corporate culture of the semiconductor industry and Silicon Valley from the late 1960s through the mid 1990s. Types of material include memoranda, correspondence, newsletters, policy manuals, procedure manuals, promotional material, data books, annual reports, organizational charts, business plans, photographs, and scrapbooks.
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    The Computer History Museum can only claim physical ownership of the collection. Users are responsible for satisfying any claims of the copyright holder. Permission to copy or publish any portion of the Computer History Museum's collection must be given by the Computer History Museum.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of Item], [Date], Guide to the Don Liddie papers on Signetics, X4609.2008, Box[#], Folder[#] Computer History Museum, Mountain View, California.


    The Don Liddie papers were donated by Don Liddie to the Computer History Museum in 2008. These are the papers Don Liddie collected during his thirty-five year career working at Signetics.

    Biography/Organization History

    Biography / Administrative History

    Signetics, a contraction of Signal Network Electronics, was founded in 1961 in Mountain View, California by former Fairchild employees David Allison, David James, Lionel Kartner and Mark Weisenstein. It was the first company in the world established expressly to make and sell integrated circuits (IC). Within a year of its founding, the company's first family of bipolar digital diode transistor logic circuits had gained market acceptance and were finding initial application in military and space systems. Signetics was the first IC company to receive both Minuteman approval (1967) and NASA line certification 1970). Among the company's early innovations were the 555 timer, Dolby circuits, and the programmable read-only memory.


    1930 July 23 Donald Ferguson Liddie is born in Newark, New Jersey
    1952 Liddie graduates from LeHigh University with a BS in Industrial Engineering
    1952 June-1954 Aug. Liddie is Industrial Engineer, Western Electric Company
    1954 Aug.-1956 Aug. Liddie is Assistant Industrial Engineer, Edgewood Arsenal U.S. Army Chemical Center
    1956 Aug.-1959 June Liddie is Senior Industrial Engineer, Corning Glass Works
    1959 June-1961 Sept. Liddie is Plant Industrial Engineer, Corning Glass Works
    1961 Sept.-1963 Sept. Liddie is Plant Supervisor-Administrative Services, Corning Glass Works
    1961 Sept. 12 Signetics is founded by former Fairchild employees Dave Allison, David James, Lionel Katttner and Mark Weissenstern
    1962 Construction of first Signetics plant is completed, Sunnyvale, California
    1962 Nov. Corning Glass Works (CGW) acquires a 51% equity position in Signetics
    1963 Sept. 1 Liddie is first CGW employee to transfer to Signetics
    1963 Sept.-1966 Jan. Liddie is Manager, Manufacturing at Signetics
    1964 Dec. Corning Glass Works increases their equity position to 82%
    1966 Jan.-1968 Dec. Liddie is Manager, Corporate Services at Signetics
    1966 Aug. 9 First off-site branch product assembly plant opens in Provo, Utah. It is the first IC assembly plant located outside the Santa Clara Valley
    1966 Sept. Signetics Korea Co., Ltd. (Sig-Kor) is founded in Seoul, South Korea. It is the first low-cost production facility to both assemble and test ICs in Asia
    1968-1969 Signetics International Corporation is established in anticipation of the emergence of overseas markets
    1969 Jan-1980 April Liddie is President, Signetics International Corporation
    1969 May EFTA plant opens in Linlithgow, Scotland
    1969 Sept. Assembly and test plant opens in Noerdlingen, West Germany
    Early 1970s High volume assembly and test plant opens in Setubal, Portugal
    1973 Nov. 2 Initial public offering of 1.3 million shares of common stock at $17/share. This reduces CGW ownership from 92% to 70%
    1974 March 28 Registered Signetics Thailand Co., Ltd. (Sig-Thai). Assembly and test operations begin in Bangkok, Thailand
    1975 June 5 Merger with U.S. Philips Corporation a wholly-owned subsidiary of N.V. Philips of the Netherlands, at $8/share
    1975 Dec.-1984 Jan. Liddie is Vice President, Corporate Services at Signetics
    1976 Jan. Signetics Japan, Ltd begins operations
    1976 April Linlithgow plant closes and is sold to Sun Microsystems
      Setubal, Portugal plant closes
    1978 March 29 Signetics Filippinas (Sig-Fil) incorporated in Manila, the Philippines
    1981 March Signetics has 21 operating buildings in Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, California area
    1982 March Official operations begin in a new Albuquerque, New Mexico plant
    1983 Manila plant is sold
    1983 Nov. 7 Sale of Signetics Gmbh to SES employees is announced
    1984 Jan.-1992 Dec. Liddie is Vice President, Human Resources and Administration at Signetics
    1985 Signetics is the first IC company to announce a zero defects warranty on all products
      Sig-Fil closes
    1988 Jan. 1 Signetics merged into North American Philips Corporation (NAPC)
    1991 Jan. 1 Signetics is a wholly owned subsidiary of NAPC
    1992 Feb. Closure of Orem, Utah plant by year end is announced
    1992 July Signetics Corporation, a division of North American Philips Corporation, changes its name to Philips Semiconductors
    1993 Jan.-1995 Aug. Liddie is appointed Executive Vice President and Chairman, Management Committee Philips Semiconductors
    1995 Aug. Liddie retires after 39 years
    2008 April 14 Don Liddie passes away at his home in Saratoga, California

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Don Liddie papers on Signetics contain the professional records of Don Liddie. The records span 1961 through 2006 with the bulk of the collection spanning 1975 through 1992, when Lidde was Vice President of Corporate Services and then Vice President of Human Resources and Administration at Signetics. Signetics merged with Philips in 1975, from that date forward in the collection Philips material appears. Items of note include a nearly complete run of Probe, the Signetics newsletter, as well as a series of scrapbooks, which Liddie created to document the history of Signetics. The scrapbooks contain especially unique material related to Signetics' international plants. Of special interest to engineers are data books and failure analysis handbooks.


    The collection is arranged in 5 series:
    • Series 1: Office Files
    • Series 2: Printed
    • Series 3: Signetics History Scrapbooks
    • Series 4: Audiovisual and Oversize Materials
    • Series 5: Ephemera
    Unless otherwise noted dates are inclusive. Unless otherwise noted in the series and subseries descriptions the original order has been maintained.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Liddie, Donald F., 1930-2008
    Signetics (Firm)
    Philips Semiconductors
    Semiconductor industry

    Separated Material

    Physical objects and media were separated from the collection. These include T-shirts, mugs, paperweights, banners, a commemorative vase, audio cassettes, and VHS tapes. To view catalog records for the physical objects and media items go to the CHM website at http://archive.computerhistory.org/search .
    Serials that were moved to the library:
    • Electronic buyer's news extra March 4, 1996
    • Electronic buyer's news Issue 615A September 1988
    • Who's who in high-tech: a directory of high-ranking executives in Silicon Valley February 1992, and February 1993
    • Bay area market fact guide, 1996
    • Electronic engineering times, Issue 503A September 1988
    Monographs that were moved to the library:
    • High tech: window to the future, 1985
    • Individual freedom in the non-union plant, 1967
    • Industrial relations in the non-union plant, 1960
    • Invention of LOCOS, 1991
    • Marketing high technology: an insider's view, 1986
    • Philips: brand book, 2002
    • Quality is free: the art of making quality certain, 1979
    • Science and serendipity: a half century of innovation at SYNTEX, 1994
    • Sum that is Philips, 1983
    • Transitor: dawn of a new era, 1997
    • Occupational medicine: the microelectronics industry, 1986