The 9100 and Thomas Osborne
#1

I found this in the archives when I was searching for Thomas Osborne: "What happened to Thomas Osborne after the 9100A?
Message #1 Posted by marais on 5 July 2005, 1:56 p.m."

I am extremely happy to inform you that I actually met the man! It happened in the La Posada hotel in Winslow, AZ (a Route 66 landmark). We were sitting at the bar there, I was trying out a Martini and he nurtured his beer. He mentioned Santa Barbara and some other places of significance, so I told him that my heroes (Noyce, Faggin, Hoff and those guys) came from that area. He then said that he used to know most of them. I was very intrigued and dared to ask for his name. It turned out to be Osborne! Thomas Osborne!

As a collector of slide rules and calculators, this was an extreme event to me. There he was -THE MAN! We had dinner together and had lots of fun. He and his wife Paula are travelliing the world in a little yellow plane. A happy man with a great past - and future?

I have his business card and it has a very prominent place in my little collection.

The answer to the subject question is that he approached Bill, telling him that he thought that he could make a pocket calculator after the 9100. He got a team of eight people and the result was the HP 35. Thomas confirmed that the name of the machine reflects the number of keys. Simple as that!

Thomas is now running his independent design firm LOGIC DESIGN in San Francisco when he isn't travelling the world together with his charming wife Paula. I am so glad to have met them both.

#2

Wow, that's amazing, you actually met THE MAN! If I ever met him at a bar, I'd ask him why he did not join HP at the time. He must be a very independent spirit. I envy you for this encounter!

Andreas

#3

Yes, you are right. Should've asked that.

But, you see, I was rather taken by the fact that it was him, so logical questions didn't pop up. We just had a very pleasant evening together. He is in the telephone directory, though.

#4

Well, I wouldn't dare to give him a call. I think his real achievement will be appreciated post-mortem only. It reminds me that I have to call a 9100 my own one day...the design of it is simply stunning, considering that it all happened in the late 60s. I suppose your encounter with the man, as brief as it may have been, will be a tale to tell. Did you talk about his HP days at all?

Andreas

#5

Not much. We were discussing Italian cooking and travelling in foreign countries in general. We had been visiting the Petrified Forest at the same time. Thomas and Paula with their little yellow airplane and we in our little red car. We thought that it was kind of amusing. We remembered seeing that plane in the air above us.



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