Division name: Dymec

Founded: 1956
Address: 395 Page Mill Road, Palo Alto California

Dymec Original Redwood Building


On January 3, 1956, the Dynac company was formed. This company was jointly owned by HP and by Dynac employees (all former HP employees). HP retained voting control. Dynac was not a public company and its shares were not readily traded. HP employees who bought in to Dynac were required to sign an agreement to sell shares back to either HP or to Dynac at current book value. Dynac used HP and third-party products to build custom-designed measurement systems. The company was managed by Bob Rawlins and operated out of HP’s “Redwood Building” (building 7A) at 395 Page Mill Road, Palo Alto. Dynac Inc became Dymec Inc in July of 1958 due to a conflict with the Westinghouse-branded electric motor brake “Dynac”.

The logo of the company was a lower case “dy”, which looked exactly like an upside down “hp” logo. In 1959, HP bought the company outright and it became the Dymec division.

By the time HP entered the computer business in 1966, Dymec had expanded to 600 employees and occupied most of the HP building at 395 Page Mill. HP Labs was also situated in these buildings. In 1964, HP bought the computer company Data Systems Inc as well as the rights to the DSI 1000 computer from Union Carbide. Four of the five engineers at DSI moved to Palo Alto to work on HP’s new (first) computer.

The development team was headed by Kay Magleby. The purpose of the new computer was to provide control and analysis capabilities connected to HP instruments. The 2116A was introduced in November of 1966.

The 2116A was the largest single mechanical package ever built by HP and it was the first HP product to include integrated circuits. The first ever customer for an HP computer was the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, which used the computer on a research ship. In its fiscal year ending October 31, 1967, HP booked $5M in revenue from selling computer equipment (about two precent of the amount of revenue earned from the instrumentation business).

On November 1, 1967, the Dymec Division was renamed the Palo Alto Division in accordance with the company’s practice of naming divisions based on their geographical locations (although this particular name could have applied to a number of other divisions as well). In May of 1968, the Systems Division was formed with staff from the Palo Alto Division with responsibility for automatic test systems (the 9500A).

The Systems Division was headed by Dick Reynolds. He reported to the GM of Palo Alto Division Jack Melchor. The Palo Alto Division released the original RTE in 1968. PAD introduced the 2115 computer in 1967 and the 2114 computer in 1968. PAD released HP’s first timeshare computer (the 2000A) in 1969. The 2000A was a multi-user system running BASIC based on the 2116 computer.

In May of 1969, those employees of the Palo Alto Division who were specifically involved in the design and manufacture of computer hardware (2114, 2115 and 2116) moved to the new Cupertino Division which joined with the Mountainview Division to form the Data Products Group. At this time, the Systems Division and PAD were part of the Electronic Products Group. In August of 1969, the data acquisition operations of PAD became part of the Systems Division.

In February of 1970, the sensible thing happened and the Palo Alto Division combined with the Systems Division to form the Automatic Measurement Division with John Doyle as general manager. AMD became part of the Electronic Products Group. In September of 1971, Dick Anderson replaced Doyle at the head of AMD. In the late summer of 1972, AMD moved from Palo Alto to Sunnyvale (the old Fairchild Camera facility).

In October of 1974, HP formed the Computer Systems group which included DSD, the Boise Division and the Advanced Measurement Division. Paul Ely was appointed head of the new group. In November of 1974, Al Seely became the general manager of AMD. In January of 1978, AMD was absorbed by the Data Systems Division with Seely reporting to DSD general manager Dick Anderson.

A new AMD (Application Marketing Division), unrelated to the first. was created on November 1, 1982. The new AMD combined all of HP's software efforts related to engineering, distribution, finance and office software across the 1000, 3000 and 9000 platforms. At the time of formation, the new AMD had over 400 employees.

The original Redwood building and the other 1940s-era HP buildings at the 395 Page Mill site were demolished in 1998 and replaced by new buildings that became the headquaters of Agilent. The buildings at 395 Page Mill Road were vacated by Agilent in 2007.


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