Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Famed HP garage returning to glory

Filed under
Hardware

Ken Hendrickson hoisted the weathered wooden boards Thursday and, one by one, hammered history back into place.

Slowly, the famous Hewlett-Packard garage -- dismantled in the spring for a preservation project -- took shape.

For the past year, HP has been restoring the Palo Alto home that birthed both the company and Silicon Valley's garage start-up culture. While the two-story house is the most labor-intensive portion of the yearlong project, it's the simple 12-by-18-foot garage that is being the most tenderly preserved.

The garage was the reason Bill Hewlett decided to rent the Addison Avenue property in 1938. He needed a spot that he and his friend, David Packard, could transform into a lab and workshop.

The Professorville home was "A-number-1," Hewlett assured Packard in a letter. He paid $45 rent to hold it.
The young engineers divided the garage into two sections: the left side for design and the right for manufacturing. The table saw sat outside.

It was here the duo built their company's first major products: audio-oscillators, which the young inventors famously sold to Disney to use in the production of "Fantasia." Once Hewlett and Packard could afford to hire two employees, the garage became too small, and the company moved to Page Mill Road.

It's that history that draws techcolytes to the garage and won it state landmark status in 1987. It is such a cultural touchstone that in April HP officials decided to hang a blue tarp during the rehabilitation to hide the garage, which was stripped down to its frame.

"We weren't sure how upset people would be to see how struck down it was," said Anna Mancini, HP's archivist.

Carpenters tucked a steel frame alongside the old wood one to strengthen the garage. They poured new concrete footings and trimmed the bottoms of termite-bitten boards. Crews saved what wood they could; 80 percent of the wood must be original for the property to qualify as federally historic, a designation HP hopes to eventually win. Additional boards came from an old barn in Woodside.

On Thursday, the garage began taking shape again. Hendrickson and Jimmy Reyes did it old school, gripping nails in their mouths and hammers in their hands. Nail guns are quicker, Hendrickson said, but human care was needed for each of the 52 Douglas fir boards, which were rough-sawn and weathered by the decades.

Some pieces had shrunk. Some had swelled. Some had done both. Hendrickson marveled that so many pieces had survived the years.

The project is special to him. His father-in-law was HP's first welder, he said. Hendrickson's wife, Paulette, who stops by the site frequently, worked there, too.

Many people with HP ties were sentimental Thursday watching the fabled structure take shape.

"It gives me goose bumps," said Sid Espinosa, HP's manager of public relations.

HP's employees have intently followed the restoration's progress, and the updates have received the second-most hits on the company Web site, officials said, behind only to the company's CEO shuffle earlier this year.

"These are community treasures, especially for the company," Espinosa said. "It embodies our history and our culture."

HP hopes to finish the entire project -- the garage, the house and the shed where Hewlett slept -- this fall.

After the board and batten are in place, crews will install the cedar shingle roof, rehang the doors and add green paint to the trim. Mancini plans to re-create the lab and has been scouring eBay and yard sales for items like oscillators.

"Oops! I need to take more pictures," she said, stopping conversation to again stare at the garage's steady progress. "This is a big day."

By Kim Vo
Mercury News

More in Tux Machines

Devices/Mobile

  • AsteroidOS is an Open Source OS for Smartwatches
    Florent Revest is a French computer science student who has been working on an open source operating system for smartwatches for the last two years. Yesterday, he officially launched version 1 of the alpha for AsteroidOS. The goal for the platform was to create something that gave smartwatch owners more control over their privacy, as well as the hardware they purchased. Florent feels that the current proprietary platforms do not guarantee this, and this was the basis for AsteroidOS. He wanted his open source smartwatch operating system to provide freedom with free software, more privacy than other wearable platforms offer, interoperability so it could communicate with other devices, modularity that enabled the user to tweak and change the OS as they see fit, the ability to port the software to as many devices as possible, and gathering a community who is passionate about the platform.
  • AsteroidOS Brings Open Source Functionality To Smartwatches
    Smartwatches may not have taken off like companies were hoping, but they have come quite far in terms of what they can offer and what sorts of features are available for the many different models of smartwatches that are out there. Even with the updated functionality of options like Samsung’s Gear S lineup and Android Wear platforms, though, smartwatches can still feel a little bit limiting, and part of this undoubtedly includes the reason that the operating systems aren’t as open as platforms like Android. That is now changing thanks to a platform called AsteroidOS which is an open source operating system for smartwatches.
  • Mini Apollo Lake module takes the heat — and the cold
    Congatec’s “Conga-MA5” is a Linux-ready COM Express Compact Type 10 Mini module with Apollo Lake SoCs, up to 128GB eMMC 5.1, and -40 to 85°C support. Congatec was one of the first embedded vendors to announce computer-on-modules based on Intel’s Atom E3900 and other Apollo Lake Pentium and Celeron SoCs. The offerings included a Qseven module, a SMARC 2.0 module, and a COM Express Compact Type 6 Conga-TCA5. The company has now followed up with a COM Express Compact Type 10 Mini Conga-MA5 module.
  • Top 20 Best Tizen Apps for November 2016, Tizen Smartphone
  • Smartphone game: Indian Football League game comes to the Tizen Store

Security News

Red Hat and Fedora

Technical
  • Red Hat Takes OpenShift Dedicated to Google Cloud Platform
    Red Hat has steadily taken significant steps in the cloud computing arena, expanding the focus of its OpenShift open source Platform-as-a-Service hybrid cloud computing offering, including launching a cloud-hosted commercial edition called OpenShift Online. Now, the company has announced the availability of OpenShift Dedicated on Google Cloud Platform. The new offering brings Red Hat’s container platform as a managed service offering to enterprise customers who want to build, launch, and manage applications on OpenShift Dedicated with Google Cloud Platform as their underlying cloud infrastructure. With the availability of OpenShift Dedicated on Google Cloud Platform, users can speed adoption of containers, Kubernetes, and cloud-native application patterns, according to Red Hat. Users also get access to Google’s global, container-optimized infrastructure and can more easily augment their applications with Google’s ecosystem of data analytics, machine learning, compute, network, and storage services.
  • Red Hat Launches OpenShift Dedicated on Google Cloud Platform
    Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world's leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the general availability of OpenShift Dedicated on Google Cloud Platform. The new offering brings Red Hat’s award-winning container platform as a managed service offering to enterprise customers who want to build, launch, and manage applications on OpenShift Dedicated with Google Cloud Platform as their underlying cloud infrastructure. With the availability of OpenShift Dedicated on Google Cloud Platform, users can speed adoption of containers, Kubernetes, and cloud-native application patterns, benefiting from Red Hat’s deep enterprise experience. Users also benefit from Google’s global, container-optimized infrastructure and can more easily augment their applications with Google’s ecosystem of data analytics, machine learning, compute, network, and storage services.
  • Image Gallery: Synnex Cloud Catalyst Conference Featuring Red Hat, XMedius, Plantronics
Financial Fedora/Community
  • Fedora 23 End of Life
    With the recent release of Fedora 25, Fedora 23 will officially enter End Of Life (EOL) status on December 20th, 2016. After December 20th, all packages in the Fedora 23 repositories will no longer receive security, bugfix, or enhancement updates, and no new packages will be added to the Fedora 23 collection. Upgrading to Fedora 24 or Fedora 25 before December 20th 2016 is highly recommended for all users still running Fedora 23.
  • What Is Wayland and What Does It Means for Linux Users
    Fedora 25 is now out. People are buzzing, as the team have decided to make Wayland the default graphical session going forward. For many Linux users Wayland is a new term that has popped up, but one that they do not understand. In this article we’ll briefly go over what Wayland is, what it does, and why developers are flocking to it in droves! What exactly is Wayland? Let’s find out!
  • Korora 25 is Ready
    The Korora Project has released version 25 (codename "Gurgle") which is now available for download. As usual, you can find a list of already known problems at the common F25 bugs page.
  • Fedora Design Interns Update
  • Holiday Break 2016.
    It’s sad I don’t get more time to post here these days. Being a manager is a pretty busy job, although I have no complaints! It’s enjoyable, and fortunately I have one of the best teams imaginable to work with, the Fedora Engineering team.

openSUSE Says Goodbye to AMD/ATI Catalyst (fglrx) Proprietary Graphics Drivers

openSUSE developer Bruno Friedmann, informed the community of the openSUSE Linux operating system about the fact that he's planning to remove the old ATI/AMD Catalyst (also known as fglrx) proprietary graphics drivers. Read more