Ron Weeden spent over 30 years working in the IT industry on calculator and desktop computer technology. He got into the calculator business when they were mechanical devices and computers were in their infancy and ended his formal career at HP in the late 90s, by then a global leader in PC’s and workstations.
Tech was only part of his life story though which started in 1932 when Tunbridge Wells was a traffic free haven and a boy could fill his leisure time on long cycle trips around Kent; the only entertainment available in a penniless upbringing. Ron describes himself as a loner, intensely curious and a polymath: which contributed to his many achievements and on which he touches (as well as the evolution of computing) in this snapshot of a fascinating life.
Grammar school saw him into an early career as a civil servant aged 16, followed by an unusual National Service experience, and a few short-term jobs in the 50s while pursuing his varied intellectual interests. In 1961 Ron found his way to Muldivo, a supplier of calculators, which led him to be employee Number 1 in Wang UK, and thence on to the rapidly developing HP in 1969. Ron has been a member of the BCS and ACM since 1968 and continues to be active in the profession.
This interview only scratches the surface and Ron’s full biography would be entertaining and engaging on many levels.
Ron was interviewed by Tom Abram for Archives of IT and the full Interview should be available at the end of June.
Ron Weeden on 1930s Kent
Ron Weeden on the First Programmable Calculator
Ron Weeden on Who Used Calculators