Crane, Hewitt D. 1927-2008 (H.D. Crane, Hewitt David Crane)

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Crane, Hewitt D. 1927-2008 (H.D. Crane, Hewitt David Crane)


See index for CA sketch: Born April 27, 1927, in Jersey City, NJ; died of complications from Alzheimer's disease, June 17, 2008, in Portola Valley, CA. Computer scientist, electrical engineer, vintner, and author. Crane was working on computers before most people were even aware of the fledgling technological innovation. He worked for the International Business Machines Corporation (now IBM) on the Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator in 1949. He moved to the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, the Radio Corporation of America (known as RCA), and the David Sarnoff Research Laboratory. Crane joined the Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International) in Menlo Park, California, in 1956, where he directed the Sensory Sciences Research Laboratory. For the rest of his career, Crane followed the growth of the computer industry. He worked with punch-card calculating machines at IBM, the Electronic Recording Machine for Accounting for the Bank of America, and magnetic computer systems for controlling New York City subway switching functions, among other specialized adaptations. He then moved toward the solid-state silicon semiconductor technology that put personal computers into homes all over the world. At SRI International Crane devoted himself to early enhancements of this far-reaching technology, such as optical character recognition and voice recognition applications. He registered dozens of patents, including his designs for a data-entry stylus and a binocular eye-tracking device. Not far from Menlo Park, Crane purchased farmland and cofounded Ridge Vineyards, which occupied his free time until the property was sold in 1986. Crane's occasional publications were often quite technical in nature, with one notable exception: The New Social Marketplace: Notes on Effecting Social Change in America's Third Century (1980). He was also the coauthor of Digital Magnetic Logic (1969).



New York Times, June 21, 2008, p. B9.