The RCA Selectron -- The people of Engineering Research Associates

ERA logo
ERA logotype

ERA (Engineering Research Associates) of St. Paul, Minnesota, was one of the pioneering firms in the development of electronic digital computers. Although known for their pioneering development of the magnetic drum memory and the ATLAS and 1101 computers, ERA engineer Robert Callan evaluated two RCA Laboratories supplied Selectrons for use as a memory element in the 1103 computer.1 The 1103 was produced, not using Selectrons, but rather with electrostatic storage memories of the Williams-Kilburn design implemented using a six-by-six array of five-inch cathode ray tubes.

ERA Selectron testbed

Image of the Selectron testbed from a 1959 review of Remington Rand Univac products created in St. Paul Minnesota.

Whirlwind memo

This 1951 internal memorandum from MIT's Project Whirlwind mentions one of the concerns of the technical staff at ERA about the Selectron.

Robert Callan
Robert Callan, Electrical Engineer, ERA, St. Paul, Minnesota

Joseph Kelar
Joseph Kelar, Electrical Engineer, ERA, St. Paul, Minnesota

1Private communications with the author, January, 2004

1953 ad
1953 advertisement ©Copyright Remington Rand, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Name Gleaner -- This section is written to allow search engines to find the common variations of names such as one and two intitials both pre- and post-family name.
R Callan R Callan Robert Callan
J Kelar J Kelar Joseph Kelar