• Feb 6, 1932
    (b.) -
    May 16, 1998
    (d.)

Bio/Description

The founder and president Southwest Technical Products Corporation, he was born in New Braunfels, Texas and raised in San Marcos, Texas where he earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics and physics in 1957 from Southwest Texas State. After college he married and moved to San Antonio to become a research engineer in the electrical engineering department of Southwest Research Institute. He soon started writing hobbyist articles. The first was in Electronics World (May 1960) and later he had a 2 part cover feature for Radio-Electronics (October, November 1962). The March 1963 issue of Popular Electronics featured his ultrasonic listening device on the cover. The projects would often require a printed circuit board or specialized components that were not available at the local electronics parts store. Readers could purchase them directly from him. He saw the business opportunity in providing circuit boards and parts for the Popular Electronics projects. In January 1964 he left Southwest Research Institute to start an electronics kit company. He continued to write articles and ran the mail order kit business from his home garage in San Antonio, Texas. By 1965 he was providing the kits for other authors such as Lou Garner. In 1967 he sold a kit for Don Lancaster's "IC-67 Metal Locator". In early 1967 he moved his growing business from his home to a new building on a 3-acre site in San Antonio. The Daniel E. Meyer Company (DEMCO) became Southwest Technical Products Corporation (SWTPC) that fall. In the first 10 years SWTPC the most popular products were audio kits followed by test equipment. There was also that very 1970s stuff like color organs that would synchronize colored lights with music and strobe lights. He developed a series of audio power amplifiers known as Tigers. These amps are still in use today. Don Lancaster developed a series of decimal readout counters and voltmeters that used the latest technology. In mid-1975, he asked one of his engineers, Gary Kay, to design a computer based on the Motorola 6800 design kit. The first deliveries were in November 1975. In June 1976 SWTPC introduced the AC-30 Cassette Interface for data storage and the PR-40 printer. You could now get a complete computer system for about $1500. Many of the early hobbyist computer companies were founded by engineers who did not know how to run a business. They would fold in a year or so. SWTPC had been successful in the kit business for over a decade so they could deliver working products. Floppy Disk systems, full feature terminals, and many peripherals were added in 1977. The bus structure was called the SS-50 and soon many other vendors were making add in cards and complete systems. In 1979 SWTPC introduced a new line based on the Motorola 6809 processor. These systems were produced until the mid-1980s. By then the IBM PC was dominating the personal computer world and SWTPC shifted to point of sale systems.
  • Date of Birth:

    Feb 6, 1932
  • Date of Death:

    May 16, 1998
  • Gender:

    Male
  • Noted For:

    Founder of the company that introduced kits for the AC-30 Cassette Interface data storage and the PR-40 printer
  • Category of Achievement:

  • More Info: