• 1921 November 17
    (b.) -
    2012 December 10


Born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, he graduated from the University of Minnesota with an Electrical Engineering degree in 1943. Upon graduating, he joined the U.S. Army Signal Corps, where he worked with radar, and was awarded the Bronze Star for his wartime activities. Following his time with the Army Signal Corps, he served at the Naval Ordnance Laboratory briefly, before joining the Engineering Research Associates. As a research associate, he worked on developing electronic computers, including the ERA 1103 or UNIVAC Scientific. In 1956 he joined Telemeter Magnetic in Los Angeles. He became the company's President soon after and oversaw Telemeter Magnetics' design of core memories for computers. In 1962 he left Telemeter Magnetic, and co-founded Dataproducts Corporation which specialized in computer technology, specifically printers and core memory units. In 1966 core memory was added to the product line, and due to its resulting expansion, the company relocated to Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California in 1968. The company acquired Staff Dynamics, a personnel agency, and Uptime, a manufacturer of card readers; it also served as an incubator for Informatics, an early software company. By 1970 the company had become the world's leading independent printer manufacturer. In 1980 he retired and Graham Tyson, already Chief Operating Officer and President, succeeded him as Chairman. In 1987 he was honored by the IEEE Computer Society, and received the Computer Entrepreneur Award in recognition of his early pioneering work with computer equipment peripherals. He and his wife, Adelle were instrumental in establishing the Charles Babbage Institute, which honorably named a highly regarded library, archives, a fellowship program, after them as well as the CBI Tomash computer history reprint series. The Erwin Tomash Library on The History of Computing is an annotated and illustrated catalog documenting a collection of books and manuscripts related to the history of computing. It was assembled, over the course of many years, using his knowledge as a pioneer in the development of computers. The collection consists of over five thousand items from twelfth century manuscripts to modern publications, and documents the rarest items together with a series of essays that explain the uses of little known instruments and techniques that are discussed in the entries. Each entry consists of the bibliographic details, some biographical information on the author, a description of the contents, and illustrations of interesting pages and diagrams. The library catalog, almost 1600 pages long, can be found on the IEEE Computer Society website as well as the CBI website. A portion of the Erwin Tomash Library (post-1954 volumes) was donated to CBI and is publicly accessible there at the University of Minnesota. The Adelle and Erwin Tomash Fellowship in the History of Information Technology is awarded to a graduate student for doctoral dissertation research in the history of computing. The fellowship is to be held at the recipient's home academic institution, the Charles Babbage Institute, or any other location with appropriate research facilities. It is intended for students who have completed all requirements for the Doctoral Degree except the research and writing of the dissertation. He and his wife, as well as the Tomash Family Foundation, were recognized in a 2009-2010 philanthropy report by the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) as having contributed a gift of $1,000 or more to specific programs at the university. He died at age 91 in his home in Soquel, California and had suffered from Alzheimer's disease.
  • Date of Birth:

    1921 November 17
  • Date of Death:

    2012 December 10
  • Gender:

  • Noted For:

    Early pioneer of computer equipment peripherals and was a co-developer of the ERA 1103 or UNIVAC Scientific
  • Category of Achievement:

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