An Wang

From Academic Kids

Dr. An Wang (Template:Zh-cp; February 7, 1920March 24, 1990) was a Chinese American computer engineer and inventor, and founder of computer company Wang Laboratories.

Born in Shanghai, China, Wang emigrated to the United States in 1945. Wang worked with Dr Howard Aiken at Harvard University in the 1950s. Wang co-invented several important computer technologies, including the pulse transfer controlling device, an important early contribution to magnetic core memory with Way-Dong Woo, a schoolmate from China, who fell ill before their patent was issued. Wang sold the patent to IBM for $50,000 and used it to start the company and raised another $50,000 working capital by selling one third of the company to Warner Swasey, a textile machinary manufacturer.

Wang and Dr Ge-Yao Chu, another school mate, founded Wang Laboratories, Inc. manufactured early personal word processors in the 1970s. Dr Chu, while trained as an electrical engineer, was in fact a mechanical wizard and was instrumental in modifying a typewriter for the word processor. A tape cassette built into the typewriter could store and display text files. These files could be edited and printed (as if the typewriter were typing on its own). At the time personal computers were unheard of and having a simple word processor was very useful, however these Wangs were fabulously expensive. Celebrity author Stephen King purchased a Wang.

Wang Laboratories, which at one time employed over 30,000 people, was headquartered in Tewksbury, Massachusetts and later Lowell, Massachusetts. When Wang looked to retire from actively running his company in 1986, he insisted upon handing over the corporate reins to his son, Fred Wang. Hard times ensued for the company, and the elder Wang was eventually forced to remove his son in 1989. Still, when An Wang died of cancer in 1990, he left behind an impressive technical and philanthropic legacy. Sadly, he also left behind thousands of unemployed employees.

Dr Wang was a good engineer but a poor business person. Most of the company's acquisitions were failures. He and his second wife, Loraine, lived in Lincoln, Massachusetts, where she still lives by herself. Their three children are Fred, who is now retired and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Courtney, who runs an internet company in Dallas and Juliet, who is an emergency medical technician. Not withstanding the demise of Wang Laboratories, the Wang family still retains much of their fortune in the Wang Family Trust.

See also

External links

sl:An Wang zh:王安

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