Artifact Details


Harker, Jack (John M.) oral history, with C. Denis Mee

Catalog Number





Key products and technologies of the IBM San Jose Laboratory from the RAMAC into the 1990s are discussed from the viewpoint of John M "Jack" Harker and C. Denis Mee who together have 71 years experience at the Laboratory covering 1952 through 1995.

Harker joined IBM San Jose, CA as a design engineer in 1952 and advanced through a series of increasingly responsible positions to become the Laboratory Director in 1972. Concerned that investment in technology was necessary to continue IBM's storage leadership in 1969 he was instrumental in the formation the Technology and Advanced Development Group (TAD). Harker was appointed an IBM Fellow in 1977 and retired from IBM in 1987. He is best know as the father of removable disk storage for his leadership of the 1311 Disk File project but he considers the 1350 (Cypress) Image Storage System his most challenging assignment and the creation of TAD amongst his most important accomplishments. In 1993 Harker received the IEEE Reynold B. Johnson Information Storage Award "for leadership in the development of information storage devices..."

Mee joined IBM Yorktwon Heights, NY as a research staff member in 1962. In 1965 he transferred to the Advanced Technology group in San Jose, CA. From the outset Mee was involved in contributing to and managing several ground-breaking data storage technology programs such as IBM's film heads for hard disk drives and several types of optical storage technologies. Mee was a founder of IBM's Magnetic Recording Institute (MRI) and was its first director in 1982. He was apponited IBM Fellow in 1983 and he retired from IBM in 1993. Mee authored and edited several books related to magnetic recording, exemplified by Physics of Magnetic Recording (1964), Magnetic Recording (3 volumes with Eric Daniel, 1987) and The 100th Anniversary of Magnetic Recording (1995). In 1994 Mee received the IEEE Reynold B. Johnson Information Storage Award "for contributions to the design of optical, magneto-optical, and magnetic recording files."


2007-05-30; 2007-07-10


Bajorek, Christopher, Interviewer
Gardner, Tom, Interviewer
Harker, John M. (Jack), Interviewee
Mee, C. Denis, Interviewee


Computer History Museum

Place of Publication

Mountain View, California


84 p.




Technology and Advanced Development (TAD); IBM San Jose Laboratory; Magnetic Recording Institute (IBM); Inductive Film Heads; magnetoresistive (MR) heads; Sawmill; IBM 1311; IBM 2311; IBM 1350 (Photo Imaging System); Cypress; IBM 3330; Merlin (Computer); IBM 2319; New Attachment Strategy; IBM 3380; A Box; IBM 3340; Winchester; IBM 3380; IBM 2319; Storage history; Harker, John M. (Jack); Mee, C. Denis; RAMAC; IBM 350; LCF

Collection Title

Oral history collection

Lot Number