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Electronics Corporation of America Collection

 Collection
Identifier: CHC006

Collection Description

The collection is composed of annual reports and other documents from 1953-1986, all related to the Electronics Corporation of America. Contents include annual reports detailing a yearly overview of sales and earnings, while also featuring articles discussing the development of new technologies and ECA products. Other contents featured within the collection include photographs, financial records, newspaper clippings, a number of advertising objects, and information related to the declaration of the Metcalf Center at Boston University.

Dates

  • 1953-1986

Language of Materials

Material is in English.

Access

Collection is available for research under the CHC rules of use.

Copyright Notice

Copyright for materials resides with the creators of the items in question, unless otherwise designated.

It is the responsibility of the researcher to understand and observe copyright law and to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyright. Questions concerning copyright and permission to publish should be directed to the Cambridge Historical Commission Archives.

Historical Note

In 1936, Boston University alumni and former professor of engineering, Arthur Metcalf, founded the Electronics Corporation of America. Stemming from his interest in aeronautical engineering, Metcalf sought to create a company that focused on serving two basic industrial markets. The first ECA marked was focused on the continuous requirement for power, reflecting the continual occurrence of industrial expansion. The second ECA market was concerned with the expansion, modernization, and automation of production facilities on a worldwide basis. Additionally, the ECA also featured a Military and Aerospace division, one that performed research and technological development for America’s military and space programs. Although very successful throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the Military and Aerospace division of the ECA was discontinued by 1974.

While the ECA originated in Waltham, in 1955, the company establishing new research headquarters on One Memorial Drive in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in a building that had been a warehouse owned by Filene’s, an American department store.

Alongside its new headquarters in Cambridge, in the early 1950s, the ECA operated in six other locations within the Cambridge-Boston area and had additional sale offices in major cities throughout the country. Between the remainder of the 1950s through the 1980s, the ECA continued to grow as a corporation. Its Fireye burner management systems were used to monitor and supervise large-scale power stations and industrial boilers. Another product produced by the ECA that proved to be successful was its PHOTOSWITCH line of electronic and photo-electronic controls, which provided automation for multiple industrial processes and manufacturing activities.

Somewhat of a recluse, Metcalf stayed out of the public spotlight, though he maintained an active relationship with Boston University, becoming Chairman of the Board of Trustees in 1978. In 1986 the ECA was purchased by and become a division of Rockwell International Corporation. That same year, Metcalf was honored by BU with the opening of Metcalf Center for Science and Engineering. Metcalf passed away in 1997.

Extent

0.5 linear feet

2 oversized boxes

Abstract

The collection is composed of annual reports and other documents from 1953-1986, all related to the Electronics Corporation of America. Contents include annual reports detailing a yearly overview of sales and earnings, while also featuring articles discussing the development of new technologies and ECA products. Other contents featured within the collection include photographs, financial records, newspaper clippings, a number of advertising objects, and information related to the declaration of the Metcalf Center at Boston University.

Physical Location

Collection is stored on-site.

Provenance

Miriam Wallie, former employee of the Electronics Corporation of America, donated the collection to the Cambridge Historical Commission September 9th, 2013.

Related Materials

Cambridge Historical Commission Address Folder: photographs of the building, One Memorial Drive.

Folder 1594, found in Research Triangle Foundation Records, 1955-1999 (05081), UNC University Libraries: link

Processing Information

Processing and finding aid by Jillian Silverberg, 2013. Updated by Meta Partenheimer, February 2017. Encoded by Brittany Fox, April 2021.
Title
Inventory of the the Electronics Corporation of America Collection, 1953-1986
Author
Processing and finding aid byJillian Silverberg, 2013. Finding aid updated by reformatted by Meta Partenheimer, February 2017. Machine-readable finding aid by Brittany Fox, April 2021.
Description rules
Finding Aid Was Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
English
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge Historical Commission Archives Repository

Contact:
831 Massachusetts Avenue
2nd Floor
Cambridge Massachusetts 02139 US
617-349-4683