|Erna Schneider Hoover (New Jersey, 1926-)|
|A typical switchboard in 1960s. It looks identical to the one I worked at for Pacific Northwest Bell in Tacoma, WA. Note the plaid skirt on the left. Very popular then!|
Erna Schneider Hoover is considered a pioneer in computer technology. Her patent was one of the first software patents issued. It is interesting her first degrees were in medieval philosophy and history (Wellesley College), and she had a Ph.d (Yale) in philosophy and mathematics. She later said after being hired by Bell Laboratories, that her training was equivalent to earning a master's in computer science. Bell Labs was eager to replace their older electronic relay circuitry, and computer technology appeared to be the solution.
Erna got right to work, but in the process found herself flat on her back in the hospital . . . about to give birth to one of her three daughters! With pad in hand she persevered and designed a new switching system for Bell Labs. While on maternity leave, the patent papers were hand delivered for her to sign. She had solved the company's problem, and the principles of her design are still in use today. She was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2008.
Copyright 2015 © Sharon Marie Himsl