What you are looking at is the backyard garage in Palto Alto, California where Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard started their company HP in 1939. These photos aren't new, but with readers sending us photos of their tech-caves, we couldn't help seeing this garage in a new light.
Compared to any modern day study, what you see here is raw and primitive. HP didn't even make computers back then - look closely in some of these photos and you can see HP's first product, an audio oscillator. Click the photo to enlarge it. Click next for the next photo.
[Photos: by David Paul Morris/Getty Images]
Amazingly, the garage survived intact for more than 60 years without being knocked down. HP bought the house in 2000 and restored it, the garage and the outside bedsit (which you can't see in this photo), finishing the work in 2005.
Seen here is the HP Garage from the house, where Dave Packard and his wife Lucile lived downstairs (upstairs lived the landlord). Bill slept in the bedsit located at the rear of the backyard.
Another view, showing the garage, and in the background, the smaller bedsit.
The location was chosen because of the garage, where Bill and Dave could use as a workshop for their new business, according to official HP history. Rent was $45 per month.
According to HP history, the couple had $538 in working capital when they began work in this garage. This included a Craftsman drill press.
During the restoration process, HP scouted local vintage shops, eBay, and accepted items donated by former HP employees. Items bought or loaned included a drill press, a 200A audio oscillator, beds, a ham radio, and the textbook "Radio Engineering" by Fred Terman. Click photos to enlarge.
Two audio oscillators can be seen in this photo. According to the HP web site, Walt Disney Studios bought eight of these for use when creating sound for the movie Fantasia.
While the garage was where products were developed and made, work was also done inside the main house. The oven in the house was used to bake on the paint onto the housing of the oscillators.
More items on the desk in the garage.
Another view of the garage desk. There is a photo of Bill and Dave sitting on the desk.
An old diagram.
Interior view of the bedsit where Dave Packard slept.
Another view inside the restored bedsit, one home to Dave Packard.