Claude Kagan

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Claude Kagan

Claude Kagan (born 10/7/1924), also known Claude Ancelme Roichel Kagan, Claude A. R. Kagan, or C. A. R. Kagan, was truly the guiding spirit behind the RESISTORS. He believed deeply in giving young people opportunities to learn in an active, "hands-on" way, and he practiced this both with the RESISTORS and through involvement with underprivileged youth in Trenton, NJ.

Claude died on April 26, 2012. A memorial service was held on August 11, 2012 at the InfoAge Museum at Historic Camp Evans in Wall, NJ.

Herb Johnson has produced a lovely "Claude Kagan memorial page," which collects a lot of information on Claude and links to other resources. Thanks, Herb!


Claude Kagan of Hopewell Township was born in France and educated in France, England and the US. He graduated from Cornell with a bachelors in Mechanical Engineering (1948), bachelors in Electrical Engineering (1950), and MS in Electrical Engineering (1950). Served in the US Army Corps of Engineers during WW II and the Signal Corps during the Korean War.

Claude worked for AT&T/Western Electric from 1953 to 1988, mostly at the Engineering Research Center outside Princeton, and later as a consultant for SAM76 Inc. His work included communications, manufacturing systems, and visionary work on computers in the home and the future of personal computing.

In addition to thinking about the future, Claude began collecting historical technology in the 1960’s and filled his barn with artifacts, including a Burroughs 205 vacuum tube computer. Fortunately the PDP-8 and other highlights of his collection were moved to the InfoAge Museum in Wall, NJ, before the barn burned in 2009.

He was a radio amateur, KE2XY and W2UUI, and professional engineer. Claude was active in the IEEE and related organizations for many years and received the IEEE Computer Society medal for extraordinary contributions in 1984.

Claude was an active mentor who guided many young people into computing and engineering through the RESISTORS, the Cornell alumni network, and informally.

Burial will be private but a memorial event is being organized and a scholarship fund will is being created in his honor. See for details.

Summary of events, written by Claude

October 7, 1924 - April 26, 2012

Born in France, attended early school there, then later in England and finally finished HS in US. Started College at Cornell in 1942, Mechanical Engineering, drafted and served in AUS 1944 to 1946, retuned to Cornell, got BME, then BEE and finally MSc in Civil Engineering.

Started work at EBASCO in NY and Southern Illinois, was called back to military active duty in 1950 during Korean conflict, and served in France as liaison officer with French PTT, and other special assignments.

Released in 1953 and went to work for Western Electric Co in Lawrence and N. Andover mass. Involved in final setup and testing of Missile Range communications system and became interested in early Computer system.

Published in 1957 IEEE section prize winning paper on computer controlled manufacturing system with specially designed bidirectionally accessible data base.

Designed large scale computer controlled system with telecommunications for the Merrimack Valley Works of WE company.

Was transferred to NY and soon after to the newly formed WE engineering research center in May 1958, in Hopewell Township.

Responsibility was primarily to look in the future for computer and other controlling techniques to be used in manufacturing.

Published a number of papers along those lines.

Some of the proposals were implemented in factories.

At same time was active in the IEEE being chairman of the coputing devices committee and also after several years of the data communications committee. Was charter founder of AFIPS, the American Federation of Information Societies.

Was awarded by the IEEE computer society the 1984 medal for extraordinary contributions &c &c. Was also one of half a dozen people who was give a second 1984 award, that by the Princeton Section of the IEEE.

Became involved on the side with the R.E.S.I.S.T.O.R.S. in 1965, and that is a different story.

Retired from AT&T Bell Laboratories at the end of 1988.

Have been since then consultant in private practice with my own small company, and a couple of friends and associates.

Among significant activities was the installation of computer aided election reporting and ballot preparation for the Mercer County Clerk's office. Also consulted for the County Clerk with reference to a proposed Electronic Voting Machine system for which prelimnary action had been taken by Mercer County Freeholders. After studying the proposal and submitting a report the Freeholders decided that discretion was the better part of valor and not to approve the acquisition of untested and unproven system consisting of 600 IBM PC machines with no demonstatable software.

May 25, 1998