Digital Collections

Oral history interview with Robert Robson

  • 2005-Nov-17
  • 2005-Dec-16

Oral history interview with Robert Robson

  • 2005-Nov-17
  • 2005-Dec-16

Robert Robson begins the interview with a discussion about growing up in South Dakota. He discusses his education, his involvement with the Army, and his early interest in electronics. He also details his move to California and his involvement with the electronics industry. He describes his employment at Farnsworth Electronics Incorporated and Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation. He describes his interaction with Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore, Andrew Grove, and several other prominent industry leaders. At Fairchild, Robson became production superintendent of the Special Products Group. He left Fairchild after working there for four years. Robson continues the interview by describing his relationship with the semiconductor industry, along with his employment at Amelco, Teledyne, Intersil, and Microma. Robson was manufacturing manager at Amelco, and went on to found Microma, where they worked on the digital watch at its beginning. After two years, Robson sold Microma to Intel and bought a thousand-acre ranch where he and his wife, Sharleen, farm nuts. Finally, he discusses his friendship with Gordon and Betty Moore, describing fishing and hunting trips they took together.

Property Value
Place of interview
  • 68 pages
  • 03:03:00
Rights Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Rights holder
  • Science History Institute
Credit line
  • Courtesy of Science History Institute

About the Interviewers

David C. Brock is a senior research fellow with the Center for Contemporary History and Policy at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. As a historian of science and technology, he specializes in the history of semiconductor science, technology, and industry; the history of instrumentation; and oral history. Brock has studied the philosophy, sociology, and history of science at Brown University, the University of Edinburgh, and Princeton University.In the policy arena Brock recently published Patterning the World: The Rise of Chemically Amplified Photoresists, a white-paper case study for the Center’s Studies in Materials Innovation. With Hyungsub Choi he is preparing an analysis of semiconductor technology roadmapping, having presented preliminary results at the 2009 meeting of the Industry Studies Association.

Christophe Lécuyer is a graduate of the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, and he received a PhD in history from Stanford University. He was a fellow of the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology and has taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and the University of Virginia. Before becoming a senior research fellow at CHF, Lécuyer was the program manager of the electronic materials department. He has published widely on the history of electronics, engineering education, and medical and scientific instruments, and is the author of Making Silicon Valley: Innovation and the Growth of High Tech, 1930–1970 (2005).

Institutional location

Oral history number 0322
Physical container
  • Shelfmark QD22.R667 A5 2005

Related Items

Interviewee biographical information

  • May 11, 1935
  • Bowman, North Dakota, United States
  • September 26, 2015
  • Le Grand, California, United States


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1955 South Dakota State University BS Industrial Engineering
1959 San José State University Industrial Engineering

Professional Experience

Farnsworth Electronics Incorporated

  • 1957 to 1958 Foreman

Fairchild (Firm)

  • 1958 to 1962 Production Superintendent

Amelco Corporation

  • 1962 to 1968 Manufacturing Manager

Intersil Corporation

  • 1968 to 1970 Vice President of Manufacturing

Microma Corporation

  • 1970 to 1972 Chairman and President

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PDF — 628 KB

The published version of the transcript may diverge from the interview audio due to edits to the transcript made by staff of the Center for Oral History, often at the request of the interviewee, during the transcript review process.

Audio File Web-quality download

1 Interview Segment Archival-quality download