Control Data Australia Memories compiled by Brian Membrey

CDC : But Wait, There’s More!

Just a few weeks after CDC's revised plans for a facility in Bloomington were released, it was announced that the company would take another 20 acres in that suburb for a 75,000 square-foot, $750,000 building for its Cedar Engineering Division "which manufactures computer accessory equipment".

Cedar had then 250 employees located in St. Louis Park about 7-8 kilometres north of the proposed new location, which was expected to expand to 400 by the time the facility was scheduled for completion in September; total accommodation was said to be 500.

The Cedar Engineering facility was just part of an initial  $7.5 million development undertaken by the Raunhorst Development Corp., (2) in the legend) with a later potential to expand to $15 million.  Perhaps predictably, the survey of the area as it exists today suggests that some of the plans were “pie in the sky”. ((D) “golf course” even in the diagram looks like it might have been a driving range at best).

Cedar Engineering under CDC produced magnetic tape drives, high-speed paper tape readers, magnetic tape transports, line printers, servomotor tachometers, card readers, data terminals, card punches, disk drives, magnetic tape certifiers, optical page readers, and electronic scales ultimately emerged as Imprimis Technology, at one time the largest producer of OEM products in the world.

As the Norris scrapbooks unfold, the background of this facility will become clearer, but it is currently the HQ of Seagate Technologies, the West Coast based company to which CDC sold its Imprimis Technology disk drive subsidiary in 1989 for $450 million - again, like Ceridean’s current offices in Bloomington which appear to be of the site of CDC’s original plant of the early 1960s, it appears that the real estate may have been part of the sell-off.

The proposed project incorporated 180 acres of land, 70 in Bloomington, the larger section in neighbouring Edina; the boundaries are not clear on the map below, but Edina seems to be the section north of W 77th Street.  The new Cedar Engineering plants was about 4 kilometres from the main CDC location.

Legend : (A) industrial area; (B) hotel and motel and commercial; (C) offices; (D) golf course and (E and F) residential. Already completed within the area are (1) Vaughan's Inc., (2) Raunhorst Development Corp., (3) Rosemount Engineering, and (4) Melrose Manufacturing Co.  Control Data plans a building at (5)"  Most interesting that even although CDC/Cedar were yet to commence building, “Computer Boulevard” (now Avenue) was included in the plans!

Courtesy of Google Maps

The Cedar Engineering plant was just off Computer Avenue, now occupied by Seagate Technologies, who have also a smaller plant on the appropriately named One Disc Drive (not sure whether Cedar/Imprimis ever occupied this building).  

Bob Price’s book also reveals a third CDC building (below) circa 1980 constructed at 4625 West 77th Street for the Magnetic Peripherals Inc. subsidiary. Google Maps reveals the building as unchanged, but doesn’t reveal the current occupier.

The Woodgate Drive in the legend above does not appear on current Google Maps - the northern section seems to remain as One Disc Drive.

Most of the section on the north side of W 77th Street is light industrial - no sign of a golf course, but the section further north appears to be open land with a number of artificial lakes

Charles Babbage Institute photograph of Cedar Engineering workers, 1958 at the St. Louis Park plant There are several other images of Cedar, but this appears to be the only one that is dated.  Note the worker on the left in a wheelchair

BELOW : Not much is documented of Cedar Engineering’s earlier products  - the CBI photo archives have about 20 images of Cedar stuff, but almost all are labelled “unidentifiable product”. One that is identified is far left “electrical synchronizer” - the others are a watcha-ma-callit, a partly-assembled dooverlackey, a widget-thingy with extendable arms and what looks like a really groovy cabinet on castor wheels