The final big textile mill left New Hampshire right after WWII, although the industry had all but died before that, and the state was hurting economically. We were saved by tech firms taking their place – either local defense contractors (Sanders Associates) or Massachusetts computer firms moving north for lower taxes.

DEC, Digital Equipment Corp., was the big name among those Massachusetts firms. And it was big largely because of Ken Olsen and C. Gordon Bell’s development of PDP-8 and VAX, which launched the minicomputer boom and created an entire industry. DEC faded in the ’90s after PCs did to minicomputers what they had done to mainframes.

Bell recently died at age 90. New Hampshire wouldn’t be the same without him.

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