January 20, 1985, Super bowl XIX was held at Stanford University's
coliseum. Even though the NFL spent a lot to retrofit the stadium,
attendees lucky enough to score one of the $50 tickets were
stuck with sitting on uncomfortable benches suited for 1930s
college games. Along came the innovative Steve Jobs to resolve
this dilemma and at the same time promote his company. Cushions
with the colorful Apple logo were placed on each seat. Fans
could enjoy the game with some relief in the behind, and were
even encouraged to take them home as souvenirs. Attending this
historic event myself, I've kept mine. Before the game and some
thirty miles across the bay, the pillows were being stored at
Apple Computer's manufacturing campus in Building 4.
The Macintosh assembly plant was located in Fremont, California,
on the south east side of the San Francisco Bay. I worked in
security at the campus from the mid to late 1980s and was lucky
enough to be trained on the new graphical user interface (GUI)
system, allowing a head start in a world where desktop computers
had yet to become mainstream.
Apple CEO, John Scully, had just ousted Steve Jobs when I arrived.
But in the year and a half that I was there, Mr. Scully only
visited the campus once that I know of, and that was on a weekend
to give his kids a tour.
There were many perks if you worked there. Thousands were spent
on lavish parties every Friday, held at the park in the middle
of the campus. It was said that employees received free computers
or could get them at a steep discount.
According to March 19, 1984, Infoworld, the 160,000 square
foot facility cost the company $20- million to build. Apple's
goal was to produce one Macintosh every 27 seconds.
It was on of the most automated facilities in its time, employing
many Japanese manufacturing methods, such as Just-In-Time (JIT)
delivery and robotics that were driven by Macintosh computers.
Building 1 is where the Macintosh was put together. The top
image is a CG rendering from its lobby looking out at the parking
lot. The cafeteria was also located in the building.
By the mid eighties, they also produced the laser printer (Building
3) as well as early desk top publishing software from a small
trailer at the south end. Mac Draw and Mac Paint provided illustrators
and artists tools to finally put their ideas on the computer
in "glorious" black-and-white. Mac Write was the word
processing software of the day; often used by newspapers and
print media. However, early versions lacked a spell check.
Building 2 was the administration, which included facilities
engineering and HR. A work-out room was off to the side of the
Building 4 was primarily used as a warehouse until the interior
was built up in 1986 and opened for business in early 1987.
A fifth building south of the campus came on line later.
The lobbies were staffed by Vanguard Security personnel dressed
in civilian attire, as seen at the lower right. Some of the
receptionists were given tasks to perform on lobby Mac128ks.
If they showed talent, their contracts were bought off and hired
into the company.
In 1992, Apple began to move manufacturing operations to Elk
Grove, California. A study concluded that to remain competitive,
manufacturing functions would need to be integrated with distribution.
And this was a time when IBM compatibles were chewing away at
their market share. Around 700 employees were either laid off,
moved to Elk Grove or to the corporate headquarters, in Cupertino.
The Elk Grove facility closed by 1994.
Not long after, other companies saw the writing on the wall,
and a mass exodus of manufacturing jobs began in the Silicon
Valley as well as the rest of the country.
assembly plant in the 1980s. In the early 90s,
another building was added south on Warm Springs
Irwin, one of the original factory engineers, poses
in Building 1. (courtesy of March 19, 1984 Infoworld).
souvenir from Superbowl XIX, held at the Stanford
Stadium in Palo Alto, California. These seat pillows
were stored in Building 4.
rendering of the Building 1 lobby. Extravagant lobbies
were common among early Apple campuses. A pin-sized camera
was located within the Apple wall engravement, viewable
in the security control room.
2 lobby, circa 1986. All lobbies were equipped with "state-of-the-art"
Mac 128ks. This one is lucky enough to sport the new external
hard drive (courtesy of History
of the Mac OS; part 1).Behind
the receptionist was a work-out room.