Wednesday, March 17, 2010

RIP Denman Tire

I began working for Denman Rubber Manufacturing in March 1975. I came in as a lab technician, then moved to Timekeeper.

In 1976, I began to work on an associate degree with one of those computer thingies. We had a Burroughs medium system at Kent Trumbull, but the big thing was the keypunch stations. Most folks had IBM 036, where you had to do three keys at once to do a left or right parenthesis. We had a few 039s. One key for a parenthesis - COBOL heaven! And it was COBOL, of course. That, FORTRAN, and Assembler.

Meanwhile, Denman had just been informed that IBM would no longer maintain their unit record equipment. Mostly because there was no way to make the dates go past 1979. So they knew they needed someone to set up a computer system. I was the only person they knew who knew what one looked like.

I made the Correct Technical Decision, and picked a Data General mini. I have a bad habit of making the C T D. I've owned a Betamax, and spent a decade with OS/2.

I wrote apps. In COBOL, of course - what else in 1979? Accounts Payable and Receivable, General Ledger, Order Entry, Inventory, ERP. Our payroll processor went out of business - our CFO spent a year trying to get a certain payroll company that begins with an A and ends with a DP to get our payroll on line. Didn't work. I wrote a payroll system in three months.

I changed operating systems. I started off with ICOS, the Interactive COBOL Operating System. Threaded p-code! Then to RDOS; to AOS; to AOS/VS; to dg/ux. I wrote articles for the Data General User's Group magazine. I talked about the Y2K problem in my second article - in 1986. I became president of the group in 1994; I saw it go away.

I made the decision to, for once in my life, go with the popular choice: Red Hat. For once, the popular choice was the Correct Technical Decision; I'm a RHCE running RHEL5.4 on all of our systems.

I got a BA from Hiram, a MS from Kent, an RHCT and a RHCE. I raised a son who also has a BA from Hiram, an RHCT, and an RHCE.

I've had a good career. Denman has been as good a place to work for as I could have ever asked.

Yesterday, they filed for a Chapter 7 liquidation.

I'll be OK - I already have a new job. But I've got friends that I've known for more than 30 years that are in serious trouble. Where does a tire builder with a 10th grade education go to get $27 an hour?

I'm running off at the fingers now, and will go to bed.


  1. Hi Tim.

    I worked at Denman for about a year and a half as the Chief Compounder, (kind of took over from Al Joseph). I have followed Denman over the years and am very sad to see such a storied company go out of business. Glad to hear that you are OK. I hope that all the good folks at Denman land on their feet. I am not much of a geek, but I did recently pick up an Osborne 1 that I have been fooling around with from time to time. It REALLY looks odd next to my Dell Mini 9!

    Best of Luck to you and all the folks at Denman!


  2. Dave! If I recall correctly, you went to the dark side. :) Hope everything's OK over there. I've been saying for a long time that the two of us should have merged.

    Thanks for the note...

    -- tim --