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James W. Scarlett papers

Creation: 1953-2004 Creation: bulk 1970-1990
Accession: 2662


From 1906 to the 1970s, the Honeywell corporation grew from specializing in thermostats and home heating into military engineering, cameras and computing. James Warren Scarlett (1937-2016) was a team leader and electrical engineer at Honeywell through the crucial 1970s period where they led the world in developing process control technology for industrial plants. His records illustrate the development of Honeywell's Industrial Process Control Division's TDC 2000 and TDC 3000 systems. The collection has particular strengths in materials documenting the design of the user interface, sometimes referred to as the man-machine-interface (MMI). Materials include reports, papers, presentation slides, books, correspondence, and business cards.


  • Creation: 1953-2004
  • Creation: bulk 1970-1990



2 Linear Feet

Historical Note

From 1906 to the 1970s, the Honeywell corporation grew from specializing in thermostats and home heating into military engineering, cameras and computing. The Honeywell Heating Specialty Company was founded in Wabash, Indiana in 1906. It specialized in thermostats and other temperature controls. The Minneapolos-Honeywell Regulator Company was incorporated in Delaware on October 27, 1927, and acquired the assets of both Honeywell and the Minneapolis Heat Regulator Company, a similar manufacturer founded in 1885. The new company was publicly traded and one of the industrial combinations that accompanied the stock market boom.

Over the twentieth century, the company grew, merged, acquired competitors and expanded; Honeywell went from specializing in thermostats and heating into military engineering and technology contracts in World War II, and in the postwar era they expanded further into cameras and computing. In view of the enlarged scope of its business, the company was renamed Honeywell, Inc. on April 29, 1964. In the 1970s, Honeywell shifted their attention to process controls; they merged with General Electric’s information systems and later took over GE’s process control business, including the Multics operating system GE was developing. Starting at the end of the Vietnam war, Honeywell expanded their business with defense contracts, and began an aerospace division in the 1980s, even as they left the computer business, driven out by IBM. Throughout all this, Honeywell continued its dominance in home thermostats, as well as other home security and comfort systems. On December 1, 1999, Honeywell, Inc. became a wholly-owned subsidiary of AlliedSignal, Inc., and AlliedSignal Inc. changed its name to Honeywell International Inc. This resulted in a shift of company headquarters from Minneapolis to AlliedSignal’s headquarters in Morristown, New Jersey.

James Warren Scarlett (1937-2016) was a team leader and engineer with Honeywell through the crucial 1970s period where they led process control technology. After graduating high school, Scarlett served in the United States Air Force as an aircraft electronics technician for five years. There, he trained to repair airborne communications and navigations equipment. Following his discharge, Scarlett started work for Honeywell's Brown Instruments Division in October of 1962, working as a technician on the Preamps and Extended Tape Operating System Recorder. He was moved to Honeywell's Process Control Division in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania. While working at Honeywell, Scarlett studied at Drexel University's Evening College. His performance earned him a spot on the Dean's List, the George W. Childs Drexel Scholarship, and election to both Eta Kappa Nu (electrical engineering honor society) and Alpha Sigma Lambda (honor society). Before Scarlett had completed his degree, his supervisors at Honeywell promoted him from Technician to Associate Evaluation Engineer in November of 1967. With funding from the GI Bill, Scarlett finished his Bachelors of Science in Electrical Engineering in 1969 and went on to complete coursework for an MS Environmental Engineering.

Scarlett was one of the few "night school guys" to complete an evening engineering degree and remain with Honeywell, since many individuals felt that the company engineering culture did not value night school graduates the same as those with traditional degrees. After completing his BS, Scarlett became a Development Engineer for the VutroniK strip chart data recorder line in 1970. He transferred into marketing in 1972, working initially on water management and water quality system products. In 1976, Scarlett transferred to the Total Distributed Control (TDC) group, working on the TDC 2000 auxiliaries, Op Station 300/400/500 and Super/Total. In 1974, he joined the Process Control Management group of the new TDC-2000 Distributed Control System, where he lead the planning, definition, and introduction of the evolving TDC-2000 Basic Operator Station as Product Manager for Display and Interface Products (in 1975). In 1978, Scarlett capitalized on his experience with the TDC-2000 operator console and alarming systems as he became Product Manager responsible for the planning and definition of what became the TDC-3000 Universal Station, History Module, and the Hiway Gateway. He remained a product manager for the TDC 3000 from conception to launch, then shifted into marketing. During the 1990s, Scarlett became a Futurist and Long Range Planning Manager advising Honeywell on long term strategic marketing as part of the Advanced Concepts Group and advancing the TotalPlant Open Solutions system.

Arrangment note

The Scarlett records were initially selected by James Scarlett himself, and later cataloged and assembled by his son, Timothy Scarlett. Upon arrival at Hagley, this organization was largely preserved, although some folders were consolidated (e.g. published materials into one folder instead of individual folders for each article). Afterwards, the original numbering system was replaced by an alphabetical arrangement by folder title. Within each folder, the material is organized chronologically.

Scope and Content

The James W. Scarlett papers primarily deal with the development of Honeywell's Industrial Process Control Division's TDC 2000 and TDC 3000 systems, with the bulk dated between 1975 and 1995. The Total Distributed Control (TDC) 2000 was the first fully digital industrial process control infrastructure, which integrated microprocessor-driven controllers, cathode-ray tube display monitors, plug-in connectors, electronic diagnostics, process software, and a "data highway" for information exchange. TDC 2000 was released in November 1975 and the TDC 3000 in 1984. The TDC control system found wide applicability around the world in processing control facilities, generating hundreds of millions of dollars per year in sales. The collection has particular strengths in materials documenting the design of the user interface, sometimes referred to as the man-machine-interface (MMI). While the bulk of the collection takes the form of reports, presentations, and formal papers, there are a wide variety of materials for researchers, including books, correspondence, and Scarlett’s collection of business cards. There are also personal materials tracking Scarlett’s degree-path, continuing education, and career achievements. Scarlett was a talented artist, and there are drawings both technical and illustrative throughout the Scarlett records.

Access Restrictions

Records are subject to a twenty-five year time seal from the date of their creation.

Related Material

Honeywell, Inc. Corporate Records, Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, Minnesota. A digital finding aid can be found here: (Accessed 7/20/16), but they also have oral histories and published materials on Honeywell available to researchers.

Honeywell subseries, Corporate Records series, Charles W. Bachmann Papers. Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota , Minneapolis, Minnesota. Includes information on computing technology development at Honeywell from 1970-1981. Finding aid:;cc=umfa;q1=honeywell;rgn=main;view=text;didno=cbi00125 (Accessed 7/20/16)

Acronyms help at the official Honeywell acronyms page )

Language of Materials


Additional Description


Gift from Irene Scarlett, wife to James W. Scarlett, 2016.

Note from Donor

Researchers interested in this collection or topic are encouraged to contact Timothy Scarlett, son of James W. Scarlett and Associate Professor of Archaeology at Michigan Technological University. Dr. Scarlett has maintained contact with his father’s associates and colleagues and can put researchers in touch with them. He may be reached at: (current as of 2016).

Related Names


Finding Aid & Administrative Information

James. W. Scarlett papers
Timothy Scarlett, with Anastasia Day assisting from Hagley.
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
Script of description:

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA