Sherman Fairchild


Sherman Fairchild

Sherman Mills Fairchild (b. April 7, 1896 - March 28, 1971) was an inventor (with 30 patents) and serial entrepreneur who founded such companies as Fairchild Aviation, Fairchild Stratos, Fairchild Hiller, Fairchild Recording, Fairchild Industries now the Fairchild Corporation and Fairchild Camera and Instrument. His Fairchild Semiconductor company played a defining role in the development of Silicon Valley and its business culture. He was also a co-founder of Pan American Airlines and American Airlines and the original developer of Republic Airport.

Family

Born in Oneonta, New York, Sherman Fairchild was a particularly bright and naturally inquisitive child. His father, one of nine children, was George Winthrop Fairchild, a Republican Congressman and co-founder of IBM and its first Chairman. His mother was Josephine Mills Sherman, daughter of William Sherman, of Davenport, Iowa. Up until her marriage she had lived most of her life with her uncle, Dr. Gilchrist, a wealthy physician. She died January 24, 1924. He was a direct descendant of Thomas Fairchild, who settled in Stratford, Connecticut, in 1632. On the maternal side of his father he was a great-great-grandson of Thomas Morenus, a soldier of the Revolution, and great-grandson of Jeremiah Morenus, a soldier of the War of 1812. Both these ancestors are buried in hallowed ground in Oneonta. As an only child he inherited his father's multi-million dollar estate when his father died on December 31, 1925. He would also inherited his father's IBM stock, became a Director of IBM in 1925 and remained IBM's largest individual stockholder and a director until his death in 1971.

Sherman Fairchild matriculated at Harvard University in 1915 where, in his freshman year, he invented the flash camera. He also contracted tuberculosis. Under the advice of his physician, he moved to Arizona to recover in the drier climate and transferred his enrollment to the University of Arizona. There he learned about aerial photography. He would later transfer to Columbia University. To assist the military in World War I, he developed a new shutter mechanism for aerial cameras, although the war ended before he was finished. His invention was to create a camera shutter sandwiched between lenses, thereby reducing the significant image distortion previously hampering aerial photography and mapping.

He successfully sold two high speed cameras in 1919 to the military. He lost $30,000 on the deal, but, undaunted by this setback, he left Columbia University to further develop the shutter technology and won sufficient military contracts to establish Fairchild Aerial Camera Corporation, the predecessor of Fairchild Camera and Instrument, on February 11, 1920.

The Sherman Fairchild Empire

Overlooked by historians, the press and the public were the vast holdings of Sherman Mills Fairchild. His vast stock, real estate and other private holding may never be fully known. Fortunately a former Fairchild employee, Theron Rinehart, rescued from destruction an incomplete list of companies Fairchild owned. They are part of The Sherman Fairchild Empire.

Fairchild Aerial Surveys

His interests in aerial photography led in 1927 to the development of airplanes and the establishment of Fairchild Aviation, which sold thousands of airplanes. The first model featured two innovations: folding wings and an enclosed heated cabin. Fairchild airplanes would play major roles in the military, ferrying, freighting, and surveying industries prior to World War II, and an even bigger role during World War II [http://www.bcwarbirds.com/sherman_fairchild_bio.htm] when over 8000 of the Fairchild PT-19 trainers were used by Air Force pilots. Other Fairchild planes included the AT-21 Gunner, the C-82 Packet, the C-119 Flying Boxcar used in the Korean War, and the C-123 Provider.

Traitorous Eight

In 1957, a group of engineers working for William Shockley at his seminal semiconductor company approached Fairchild Camera and Instrument to continue their research in solid-state transistors. This group, later branded by Shockley as the "Traitorous Eight", wanted to leave Shockley because of his poor management style. Sherman Fairchild agreed to back them financially, and thus Fairchild Semiconductor went on to become a leading force in Silicon Valley and an incubator which would spawn many of today's leading technology companies, such as Intel, Advanced Micro Devices, and National Semiconductor, which themselves would spawn other companies that spawned yet more other companies.

Hogan's Heroes

In 1968, eight men, including Jerry Sanders, left Motorola led by Lester Hogan and joined Fairchild Camera and Instrument. They became known as "Hogan's Heroes". Motorola sued Fairchild Camera and Instrument for unfair competition, but a District Court ruled that the Fairchild company's hiring of the group was legal. [cite web|url=http://library.findlaw.com/1999/Jan/1/127884.html|title=Seven Deadly IP Sins in Employee Hiring|author=Peter P. Chen|date=1999]

Estate

According to a New York Times story on April 3, 1971 Fairchild left a 200+ Million Dollar Estate most to two charitable foundations he formed during his lifetime, the Fairchild Foundation and the Sherman Fairchild Foundation. Bequest included Walter Burke of Winding Lane, Greenwich, Conn. Mr. Burke, the executor was a long-time friend and business advisor. Other bequests included were Ann Diane Williams of Beverley Hills, California, $2-million, or 1% of the net estate, whichever is greater; Cornelia Lynn Sharp of 111 East 75th Street, $200,000, and Roswell Gilpatric of 79 East 79th Street, $100,000. Specific bequests to organizations were Roosevelt Hospital, $300,000; the Salvation Army, $200,000 and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, in memory of his late aunt, May Fairchild; $100.000. His will was offered for probate in Manhattan Surrogate's Court by the law firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamiltion of New York. Mr Fairchild died at Roosevelt Hospital, NY after a long illness. He left bequests to more than 50 relatives, friends and former employees. The Sherman Fairchild Foundation assets have grown to over 500 Million in recent years and is headquartered in Chevy Chase, MD. The Walter Burke family continue to run the Sherman Fairchild Foundation. Bonnie Burke Himmelman is the current president.

Burial

After his death Sherman Mills Fairchild was laid to rest in Greenwood Cemetery in Oneonta, Otsego County, N.Y. He is buried within walking distance of the home he grew up in, in the town where he was born and raised. He sold his childhood family home in 1929 to the Masons and it became the Oneonta Masonic Lodge. His home and the town he grew up in remain unchanged.

As a result of his achievements, he was awarded fellowships in the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences and in the Royal Aeronautical Society, as well as accolades by the Smithsonian Institution.

Books

*Thomas J. Campanella-"Cities from the Sky: An Aerial Portrait of America"-ISBN-10:156892992, ISBN-13:15668982991, Princeton Architectural Press: 1 edition (November 26, 2001)
*Wayne G. Broehl-"The Sherman Fairchild Foundation, 1955-1993"-(Unknown Binding) ASIN: B0006P19WA, The Foundation

ee also

*Fairchild
*Fairchild Aircraft Ltd. (Canada)
*Fairchild Semiconductor
*Traitorous Eight
*Silicon Valley

References

*
*Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, EMPIRE, The Life, Legend, and Madness of Howard Hughes, p86, 1979- ISBN 0-393-07513-3

External links

* [http://web.whittier.edu/fairchild/home.html Biography from Whittier College]
* [http://library.caltech.edu/sherman/fairchild.htm Biography from the Sherman Fairchild Library at the California Institute of Technology]
* [http://www.bcwarbirds.com/sherman_fairchild_bio.htm Detailed biography of airplane accomplishments]
* [http://www.usgennet.org/usa/ny/state/his/bio/pt58.html Fairchild Family History]
* [http://www.fairchild.com The Fairchild Corporation]
* [https://www.m7aerospace.com/ M7 Aerospace]
* [http://library.findlaw.com/1999/Jan/1/127884.html Seven Deadly IP Sins]
* [http://www.fairchildimaging.com/main/history.htm Fairchild Imaging]
* [http://www.pilotfriend.com/aircraft%20performance/fairchild.htm Fairchild Aviation History]
* [http://silicongenesis.stanford.edu/transcripts/rock.htm Arthur Rock]
* [http://www.fairchildproducts.com/aboutus.htm Fairchild Industrial Products Corp.]
* [http://www.stanford.edu/dept/news/pr/2005/pr-fairchild-030905.html The Fairchild Chronicles]
* [http://www.fairchild-controls.com/history.html Fairchild Controls Company]
* [http://www.shanaberger.com/fairchild.htm Fairchild Aircraft Corp.]
* [http://silicongenesis.stanford.edu/transcripts/hodgson.htm Richard Hodgson]
* [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6818698 Sherman Fairchild's grave]
* [http://www.whittier.edu/fairchild/home.html Fairchild Aeriel Photography Collection at Whittier College]
* [http://www.oneontahistory.org/walkingtour.htm Includes Fairchild's boyhood home]
* [http://inventors.about.com/od/dstartinventions/a/spruce_goose.htm?terms=geodetic+surveys Hughes-Fairchild and Duramold]


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