History (1996): Censtor Ceases Operation

Manufacturer of perpendicular recording heads and media
This is a Press Release edited by on 2018.07.13

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1996 - Censtor ceases operation
After trying for 17 years to perfect vertical recording Censtor ceased operations about 10 years before the technology became generally available in the industry.

Why its important
Censtor was an early producer of vertical (perpendicular) recording heads and media, initially VC funded in 1979, it sold it's operations to Read Rite in 1996 and ceased licensing activities in 2007. As it turned out, the industry adopted this technology beginning 2005.

In 1987 Maxtor evaluated heads and disk and determined the performance was on a par with more conventional longitudinal recording components and therefore there was insufficient motivation adopt the new technology particularly given the risks of a single source for both heads and media. The vertical recording technology required flying heights much lower than conventional for the time resulting in patented technology regarding low flying and/or quasi-contact recording. These latter patents turned out to have significant licensing value.

In September 1989 Northern Telecom announced the use of Censtor technology in its Mercury 9500 series of 8-inch HDDs but withdrew the product on March 13, 1990.

Key personnel included Tim Martin (first president), Ed Zschau (CEO, later going to to the US Congress), Dr. Harold Hamilton (chief technologist), Garrett Garrettson (president) and Russ Krapf (president).

Garrettson served as the final president and CEO of Censtor as an operating company from 1993 to 1996. Krapf then headed the technology licensing activities until they terminated.

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