Author Archives: jgcurtis

WOM Contest Text Revealed



The WOM Contest brochure links are super-readable in the WOM Contest page. The three links for the Contest brochure are in high resolution. Since the originals are hard to find if at all, now is the first time in 41years the vast unwashed multitude can easily see and read what we thought was so funny.


I suspect very few people know about this “Not Quite a Signetics product”. The inventor of the term surely was the late Jerry Lawson in about 1969. Larry should have been a standup comedian because he was ON most of the time. Joking, laughing and clapping his hands. He was a big guy, six foot plus.  He was in the video game business from its inception and was an expert on this subject and most anything else electronic, fascinated with everything electronic from when he was a boy..

Oh, almost forgot the SCROM. the Scratchable Read-Only-Memory.  Larry was head of a Signetics project to develop what later was labeled the Signetics 8223 PROM, a “Programmable Read-Only Memory“. This was a 32 X 8  (32 bytes of 8 bits wide) ROM that you programmed with a PROM Programmer*. The little PROM served as a small amount of non-volatile data storage. It was used in teletype machines, power plants and many other systems needing a small, permanent data storage. In fact, the cellular phone was birthing about then and eventually used the Signetics 8223 (and other similar devices) for storage of the phone number and other data pertinent to a particular phone. In cellular circles, it was now called a NAM (Number Assignment Module) and many were produced, programmed and placed in cell phones until they were designed out when EPROMs (Eraseable Programmable Read Only Memories) arrived. They held much more non-volatile storage, were tiny and could store the phone’s operating system, the NAM information and whatever else was needed.

Again, I digress. The 8223 contained 256 fuseable links which could be burned open to produce either a one or a zero binary bit. The fuse had to be developed whereas the rest of the integrated circuit was standard. Until the fuse (and a programmer) was developed, a technician could program a prototype part by scratching the fuse links open manually with a pick. It was a big job, but the part was useable for prospective customers to use in their prototypes. Jerry called it a SCROM and I believe it was conceived in his fertile brain. And most probably the moniker WOM too. It was just there one day.  ( I am not sure of the exact period when Jerry was employed by Signetics and if he was there at the WOM conception.)

Jerry passed on in April, 2011, at the age of 70, a genuine loss. I wish he could be here to enjoy the pureification of the WOM’s history. That would be a kick. I’ll find an article on him and link here.

*I designed a programmer (PR23) for the 8223 and left Signetics in 1969 to start a small company to produce it (Curtis Electro Devices, Inc.). But that’s another story.

Odds and Ends

I think I have answered all your comments. I read them all and try to acknowledge.

I have received copy on both Umac 606 and 1Z2Z. It looks like I was using the 606 to refresh my early memory. There are close to exact quotes. The melted tube stuck in my brain more than the one with the toilet plunger anode. I’ll have to adjust that narrative. I have a copy of the 1Z2Z coming from Canada and I may have one good enough for the 606. You should see these added to the appropriate page in a few days. I guess I can place in a post too.

I noticed Wikipedia entries’ reference (7), as of yesterday, still contained counterfeit artwork for the 25120 WOM. Compare with my scan of a 42 year old original and the differences are immediately obvious and in large quantity. Moved paragraphs, subscripts and superscripts mixed, typos (Kana vs. Kane in footnote), totally blown lower right graph on reverse. I first noticed two different spot colors on the front page. The Signetics logo is different also. The irony is, it copies the copyright notice. Someone pulled a fast one, apparently lacking a suitable original.  This is discussed with links in the “Hoax within a Host” page of this blog. I contacted the Wikipedia gentleman cleaning the “Write-Only Memory” entry via a comment to his comment.



Wikipedia Now Corrected

Wikipedia has corrected the “Write-Only Memory (Joke), the world is right again.

I received a ton of comments that will take a while to read and sort and answer. I see some of you have found the EIMAC data sheet. I’ll be anxious to see again..

Have patience and thanks much for the contributions, I’m overwhelmed.

P.S. Read the data sheet for the UMAC 606, sister product to the 1Z2Z I referenced.  You will see the similar, sometimes exact, humor. Still need 1Z2Z data sheet.


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