Super Man On The Move

(Excerpt from the Chapter 6 of the Book)

In 1964, Ron left Honeywell, taking a position as Director of Engineering with Ultronics Systems Corp., which later was acquired by GT&E Financial Data Services. He was flying all over the country and averaging a half a million miles a year. He was employed by GT&E until 1968, during which time he invented the Credit Card Validity Checking System. This invention was awarded a United States Patent. The patent is Validity Checking System. The patent can be viewed at Insert number 3465289.I recognized that I had an opportunity. Having the self-confidence to meet the challenge and knowing my strengths, I moved forward with a positive, “can do” attitude.GT&E had a large client, who was in the retail business. Every month, the credit card companies gave all retailers a list of poor credit risks, which was comprised of thousands of credit card account numbers. When a customer came to pay for their purchase, the salesperson had to go through the list, to see if the customer’s credit card number appeared. The process was very time consuming, especially at holiday time.


copy-credit-card-stripRon felt that the problem could be solved with a simple process. He would store all of the credit risk account numbers in a memory device and place a keypad, where the salesperson could key in the account number. If the memory device did not flag the customer’s account number, the account was fine. To speed up the process, he felt that “smarts” could be placed into the plastic credit card. He tried placing coded holes in the card, which would represent the credit card account number.Then, he discovered a better idea. Tape recorders were relatively new at that time. If he would paste a piece of magnetic tape on the back of the card and record the account number onto the tape, it could be placed into a small tape reader and be sent to the memory device to be read. It worked fine, so he went to a company that manufactured plastic credit cards and asked if they could impregnate a magnetic material on the back of the credit cards. They said it was possible. Thus, came the Validity Checking System that is used for checking the validity of credit cards.

Every problem can be solved, by reducing it to a simple, logical form that is understandable.