The BULL headquarters (from 1930 to 1991) was also the location of the main
manufacturing plant between 1930 and 1960. The 94, avenue Gambetta
property was rented to Garage Moderne Gambetta in 1930 and bought by Compagnie des
Machines Bull in 1947-1948.
Several buildings in near blocks (92-92bis avenue Gambetta, 25-27 impasse du Surmelin, 19bis impasse du Progrès) were acquired in April 1941. Other acquisitions in the same area (avenue Gambetta west side, rue Haxo, rue Ernest-Lefèvre, rue Manouchian) took place until 1970.
The last system put in production in Gambetta was the Gamma 10 until 196x
Divestitures started in 1970s. The headquarters was transferred in avenue de Malakoff in 1980s and the property sold to a real estate company. Bull rented back a part for software development from 1988 to the end of 1993. Gambetta premises are now occupied by the Rectorat of the Académie de Paris (Ministère de l'Education Nationale)
A plant (44, rue Général Leclerc) in the Seine valley west of Paris. It was a mechanical plant owned by a company "Papa et Delorme" that subcontract work for Bull. Manufacturing started in 1955. The plant was acquired by Bull as "AMA Ateliers de Montages des Andelys".
Manufacturing stops in April 1963. The plant was transferred to SEA the other French computer manufacturer of that time, later merged into CII.
Law buffs might be interested by the fact that the empty shell company AMA was juridically transformed into SIBGE (in 1964) and into Sté Honeywell-Bull in 1972.
That plant (125 rue de la Marre) belong also to "Papa et Delorme". In 1958, it was acquired by Compagnie des Machines Bull as "Société des Ateliers Mécaniques et Electriques de Vendôme".
The Vendôme plant was exclusively devoted to small relays manufacturing for Bull card equipments. When this market faded, attempts were made to find other outlets (external and internal -see Programmateur Numérique"-) but eventually failed. The plant was sold in June 1964.
Saint-Quentin is a small town mid way to Belgium from Paris. There were many mechanical plants in this town. One of them "Compagnie Française de Machines-Outils de Précision MOPCO" (route de Chaussy) was acquired by Bull as "Ateliers de Précision de Saint-Quentin" and manufactured mechanical parts for card equipments. The plant closed in August 1965.
The Mouy plant, located west of Paris; manufactured equipments for Bull Series 150 from 1956 to 1961. Its production was then transferred to Belfort and Angers.
The Lyon's plant was the main Compagnie des Machines Bull plant in the 1941-1947 period. It had been created by CMB in 1940.
Its production specialized progressively in punched cards sorters.
The plant was closed in 1967 and production of sorters was transferred in Amsterdam and Belfort (where personnel was relocated).
Belfort plant was acquired in 1960 from the textile manufacturer Dolfuss-Mieg.
In May 1961, the plant began the production of tabulators. In the 1970s the main activity were impact printers (I51, I41, PR71, PR46...). Card readers were produced under Honeywell license and a small card reader CR300 -helping for transitioning to direct data entry- was also designed and manufactured.
After the CII merger in 1975, the open reel 6250 bpi GCR tape drives PENA30 designed in Les Clayes were produced in Belfort as well as the DPS-7 tape controller.
Belfort started the production of small disks in the late 1970s from a Saint-Ouen design for the Level-61. The transfer of CII technology for disks was not so successful and Belfort went out from the disc business in 1987.
Using the know-how built from magnetic drums and magnetic ink printers, Belfort engineering started the design of non-impact printers introduced as main frame line printers (including IBM) starting in 1981. The code name of Mathilde is associated to that line of printers sold during the 1990s. In 1988, Bull prepared a spin-off by creating an autonomous division that will become Nipson, a Bull subsidiary, in 1991.
The competence of Belfort work force was also used for Terminals manufacturing. With the decrease of microcomputers in the late 1998s, the production of VIP display terminals was transferred in Villeneuve d'Asq in 1988.
In 1991, Belfort plant was dismantled into several entities, noticeably Nipson and Serrib (the latter committed into repairing peripheral hardware mainly for Bull). Those subsidiaries were finally divested from Bull.
In 1960, Compagnie des Machines Bull decided that it needed a brand new plant essentially devoted to electronic computers manufacturing, noticeably the Gamma 3 ambitious Gamma 60. A subsidiary, Bull-Anjou was created July, 11th 1960.
Angers was attractive to Bull by the existence of an electronic school at the Institut Catholique , the opportunity to attract department and city subsidies, and the good workforce spirit in this area.
In 1961, a temporary facility was opened at Brisepotières plant manufacturing Gamma 60's parts and assembling Gamma 3.
In 1962, Manufacturing was transferred avenue Patton facility what was officially inaugurated in May 1963.
In January 1963, the manufacturing, under RCA license, of the Gamma 30 had
After GE's take-over the Angers plant started manufacturing the GE-400, a production that was pursued until September 1971.
In 1971, Angers started the production of Honeywell's H-3200. As the product was near its end of life, the sales of which were disappointing. In 1973, Angers was involved in Level-64 prototypes manufacturing.
Angers built also Level-6 boards for an assembly at the Joué-les-Tours plant.
In 1978, CII-HB decided to use the new micro packaging
technology for the DPS-7.
Silicon wafers bought from the silicon founder had to be processed into computer boards
using a quite automated and expensive machinery. To help manufacturing to resolve the
related problems, the engineering team that developed the process in Saint-Ouen, in
relation with ex-GE engineers, was transferred in Angers to form an engineering
division under Christian Joly there.
That division also developed a lower model of DPS-7 based on the Level 64 logic design.
However, in 1979, Angers, then headed by Robert Audoin, encountered logistics problems for Level-64 DPS, due to a surge of sales related to price cuts. DPS-7 was also somewhat delayed by engineering problems. In August 1980, Francis Ackerman was put in charge of Angers plant until he was succeeded by Jean Antier who has managed the production of 3081 computers at Montpellier IBM's plant. he will manage Angers and Joué les Tours until 1987.
In October 1981, the production line of DPS/7 started to use copper in place of gold in the process of manufacturing micropackaged substrates. This cost conscious decision has led to reliability problems in 1982 that plagued the initial production of DPS/7.
The spare capacity of Angers was used for PCs board manufacturing in 1983-1986.
In 1986, after only 5 years of production, the micro packaging lines had to be shut down with the introduction of DPS-7000 CMOS VLSI technology.
In the early 1990s, a part of the facility was closed, bought back by the Angers municipality and leased back to NEC-Packard-Bell for PC manufacturing.
In 1993, came a major reorganization separating the plant and its personnel in two entities "Bull electronics Europe" specialized in printed boards manufacturing for Bull and external assemblers (noticeably Packard-Bell) and Bull Systems Industry (assembling Bull's DPS-7000 and Unix Escala systems).
The printed boards business (Bull Circuits Services BCS initially renamed Maine Circuits Imprimés) was finally divested in 2000, while Bull Electronics Angers was sold to Advance Cable Technologies. Bull keeps a plant performing the assembling and the integration of servers.
Joué les Tours
The plant was of Joué, in Tours suburbs, was acquired in 1981 as an assembly plant for level-6. It was part of EIAJLT Etablissement Industriel d'Angers Joué les Tours. The Level-6 printed circuits boards manufacturing was made in the PCB line in Angers. Joué did IC components mounting and cabinet assembling.
In September 1991, the 400 persons plant was closed down and the DPS-6 manufacturing transferred in Angers and in Boston.
Saint-Ouen, in the Paris northern suburbs, was initially a manufacturing plant off-loading the production and refurbishment of electromechanical systems (tabulators) from Gambetta. In the 1960s the role of the plant was switched to engineering before finally devoted to general services (computing centers, support).
SEA plant where design and manufacturing of CAB-500 and CAB-1500 took place. CAB-500 was also produced in Schneider-Westinghouse plant of Puteaux.
Les Clayes sous Bois
Les Clayes-sous-Bois are located in the Paris west suburban area and was surrounded by agricultural fields, some of which having be acquired for expanding the Bull's facility there. The plant was built for the CII Compagnie Industrielle pour l'Informatique as part of Plan Calcul.
Acquired by Honeywell-Bull in 1975, manufacturing activities were definitively closed and the site became progressively the main Bull's research and development facility. The old facility built on North side for CII in the 1960s was vacated by Groupe Bull in the late 1990s and all the activity was concentrated in two buildings on the South side. Those buildings were erected respectively in the late 1970s and in the late 1980s.
A manufacturing plant built under Plan Calcul for manufacturing CII electronic computers.
It was excluded from the merger into CII-Honeywell-Bull in 1975 and was transferred to Thomson. It continued for a while to produce Iris computers for CII-HB as a subcontractor.
Transac owned a plant in the Lille area. After the Bull absorption of Transac in 1983, this plant was also used for Micral microcomputers assembling. The activities were transferred in 1985 into the neighboring new plant of Villeneuve d'Asq.
A new plant in Lille vicinity decided in 1983 and operational in 1984. It was designed for microcomputer assembling and distributing.
The plant was closed down in 1994 and sold as a distribution center for sporting wear Decathlon.
In the north of Grenoble, a SEMS plant manufactured Mitra, Solar and SM-90 minicomputers. The plant was transferred to Thomson in 1988.
Echirolles was the SEMS major site in Grenoble area. After taking back Bull-SEMS minicomputers assembling after Crolles closure, it became in the 1990s a pure R&D center focused on UNIX software development and support of Pregnana engineering.
Bull CP-8 smart cards and related equipments were produced in Trappes in the West-South-West of Paris. The plant was transferred to Oberthur, when Bull released to that company the manufacturing of cards in 1991.
Cassis was a plant installed in the Mediterranean coast east of Marseilles by SIAB, a joint venture by Bull and Olivetti for assembling ATM banking equipments.
Telesincro, a Spanish company founded in 1962 by Inisel, an agency of the government, had a Display terminal plant in which Bull got a stake and manufactured parts for a final assembly in Belfort and Villeneuve d'Asq.
Heppenheim in Germany was the main peripheral plant of Honeywell in Europe. After the GE merger, it was transferred to Honeywell-Bull to produce tape and discs. When Honeywell and Control Data established their common venture MPI, Honeywell-Bull took a 10% share in MPI by transferring the property of Heppenheim's plant to MPI.
The Phoenix plant located on the Highway, at what was in the 1960s the northern part of the city was built for hosting the manufacturing part of the Computer Department of General Electric. It has the being transferred in 1970 to Honeywell and in 1985 to Honeywell Bull, then Bull. After the transfer of manufacturing to the Boston area, the Bull's engineering and support has been gathered in the most recent premises South of the former plant area.
General Electric built a plant in Oklahoma City, OKlahoma , having in mind military products. The decrease of military spending in the early 1960s lead to reorient the plant towards civilian goods. GE decided to off-load the production of peripherals (tapes and discs) from Phoenix. Towards the end of 1960s, the design of GE new discs was in jeopardy. The plant was transferred to Honeywell in 1970. It produced Honeywell-designed tapes and discs and became the main Honeywell peripheral plant (the production from Massachusetts plants being progressively transferred here -and to Belfort-). When Honeywell decided to merge its peripheral business with Control Data's one the Oklahoma plant was transferred to the common venture MPI Magnetic Peripherals Inc. The peripheral engineering was transferred in Minnesota and the plant became reserved for production. It was eventually sold to Seagate.
rest of World
Bangalore was the location of PSI Bull,
Belo Horizonte (Brasil)
The manufacturing plant of ABC is located in Belo Horizonte
only the plants where products developed for Bull and Honeywell by NEC are listed here
Fuchu plant (located 30 km West of Tokyo) was the main historic plant of NEC, with several lines of manufacturing. It also gathers a relatively large amount of engineers involved in the design of mainframe computers, and part of the software design.
Kofu plant was built during the early 1980s in Kofu prefecture 60 km West of Tokyo to assemble main-frames ACOS systems for NEC usage and for Honeywell and Bull usage.
Ibaraki plant (in Ibaraki pefecture North of Tokyo) was during the 1980 building subassembly of main-frames systems, assembly of ACOS2 and manufacturing of discs drives. The plant was eventually divested in 2001.
Revision : 13 juin 2002.