Patrick J. Hanratty

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Patrick J. Hanratty
Residence United States
Fields computer science
Institutions General Electric, General Motors Research Laboratories, Manufacturing and Consulting Services
Alma mater University of California, Irvine
Known for computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing
Spouse Sandra

Patrick J. Hanratty is an American computer scientist and businessperson who is known as the "Father of CAD/CAM"[1][2][3]computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing. As of 2013 he is President and CEO of Manufacturing and Consulting Services (MCS) of Scottsdale, Arizona, a company he founded.[1][2] According to the University of California in 2012, industry analysts think that "70 percent of all 3-D mechanical CAD/CAM systems available today trace their roots back to Hanratty’s original code".[1][4][Note 1]

Early career[edit]

Hanratty earned a PhD from the University of California, Irvine.[1] He worked for General Electric, where in 1957 he wrote Pronto, an early commercial numerical control programming language. Then he moved in 1961 to General Motors Research Laboratories where he helped to develop DAC, (Design Automated by Computer).[3]

Banking standard[edit]

Around the mid-1950s Hanratty and a team from the Stanford Research Institute using equipment built by the General Electric Computer Laboratory developed standardized machine-readable characters for use on bank checks. Adopted by the American Bankers Association in 1958, their characters are still in use and magnetic ink character recognition (MICR) and the E-13B font became standard in the industry.[3][5]


In 1970 he founded his own company, where he learned valuable lessons. Hanratty later said, "Never generate anything closely coupled to a specific architecture. And make sure you keep things open to communicate with other systems, even your competitors." The business, called ICS, failed because its product, a CAD/CAM drafting system, was tied to a computer that very few people had available, and because its product was written in TPL, an unfamiliar language for most people.

In 1971 Hanratty founded Manufacturing and Consulting Services (MCS), applying what he had learned at ICS. All the software was written in Fortran and it ran on almost any computer. His product was named Automated Drafting and Machining (ADAM), later AD-2000, and still later Anvil-4000. This package was very successful.[3]

Among well-known customers of MCS were Computervision who licensed Adam for CADDS, Gerber Scientific for IDS 3, and McDonnell Douglas who licensed it for Unigraphics. Several well-known CAD/CAM packages were developed from MCS products. Among them were Auto-Grapl, Autosnap 3D, Anvil-5000, and Intelligent Modeler.[3]

Auto-Grapl in particular demonstrates what Hanratty had learned: "the computer writes the program for you".[3]

Personal life[edit]

Hanratty is married to Sandra and they have 13 grandchildren. He is a gym enthusiast who attends three mornings per week.[citation needed] He has cut opals and enjoys his hobby of prospecting for gold.[1]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Professor Wayne Carlson in his course at Ohio State University traces this statistic to the MCS website which is no longer available.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Patrick Hanratty spotlight". The Regents of the University of California. October 18, 2012. Retrieved March 17, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "1. CAD software history, 1960s". CADAZZ. Retrieved March 17, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "The CAD/CAM Hall of Fame". American Machinist. Penton Media. November 1, 1998. Retrieved March 16, 2013. 
  4. ^ Carlson, Wayne (professor) (Winter 2007). "A Critical History of Computer Graphics and Animation". Ohio State University. Retrieved March 20, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Generic MICR Fundamentals Guide" (PDF). Xerox. p. 12. Retrieved March 17, 2013.