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Select IndividualAnthony J. AdducciKurt AmplatzEarl E. BakkenPerry L. Blackshear, Jr.Norman DannRichard DeWallSandra HollenhorstThomas E. HolloranC. Walton LilliheiRonald A. MatricariaPatricia NeumanDemetre M. NicoloffGerald TimmManuel VillafañaWinston R. WallinGeorge Waters

Earl E. Bakken

Interview:
7½ hours,
December 19, 1995 (Conversazione)
audio—January 10, 1997, August 28, 1997, September 11, 1997, February 1, 1998
video—May 3, 1999; August 28, 2000,
Kiholo Bay, Hawaii; Fridley, Minnesota; Minneapolis, Minnesota
Interviewer: David Rhees

Interview Excerpt:
Audio MP3 File | Excerpt Transcript

Interview 2 Excerpt:
Audio MP3 File | Excerpt Transcript

Interview 3 Excerpt:
Audio MP3 File | Excerpt Transcript

Interview 4 Excerpt:
Audio MP3 File | Excerpt Transcript

Subjects Discussed: December 19, 1995 (Conversazione)—One in a series of informal talks on the medical device industry sponsored by the Bakken Library and Museum.

January 10, 1997—Description of first battery operated pacemaker; production model; changes and improvements to the model; prototype; design features; how it was worn; internal workings; price; competition; assistance.

August 28, 1997—Childhood fascination with electricity; influence of Frankenstein movie; science fiction; devices he built as a child; using talent to help others; influential magazines; teaching in the Air Corps; college experiences; leadership opportunities; interest in research; science teachers; radiotelephone license; Medtronic journal-club to learn medical terminology; how Medtronic began.

September 11, 1997—More on pacemaker design—heart fibrillation; voltage divider circuit; vacuum tube devices; why he used a transistor in the first battery operated pacemaker; circuit for the pacemaker; reliability of transistors; batteries; epoxy resin; transformers; special therapeutic devices; “ready, fire, aim” philosophy.

February 1, 1998—Medtronic 5800 pacemaker; patent; implantable pacemakers; differing doctor response to internal and external pacemakers; magnitude of health improvement with pacemaker use; public response; different ways to show output; why the first battery operated pacemaker was developed; color and purpose of blinking light; discussion of different models.

Video—May 3, 1999—Bakken addresses a group of students assembled at the Bakken Library and Museum. A video log is available in the Oral History Office.

August 28, 2000—Bakken’s interest in electricity and Frankenstein; Frankenstein story as inspiration and social commentary; influence of mother and teachers; building robots; founding of, educational programs of, and future plans, hopes and dreams for the Bakken Library and Museum. A video log is available in the Oral History Office.

Sound Recordings:
User copies: 3 60-minute cassettes
(No tape for 1/10/1997 interview)

8/28/2000 video interview
Audio Dub: 1 90 minute cassette
(Audio from Video interview)

Conversazione—December 19, 1995
Audio Dub: 1 90-minute cassette
(Audio from Video interview)
(Video available at The Bakken Library and Museum)

Original: 3 60-minute cassettes
(No tape for 1/10/1997 interview)

Video Recordings:
User copies:
1 90 minute VHS tape
1 120 minute VHS tape
1 30 minute VHS tape with time code window burn
2 60 minute VHS tape with time code window burn
1 120 minute VHS tape with time code window burn

Restrictions on Use: None

Transcript: 83 pages - includes 1/10/1997 interview

Accession Number: AV 2001.104.3

 

Biographical Information

Earl E. Bakken was born and educated in Minnesota. He started Medtronic Inc. and has developed many medical devices including the first battery operated pacemaker and one of the first implantable pacemakers. He founded the Bakken Library and Museum in Minneapolis.

Earl E. Bakken