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Calma Company

Electrical and mechanical drafting systems


The name Calma is a compression of the first names of the founders CALvin and irMA.

One of the big three CAD companies along with Applicon and Computervision.

Calma is responsible for one of the industry’s earliest standards that is still basically in use. Back in 1971 they introduced a file format for mask layout data called Graphics Data System. Its primary use was to transfer information from one machine to another. In 1978 it went through a major revision to create the GDS II stream format. We still to this day refer to mask data as being GDS II.

Founded by Calvin Hefte, Ron Cone and Jim Lambert in 1964

Calma was purchased by United Telecommunications in 1978 for approximately $19M in stock. United Tele later became Sprint.

GE struggled with it and never managed to make a profit. GE also acquired Tegas from CGIS division of Communications Satalite Corp (ComSAT) for $14M.

The ECAD portion was sold to Valid in 1988 for about $3M. Mechanical and drafting assets went to Prime Computers. Two years later, they sold it to GE for $110M with an additional $60M contingent on profits over 5 years.

  • HQ: Sunnyvale, CA, USA
  • Known for: GDS II
  • Other names: Calma
  • Type: Company
  • Type: Company