Building on a History of Innovation

NC Tech Connection — Building on a History of Innovation

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Gold Rush Innovations

Nevada County has a long history of innovation, and the NC Tech Connection is drawing upon that tradition to connect and strengthen the local technology ecosystem. During the Gold Rush, our county was on the cutting edge of new technology. In 1877, Ridge Telephone Company installed the world’s first long distance telephone line, running 58 miles from French Corral to what is now Bowman Lake. A few years later, Leslie Pelton invented a water wheel — the Pelton Wheel — that became the industry standard for hydroelectric power.

Video Industry Pioneers

In more recent years, Nevada County became a hotbed of video technology, starting with Litton Engineering Laboratories, a vacuum tube manufacturing company that Charles Litton moved to Grass Valley in 1953. The company invented the foot-controlled air pressure supplier, and new burning systems such as the single jet mix oxygen-gas burner. After Litton’s buddy Dr. Donald Hare visited him in Grass Valley in 1958, Hare decided to move up and start his own company in a wing of Litton’s building. That company was the Grass Valley Group, which became a leading innovator in the video industry. Talent from the Grass Valley Group went on to found over 20 different video companies in Nevada County. Atari even had an office in Grass Valley — there is a hilarious article/video about Atari’s work in Grass Valley in the 70s here.

Today: The Tech Industry in Nevada County

NC Tech Connection was created to support this culture of innovation, creativity, and global problem solving. We are committed to helping a world-class community of highly experienced, well-connected individuals and tech businesses thrive in Nevada County. We believe we are stronger together — more about that in the next blog post.

Join the NC Tech Connection

Want to join us? If you are a technology entrepreneur, business owner, employee, community organization, or educator, we want to connect with you. First, make sure your business, talent, or organization is listed in ourDirectory. If you are interested in helping us shape the growing tech ecosystem in Nevada County, contact us at to find out how you can get involved.

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