The other day, at that small workshop on Creating, Documenting & Sharing Network Models in Edinburgh, I had the pleasure to listen to a very nice, spontaneous, and entertaining lecture by Steve Furber (a principal designer of the ARM processor, which powers all modern smart-phones). He talked about the history of hardware design in general and explained the role of the different tools for synthesizing circuits from high-level functional descriptions.
A very much recommended book that also circles around the history of hardware is The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder. And I got reminded of the almost ancient TV show Triumph of the Nerds. Both are definitely worth checking out!