Among the creaters of the first commercial mouse, engineer Jack Hawley helped create the mechanical ball mouse in 1975 for the Xerox Corporation. Xerox engineers were developing the Alto workstation before personal computers were the norm. That mouse tracked and encoded the mouse's movement via a steel ball.
Ball tracking and simpler software improved on the potentiometers or expensive analog-to-digital signal converters of the earliest mouse. The original mouse that tracked with wheels was invented at SRI by Douglas Engelbardt and Bill English. Hawley is the lead inventor on a Xerox patent filed in 1973 for a mouse which used wheels to track the X and Y movements.
With licensing from Xerox, Hawley produced his own X063X mouse at his Mouse House in Berkeley. Most customers were professional architects and engineers using AutoCAD on a workstation of a mainframe computer. In advertisements, the company called itself "purveyors of fine mice since 1975," "a division of Hawley Laboratories." And boasts, "After all, we invented our first digital mouse in 1972."
In early 1983 Personal Computing magazine credited Jack Hawley as "the developer and builder of perhaps 80 percent of the mice in use" at that time.
In 1988 Hawley was working, in affiliation with Digital Equipment Corporation, on a mouse designed with two rolling feet instead of a ball because he believed it would track on any surface without the dirt accumulation problems that tracking by a ball encountered. (He filed a patent for the wheels design in 1986, Number 4,628,755.) That mouse became the round Hawley DEC mouse.
Meanwhile, when Key Tronic acquired Honeywell it acquired the Honeywell mouse, another mouse with two wheeled "feet" that was built on Hawley's design. Key Tronic marketed it under the Honeywell brand.