Sunday, August 1, 2021

History of International Business Machines Corporation

In 1911 IBM was first incorporated in New York as the Computing-Tabulating-Recoding Company in a consolidation of three smaller companies that made punch-card tabulators and other office products.

The company’s history, however, can be traced back to 1890, when the United States was receiving waves of immigrants. To meet the needs of measuring population the US Census Bureau sponsored a contest to find the most efficient means of tabulating census data.
The contest was won by German immigrant and Census Bureau statistician, Herman Hollerith. Hollerith formed the Punch Card Tabulating Machine Co. in 1896. In 1911 Hollerith’s company merged with Computing Scale Co. of America and International Time Recording Co. to create the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR). The merger was built by noted lender Charles Flint, and the new organization is based in New York City and has 1,300 employees.

The company focused on products such as accounting and calculating machines, time recorders for businesses and mechanical punch card systems.

In the beginning the company operated in New York City only. Within a short period of time, however, it quickly expanded its office and plants to other parts of New York State, Washington, DC, Ohio, Michigan and Toronto, Canada.

Thomas J. Watson Sr. joins CTR in 1914 and became the president of the company within eleven months. Under his leadership the company transforms it into a growing leader of innovation and technology and a prototype for the newly emergent multinational corporation.

At that time the company focused on producing large scales custom built tabulating solutions for businesses. In the 1920s and 1930s IBM began its growth into a household name.

Within ten years Watson had expanded the company’s business operations to Europe, South America, Asia and Australia and in 1924 the company was renamed International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) to reflect the firm’s worldwide expansion.

In 1943 the company developed the first electronic computing machine, the Vacuum Tube Multiplier and this led to the 1944 Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator, or the “Mark I,” which IBM developed along with Harvard. It was used by the Navy to calculate gun trajectories.

IBM refers to the decades between 1939 and 1963 as the ‘Era of Innovation’. During this period the company’s product line expanded significantly. During World War II, IBM helped construct several high-speed electromechanical calculators that were the precursors of electronic computers.

In 1964 IBM revolutionized the industry by bringing out the first comprehensive family of computers (the System/360) it caused many of their competitors to either merge or go bankrupt, leaving IBM in an even more dominant position.

In 1985 IBM introduced local area networks (LAN), which permitted PC users to exchange information and share printers and files within a building or complex.

In 1993 Louis V. Gerstner, Jr, a former executive at American Express, Nabisco and McKinsey & Co., joined IBM as CEO. Gerstner emphasized the need to provide integrated solutions for the company’s customers.
History of International Business Machines Corporation

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