While the company was founded in 1911 as CTR, Computer Tabulating Recording Company, the technological roots go quite a bit deeper than that. In 1885, Julius E. Pitrap patented a computing scale. Alexander Dey invented a dial recorder in 1888, and a year later Herman Hollerith patented the Electric Tabulating Machine. Willard Bundy invented a time clock for employers. It wasnâ€™t until 1911, that these various inventors came together and merged to become CTR. They were based in New York even at that time, and had 1,300 employees. They were making and manufacturing a variety of different items including everything from slicers for meat and cheese to commercial scales. They finally changed their name to IBM in 1924.
The company grew and continued to do well. Their tabulating machines continued to be very popular all the way through the 1930s. One of their biggest clients at that time was actually the US government, who were attempting to maintain employment records for tens of millions of people due to the Social Security Act. For a time during WWII, the company actually did their part for the war effort by manufacturing a number of small arms for the Americans. They made both the Browning Automatic Rifle as well as the M1 Carbine, two weapons that saw a lot of action during the war. The company even provided translation services during the trials at Nuremberg.
In 1956, Arthur L. Samuel created an IBM 704 to play checkers. This was the first machine capable of primitive self learning, as it was able to â€œlearnâ€ from the mistakes that it made. A year later, IBM created FORTRAN, a scientific programming language. Through the years, the company went on to create a wide range of different types of machines and equipment for a number of fields, and that commitment to innovation and making the world a better place continues.