The monolith we know today as IBM got its start this week in 1911 when the forward-thinking Charles R. Flint merged the International Time Recording Company, Computing Scale Company, and the Tabulating Machine Company—all “computing and tabulating enterprises”—into the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company, or C-T-R. With 1,300 employees and revenue “in excess of $950,000,” C-T-R was a sizable enterprise from day one. Rapid change in size and scope following World War I led to C-T-R’s name change in 1924, when it became the International Business Machines Corporation, or IBM.
The IBM history is vast and rich. Its punch cards made implementation of Social Security possible in the 1930s. The IBM System/360 introduced the revolutionary idea of compatibility to the marketplace. IBM’s personal computers—outfitted with Intel and Microsoft technology—created the PC universe we live in today. So, in the interest of space, we’ll leave you with a fascinating tidbit from the IBM archives: the IBM corporate songbook.
Reading this 1937 edition of Songs of the IBM is like stepping back in time. The last page offers up “Selling I.B.M.,” set to the tune of “Singing in the Rain”:
Selling I. B. M., we’re selling I. B. M.,
What a glorious feeling, the world is our friend,
We’re Watson's great crew, we’re loyal and true;
We’re proud of our job and we never feel blue.
We sell our whole line, we’re there every time,
To chase away gloom with our products so fine,
We’re always in trim, we work with a vim,
We’re selling, just selling, I. B. M.
Tech Time Warp is a weekly feature that looks back at interesting moments and milestones in tech history.