100 years of IBM innovation
June 16th, 2011
10:43 AM ET

IBM celebrates 100th birthday

Today marks the 100th birthday of IBM, which was founded on June 16, 1911, in New York City as the awkwardly named Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company. (It was renamed International Business Machines in 1924.)

Over the decades, Big Blue, as the company is nicknamed, has reinvented itself many times, offering everything from calculators to electric typewriters to desktop computers to software to consulting services. By the mid-20th century, IBM was an icon of American business whose clean-cut employees in dark suits followed the mantra “Think,” a favorite slogan of longtime leader Thomas J. Watson.

Despite a somewhat stodgy reputation in recent years, IBM holds more patents than any other U.S.-based technology company and has a long history of pioneering technological innovations. IBM research has yielded the computerized airline reservation system, the magnetic strip on your credit cards, the ATM, the UPC bar code and the excimer laser used in LASIK eye surgery. IBM computers also helped power the Apollo moon landing in 1969.

The above gallery showcases some of the highlights of the company’s 100 years, from a 50-foot-long calculator to Watson, the computer that beat two human opponents on “Jeopardy!”

CNNMoney has a story tracing IBM’s history and impact on American business, along with a gallery of 5 groundbreaking inventions that IBM cast aside. Our friends at Fortune also take a look at five things every kind of tech CEO - from Page to Zuckerberg - can learn from Big Blue.

CNNMoney: Did you know IBM invented this ... ?

And our corporate partners at Time.com explore how IBM produced sustained and unlikely success by adapting to change.

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Filed under: IBM • Technology
soundoff (192 Responses)
  1. Cathy

    To me it seems that IBM is like Apple. They adapt quickly to the times and advancing technology. Although in a different field, what are Sears and K-Mart doing to compete with Wal-Mart, the Micro-Soft of retail stores? Will Sears and K-Mart be here in 10 years? Why is Circuit City gone?

    June 16, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Nam

      Comparing ibm to apple proves how little you umderstand computers. Ibm actualy inovates and creates technology, where as apple steals ideas from everyone else and tells u they are innovative. Apple also specifically uses slave labor and does not participate in philanthropy evem though they are the most wealthy tech company in the world. IBM is so far above and beyond anything that is apple its not even fathomable for the average joe such as yourself.

      June 16, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Derek Prospero

      @Nam: Seriously, relax. Cathy meant no harm, and therefore there is no reason to insult her just because you're a rabid Apple-hater.

      June 16, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • K-attorney

      "IBM and the Holocaust" by Edwin Black

      June 16, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. elections are rigged

    "What are you doing, Dave"?

    June 16, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • JJinCVistaCA

      That should be: "Just what do you think you're doing, Dave?"

      June 16, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Majestic_Lizard

    IBM also created the Hollerith tabulation system to efficiently murder several million innocent people during World War II for the Nazis. Don't believe me? Here is a picture of Thomas Watson (ITM Founder) with Hitler. http://cdn2.iofferphoto.com/img/item/170/990/769/bsVaCAgJvj5BJA1.jpg

    June 16, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Nam

      The christians murdered as many if not more innocent people than the nazis. Christianity now rules the world. so nazis and christians are basically the same, they wanted to dominate the world b destroying other humams. Computers are just tools, good job trying to drag a great man down.

      June 16, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • I put the Holla in Hollerith

      Yes, because people don't kill people, TABULATING SYSTEMS DO. *sigh*

      June 16, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Majestic_Lizard is dead on... http://www.ibmandtheholocaust.com has all the details

      June 16, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Mitch

      Yes, the number tattoo matched the card pile with the targeted victim's information. Before rounding up the victims, the local records including houses of worship were entered onto cards making the selection quicker to prevent escapes.

      June 16, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Billy

      Henry Ford of Ford Motor Co, was completely anti-semetic and greatly supported the Nazis. Google "International Jew Henry Ford".

      June 16, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • thomas

      You are one misinformed person, Hitler killed 7 million +Jews in concentration camps and another 10 million Polish and Russian civilians. We wont even add in the several million or so French, Belgian or Danish civilians his Nazi goons killed. And you want to tell me that Christians have killed millions upon millions of people??? WHO? Even if you want to paint the Crusades as offensive, WHICH THEY WEREN'T, Islam had conquered over 500 cities and invaded half of Europe before Christian Europe responded, heck they were occupying Spain and half of France for goodness sake. STUDY your history before you make lame statements. Your blinded by hate !!!

      June 16, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deep North

      Would Hitler have stopped if he could not have counted the dead? I think not!

      June 16, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • first last

      To be absolutely fair (and sane), Thomas Watson probably had no clue what was going on at the time. A very select few did.

      June 16, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sun5150

    Seems odd that this company is celebrated even as the world convicts a 97 year old man for being a part of the very crimes that IBM helped perpetrate. Money covers blood though .... right?

    June 16, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  5. remy730

    Congrats to ibm on hitting the century mark.

    June 16, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  6. lacoaster

    My best wishes and heart felt thank you to everyone at IBM. As a Linux user, I can't thank you enough. Wish you all success and happiness. Thank you for your awesome support and for always being there for the community.

    June 16, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  7. Nitin Singhal

    IBM celebrates 100 years !

    June 16, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  8. Steve

    I have worked for IBM on three different occasions, twice as a contractor and once full time. They are great at layoffs and outsourcing and promoting people to management positions who have no people skills. I would NEVER work for them again.

    June 16, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • first last

      Why did you work for them the 2nd and 3rd times, and what has changed now? Just so that we believe you.

      June 16, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ron

    IBM was not founded in NYC, it originally began 18 miles upstate in Endicott, NY by Thomas Watson and was originally the Bundy Computing Meat Scale company. After a merger It then became International Time Recorder Company before it moved to it's current Armonk, NY headquarters as IBM.

    June 16, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • JJinCVistaCA

      @Ron... You might want to think about citing your sources....

      June 16, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aimee

      Sure did... growing up off of Watson Blvd (and the toxic plume), I remember the days when IBM ruled Endicott! Credit unions, field days, golf clubs... and everyone worked there (my father included). My grandparents even had a bar right across the street just for the employees! It's sad now to see all the buildings run down and to remember what used to be. Although IBM may not have been the greatest company, it was a HUGE employer of the Greater Binghamton area for quite a long time! Happy memories for me!

      June 16, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheBigGiantHead

      @JJinCVistaCA . . . http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/exhibits/endicott/endicott_intro.html

      June 16, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Night Wolf

    Also the Holocaust, you forgot that one

    June 16, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Nam

      Dont you mean the crusades? Oh wait. Christians are the good guys.

      June 16, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Skeptic

      You're correct. IBM computers helped the Nazis organize the Holocaust.

      Oh businesses and their hearts of gold!

      June 16, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Nam

      I bet ibm techmology is usedto keep track of prisoners and executions in the united states, its also used by our military who murder thousands of pepple per year

      June 16, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Cognos

    What the article doesn't mention is to celebrate our 100th anniversary, we are donating man power (in technical and no technical fields) all around the world and 12 million dollars in donations to various charities 🙂

    June 16, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Cognos

      ^non for the spelling police. 😉

      June 16, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jason


    June 16, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  13. DOUG

    Innovation in America built by china.

    June 16, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  14. Bill Myers, Shoreham NY

    One of my first assignments as a college intern was with IBM. That and their technology launched me on a computer career that provided me with a bountiful life and the ability to raise a loving family in a comfortable, safe lifestyle. I have learned many systems, but I owe IBM a great deal. "THINK" was a motto of theirs I have lived by for decades. Thanks IBM.

    June 16, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  15. hih

    I just want to know if they pay their taxes in the US

    June 16, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
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