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On June 16, 1911, the Tabulating Machine Company, Computing Scale Company of America and International Time Recording Company merged to form the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company later known as IBM. Its technologies included industrial time clocks, electronic tabulating machines, and commercial scales.
One hundred years later, International Business Machines has been the most successfully technology company in the world having earned more than 75,000 U.S. patents, spending more than $150 billion on research, and employing five Nobel lauriets.
In 1914, CTR made its biggest move hiring Thomas R. Watson as its president. Watson led the company through three major wars, the Great Depression, and the beginning of the Cold War. He helped the company double revenues to $9 million in his first four years and led its global expansion at a time when the country was isolationist.
Watson is probably best known for his motto at IBM: THINK. Here's his explanation:
"And we must study through reading, listening, discussing, observing and thinking. We must not neglect any one of those ways of study. The trouble with most of us is that we fall down on the latter -- thinking -- because it's hard work for people to think, And, as Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler said recently, 'all of the problems of the world could be settled easily if men were only willing to think.' "
On this page you can hear a 1915 audio recording from Watson.
One of IBM's first products was the Electronic Tabulating System, a mechanical tabulator based on punched cards which was invented by Herman Hollerith in the 1890s. His Tabulating Machine Company became part of CTR in 1911.