In the 1880s, various technologies came into existence that would form part of IBM’s predecessor company. Julius E. Pitrat patented the computing scale in 1885; Alexander Dey invented the dial recorder in 1889, Herman Hollerith patented the Electric Tabulating Machine and Willard Bundy invented a time clock to record a worker’s arrival and departure time on a paper tape. On June 16, 1911, these technologies and their respective companies were merged by Charles Ranlett Flint to form the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (C-T-R). The New York City-based company had 1,300 employees. It manufactured and sold machinery ranging from commercial scales and industrial time recorders to meat and cheese slicers, along with tabulators and punched cards.
Eventually The company focused on providing large-scale, custom-built tabulating solutions for businesses, leaving the market for small office products to others and expanded to Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia. In 1924, C-T-R was renamed the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), citing the need to align its name with the “growth and extension of its activities”. IBM is also known as “Big Blue” after the color of its logo. The company has made everything from mainframes to personal computers and has been immensely successful selling business computers.
In 2012, Fortune ranked IBM the No. 2 largest U.S. firm in terms of number of employees (435,000 worldwide), the No. 4 largest in terms of market capitalization. Notable inventions by IBM include the automated teller machine (ATM), the floppy disk, the hard disk drive, the magnetic stripe card, the relational database, the Universal Product Code (UPC), the financial swap, the RDBMS and SQL, SABRE airline reservation system, DRAM, and Watson artificial intelligence.