What is IBM?

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A computer and computing services company named International Business Machines.

Originally founded in 1924 following the merger in 1911 of 3 companies into the holding company CTR (Computing Tabulating Recording):
  • Tabulating Machine Company, made electromechanical punchcard data processing machines and punchcards (the product IBM was most known for from 1932 until the 1970s, because of their use by Social Security for printing benefit checks)
  • International Time Recording Company (itself a merger of Bundy Manufacturing Company, Willard and Frick Manufacturing Company, Chicago Time-Register Company, Del Ray Register Company, and Syracuse Time Recorder Company), made mostly timeclocks
  • Computing Scale Company, made various items including weighing scales, automatic meat slicers, and coffee grinders
With the purchase of Electromatic Typewriters, Inc. in 1933, IBM added electric typewriters to its line of office equipment.

By the time IBM made their first electronic digital computers in the early 1950s (NORC and the IBM 701 Defense Calculator) they had an extremely diversified and correspondingly difficult to manage product line. It was not until the late 1960s that they began to fully commit to the computer business and selloff unrelated product lines, a process that continues to the present day (e.g. the selloff of their PC line to Lenova in China as IBM itself concentrates more on services than actual hardware).
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