ASCC People and progeny

Benjamin M. Durfee

Born in 1897, Benjamin M. Durfee joined the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR) -- IBM's predecessor -- in 1917, and attended a CTR training school the following year. His initial assignments were in the Cleveland area servicing tabulating equipment, e.g., checking machine adjustments, oiling and cleaning, and replacing worn parts. Early in his career, he assisted Clair Lake in field testing a nonprinting tabulator with automatic group control. Lake, who drew on Durfee's input in improving the machine, subsequently brought Durfee to join him at the company's laboratory in Endicott, N.Y. Once there, Durfee assisted in the assembly and testing of the Type I printing tabulator, and initiated some training courses on the machine. He made numerous trips in 1921 to support the installation of the Type I in the field, and in 1924, he assembled in Paris the first IBM printing tabulator shipped to Europe. Durfee's participation in the ASCC project began in 1939 in meetings at the Endicott Laboratory with Harvard's Aiken, and IBM's Lake and Frank Hamilton. He was heavily involved in testing of the ASCC at Endicott in 1943 and again in 1944 at Harvard, and is one of four men credited by Harvard as an inventor of the machine. Benjamin Durfee died in 1980.

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