Chronological History of IBM


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Social Security Act
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, IBM managed to grow while the rest of the U.S. economy floundered. Thomas J. Watson, Sr., took care of his employees. IBM was among the first corporations to provide group life insurance (1934), survivor benefits (1935) and paid vacations (1937).

While most businesses had shut down, Watson kept his workers busy producing new machines even while demand was slack. Thanks to the resulting large inventory of equipment, IBM was ready when the Social Security Act of 1935 brought the company a landmark government contract to maintain employment records for 26 million people. It was called "the biggest accounting operation of all time," and it went so well that orders from other U.S. government departments quickly followed.

IBM Schoolhouse
Watson created a major division in 1932 to lead the engineering, research and development efforts for the entire IBM product line. The following year, IBM completed one of the finest modern research and development laboratories in the world at Endicott, New York.

Similarly, the IBM Schoolhouse was also completed at Endicott in 1933 to provide education and training for employees. That same year saw the addition of an entirely new product unit - the Electric Writing Machine Division - to IBM's organization. In 1935, IBM launched a new line of business with the introduction of the International Proof Machine.


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