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Icons of Progress

A Culture of Think


The THINK motto was ubiquitous within IBM offices and factories throughout the world by the 1930s, and began attracting notice outside the company within the same decade. IBM was deluged with requests from the public for its iconic THINK signs, and from customers who wanted to use them in their own businesses. In 1948, IBM handed out 9000 signs; by 1960 that number had jumped to 20,000. In the decades that followed—as Watson’s progressive vision of the engaged and intelligent worker continued to find widespread resonance—the THINK sign became a common adornment of the average American desk and an enduring fixture of business culture.