Before the Computer: IBM, NCR, Burroughs, and Remington Rand and the Industry They Created, 1865-1956

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Princeton University Press, 2000 - Technology & Engineering - 350 pages
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Before the Computer fully explores the data processing industry in the United States from its nineteenth-century inception down to the period when the computer became its primary tool. As James Cortada describes what was once called the "office appliance industry," he challenges our view of the digital computer as a revolutionary technology. Cortada interprets reliance on computers as a development within an important segment of the American economy that was earlier represented largely by such instruments as typewriters, tabulating machines, adding machines, and calculators. He also describes how many of the practices of the office appliance industry evolved into those of the computer world. Drawing on previously unavailable industry archives, the author adds to our understanding of IBM's early history and offers short corporate histories of firms that include NCR, Burroughs, and Remington Rand. Focusing on the United States but also including comparative material on Europe and Asia, Before the Computer will be a unique source of knowledge about the companies that built office equipment and their enormous impact on economic life.

  

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Before the computer: IBM, NCR, Burroughs, and Remington Rand and the industry they created, 1865-1956

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The punch-card era was brief, but Cortada, a former IBM executive and prolific writer on data processing, finds it remarkably predictive of today's computer industry. He focuses on business structures ... Read full review

Contents

From Opportunities to Typewriters
3
Adding and Calculating Machines
25
Hollerith and the Development of Punched Card Tabulation
44
Cash Registers and the National Cash Register Company
64
Rudiments of an Industry Identified
79
AN AGE OF OFFICE MACHINES 19201941
90
Economic Conditions and the Role of Standardization
91
Products Practices and Prices
105
Other Accounting Machines and Their Uses
158
Vendors Practices and Results
171
WORLD WAR II AND THE POSTWAR OFFICE APPLIANCE INDUSTRY 19411956
188
Economics Government Controls and Applications
189
The Role of Major Vendors 19391946
206
Industry Structure Vendors and Practices 19451956
222
Business Volumes
247
Conclusion The Roles of Marketing Distribution and Technology
264

Commercial and Scientific Applications of Punched Card Machines
128
International Trade in Punched Card Machines
137
The Great Depression in the United States
144
IBM and PowersRemington Rand
149
Notes
289
Bibliographic Review
331
Index
339
Copyright

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About the author (2000)

James W. Cortada is an executive consultant with IBM corporation.

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