A Computer Called LEO: Lyons Tea Shops and the World's First Office Computer
This is the eccentric story of one of the most bizarre marriages in the history of British business: the invention of the world's first office computer and the Lyons Teashop. The Lyons teashops were one of the great British institutions, providing a cup of tea and a penny bun through the depression, the war, austerity and on into the 1960s and 1970s. Yet Lyons also has a more surprising claim to history. In the 1930s John Simmons, a young graduate in charge of the clerks' offices that totalled all the bills issued by the Nippies and kept track of the costs of all the tea, cakes and other goods distributed to the nation's cafes and shops, became obsessed by the new ideas of scientific management. He had a dream: to build a machine that would automate the millions of tedious transactions and process them in as little time as possible.