IBM Traditional Anniversaries
IBM celebrated its centennial in 2011. Almost all IBMers that had been around since 1989 scratched their heads because it had only been twenty-two years since the corporation had celebrated its seventy-fifth anniversary. I mean, we were there and so was Sam.
Many of us scurried to determine if our memories had failed us, but, alas, our memories were right. IBM had traditionally marked 1914 as the date of its founding--the year Thomas J. Watson Sr. joined the company. That included the twenty-fifth (1939), the fiftieth (1964), and the seventy-fifth (1989) anniversaries.
So, why the rush? It would seem that in the midst of the bad news that Virginia M. Rometty had to share in 2014 with her shareholders--dropping the second five-year, earnings-per-share roadmap, she could have used some good news to celebrate. Is it just that her predecessor wanted to use it as his swan song?
Pixabay image #1924516 by Pramit Marattha
There are many dates that could have been used as an IBM anniversary date:
- 1888 was the founding of the Tabulating Machine Company
- 1911 was the date of incorporation of C-T-R
- 1914 was the year Thomas J. Watson Sr. was hired by the C-T-R board of directors
- 1924 was when C-T-R was renamed IBM
A List of the Traditional Anniversary Dates
Supporting Documentation of Celebrated Anniversary Dates
- 1914 to 1989: "IBM - A Very Special Company - 75 Years"
- 1914 to 1964: IBM Day at the World's Fair and "Fifty Years of Progress"
- 1914 to 1954: IBM 40th Anniversary Worldwide Dinners
- 1914 to 1947: "Third of a Century Commemorative Medallion" to all Employees
- 1914 to 1946: IBM Celebrates "Watson Day." 30th Anniversary (delayed because of World War II)
- 1914 to 1939: IBM Day at World's Fair (Quarter Century Club for Watson Sr.)
- 1924 to 1936: Twelfth Anniversary of "Change of Name" from C-T-R to IBM
- 1888 to 1928: The Fortieth Anniversary from IBM Song Book
Peter E. Greulich is an author, publisher and public speaker.
He has written three books on IBM and three essays on Thomas J. Watson Sr.’s leadership during the Great Depression. His latest book, Think Again!: IBM CAN Maximize Shareholder Value is a sweeping historical look at IBM and its nine chief executives. It puts a spotlight on IBM's current human resource practices in light of IBM’s time-tested, human-relationship achievements.
Think Again! is a different perspective from Louis V. Gerstner’s Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance. Pete's thoughts are always a view from beneath—the perspective of an IBM employee-owner. IBMers with stories to share can reach Pete at IBMers @ mbiconcepts.com.