This week on Old Georgetown in Color, GM tries to bring a little pink to Herman Hollerith: Georgetown resident and one of the founders of IBM.
Didn’t realize that IBM was founded (in part) here in Georgetown? It’s true.
GM wrote about this fun fact a few years ago:
It’s true. It all started with the 1890 Census. The prior census almost took an entire decade to compile. Thus to complete the 1890 census on time, the Census Bureau realized that they needed to turn to technology. Serendipitously, just one year earlier, a Buffalo inventor, Herman Hollerith, received a patent on the great-great-great-grandfather of the computer hard-drive: the punched card. Recognizing the benefit of Hollerith’s invention, the Census Bureau hired him.
In 1892 he set up shop in the warehouse…on 31st st. right on the canal. In 1896 he created the Tabulating Machine Company. In 1910 he moved into a stately home on upper 29th St.
And in 1911, Hollerith’s Tabulating Machine Company and three other companies merged together to form the Computing Tabulating Recording Company. C-T-R’s Canadian subsidiary was called International Business Machines, in 1924 C-T-R, under the leadership of Thomas Watson, adopted its subsidiary’s name. And thus IBM came into being.
Nowadays you can eat oysters where Hollerith churned through the 1890 census: the warehouse is now occupied by Sea Catch.