Biographies: Thomas J. Watson (1874-1956)



Figure 1.-- This is the Watson family in the mid-1920s: Dick, Helen, Jane and Tom with their parents, Jeannette K. and Thomas J. Watson, Sr. They are apparently on a beach vaction.

Tom Watson was a pioneer in the development of accounting and computing equipment. He built International Business Machine (IBM) into one of the world's great corporations. Tom was born in Campbell, New York in 1874. After school he began working at age 18 as a bookkeeper in Clarence Risley's Market in Painted Post, N.Y. Then he sold sewing machines and musical instruments for a while. Finally he joined the National Cash Register Company as a salesman in Buffalo and noved up to general sales manager. He introduced the motto, "THINK," which later became a widely known symbol of IBM. Besides his commitment to business, Watson became interested in international relations. He adopted a slogan for IBM, "World Peace Through World Trade". He worked with the International Chamber of Commerce and was elected its president (1937). Watson and IBM did businesswith the NAZis from when Hitler seized power and even after Hitler launched World War II. Hitlers program of persecuting Germans Jews involved identifying them. One reasercher points out, " Only after Jews were identified -- a massive and complex task that Hitler wanted done immediately -- could they be targeted for efficient asset confiscation, ghettoization, deportation, enslaved labor, and, ultimately, annihilation. It was a cross-tabulation and organizational challenge so monumental, it called for a computer. Of course, in the 1930s no computer existed. But IBM's Hollerith punch card technology did exist. Aided by the company's custom-designed and constantly updated Hollerith systems, Hitler was able to automate his persecution of the Jews." [Black] Of course in 1933 the full depravity of the NAZIs could not be known. After launching Wrld War II in 1939, surely enough was known. During World War II, IBM made an important role in American code breaking efforts. Two sons, Thomas J. Watson, Jr. and Arthur K. Watson worked with their father in IBM.

Sources

Black, Edwin. IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance between NAZI Germany and America's Most Powerful Corporation.







HBC





Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the Main S-Z biographies page]
[Return to the Main biographies page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Cloth and textiles] [Clothing styles] [Countries] [Girls] [Topics]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]




Created: 9:22 PM 9/17/2007
Last updated: 9:22 PM 9/17/2007