Watson, the founder of the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), was born in Campbell, New York, in 1874. He spent his early years studying at the Addison Academy in New York, and only took one college class at the Elmira College before beginning work.When Watson was 17 years old, he took up his first job as a bookkeeper. This job didn’t last, as he soon started working as a peddler selling organs and sewing machines. Watson joined the National Cash Register Company as a salesman in 1895, and was the leading salesman in the Buffalo office by 1897. In 1913, Watson faced a major setback, as he and many other executives at the NCR were fired due to an antitrust legal issue. He was able to bounce back and find a job as the president of the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company in 1914. Ten years later in 1924, Watson renamed the company IBM and became the first president.
Watson married Jeanette Mary Kittridge in 1913, and proceeded to have two daughters and two sons. One of which, Thomas J. Watson Jr., would take over as president of IBM in 1952.
A major reason for Watson’s success in business was his style of life. Watson never drank, smoked, or even took vacations, and was so dedicated to his job that he often worked 16 hour days. During World War 2, Watson received the U.S. Medal of Merit for the work IBM had done to support the nation during the difficult times.
IBM flourished under Watson’s reign, and it became the leader in the development of new technology. Watson would lead the company to create the most advanced technology of the era, including the Harvard Mark 2 calculator, which was the most advanced of that time. When Watson left in 1952, Thomas J.
Watson Jr. took over as head of the company and continued to keep IBM a major company in the technology world. IBM became the most well known computer company in America during the mid to late 1900’s, and Thomas J. Watson died in 1956.