Excerpted remarks by IBM President Thomas J. Watson, Jr. at the Annual meeting of stockholders -- New York, N.Y. April 29, 1952
Our progress in electronics convinced us one year ago that we had in our company the ability to create for the Defense Department, and the defense industries, a computer of advanced design which could be of major service to our national defense effort.
We began planning and building such a machine, which we believe will be the most advanced, most flexible high-speed computer in the world. It is built not for one special purpose but as a general purpose device, and two days after it was announced on a limited confidential basis we had orders for ten. This machine has the capacity of, and much more speed than the Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator, which we announced in 1948.
The new calculator takes less than one-quarter the space of the previous machine. It is difficult to compare speeds, but we feel conservatively that the new calculator is 25 times faster than our old one and far more flexible. In addition, the new machine is a commercial machine which will be rented and serviced with our regular line of products.
This work is being carried out in Poughkeepsie, where we have the major part of our electronic effort concentrated. In our laboratory at Endicott our engineers are working mainly on electro-mechanical research. Besides these two laboratories, we operate at Columbia University the Watson Laboratory in partnership with Columbia. The West Coast universities are developing some excellent scientists and most of these men are reluctant to leave the West Coast area. For this and other reasons we decided to open a small laboratory at San Jose, California.