Born in 1869, Fred Carroll joined IBM -- then the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company -- in June 1916. When he retired 40 years later, he left a record of outstanding technical achievements. He developed a series of rotary type presses that were used to produce the well-known standard tabulating cards, including a 1921 model that operated at 400 cards per minute (cpm). Later, he developed completely different press capable of operating at speeds in excess of 800 cpm, and it was introduced in 1936.
Carroll was responsible for developing the semiautomatic ledger posting carriage and the automatic ledger posting carriage -- both in 1940 -- as well as other accounting machine devices. He played a significant role in automating the "world's largest bookkeeping job." The special machine he designed for the U.S. Social Security Administration was an ingenious combination of pneumatic, mechanical, and for the first time in IBM history, photoelectric sensing apparatus. While not an electronics engineer himself, Carroll had the foresight to recognize the potential of electronically controlled devices at an early date.
Fred Carroll received his first patent in 1896 and went on to earn another 96, and a reputation as one of IBM's most prolific inventors. He died in 1961.