The Christie organization also handled considerable Navy work for the Cramp Shipyards in Philadelphia. Mr. Bryce designed a portable machine tool for reboring the cylinders of marine engines while the steamships were in drydock. He also developed a mobile machine tool for facing the raceway or platform of a gun turret aboard a battleship under construction, rather than in a machine shop. On one occasion Mr. Bryce shipped from New York to the Cramp yards a raceway casting so huge that the dimensions of all railroad tunnels en route had to be ascertained, and even then a hole had to be cut in the flatcar to ensure clearance. It was this inclination to explore the unique and untried approaches to engineering problems which always characterized Mr. Bryce's thinking.
Bryce had been employed by H. T. Goss in 1904. Within a relatively short time he became a partner in the firm organized as Goss & Bryce, which contracted by agreement to assign to Harlow Bundy's International Time Recording Company (ITR) patent rights relating to development work being performed by the engineering firm.
During the next several years, and prior to his full-time employment by the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company -- IBM's predecessor -- in 1917, as supervising engineer of the ITR Division, Bryce became acquainted with several early developments in the punched card accounting machine field, primarily by reason of Goss & Bryce involvement in two applications involved in two patent interferences declared by the Patent Office August 31, 1909, with Hollerith (The Tabulating Machine Co.) and J. Royden Peirce, who had started work on mechanical types of card controlled machines.
Bryce had invented a punched hole reading elapsed time recording machine which was intended for development by ITR. These patent interferences, although not greatly significant as to subject matter by itself, did have a far reaching effect on Bryce's actions in later years. In addition to his primary interest at that time in recording of work starting time by punching holes in a card, reading the starting time later and subtracting against work stopping time, to establish a record of elapsed time, he also began to develop an understanding of the possibilities of more general types of punched cord accounting machines.