Rochester chronology


1956

Feb. 8
IBM president Thomas J. Watson, Jr., announces plans to establish new manufacturing, engineering and educational facilities on a 397-acre site near Route 52, two miles northwest of the city of Rochester. Construction of several buildings -- comprising 400,000 square feet of floor space and costing approximately $8 million -- is scheduled to begin late in 1956 and be completed late in 1957. The new site will manufacture standard IBM electric and electronic accounting machines and new products under development, and will employ 1,500 people by 1958.



Mar. 26

Charles J. Lawson is named general manager.
Charles J. Lawson is named general manager.




May 1
Construction is begun of a manufacturing building, to be leased from Industrial Opportunities Inc. (IOI).

May 10
Temporary headquarters are opened in a former food store at 11 4th Street, S.E., and employment applications are accepted. The first local employee is Josephine Myers, hired as secretary to the personnel manager.

Jul. 31

Ground is broken for the new facility.
Ground is broken for the new facility.




Aug. 27
IOI officially completes the temporary 50,000-square foot building, which houses manufacturing areas, offices, education space and a cafeteria seating 114.

Aug.
Assembly operations begin in the leased IOI building. There are 174 employees, 121 of whom are from the Rochester area.

Sep.
The first two Rochester machines -- IBM 077 numeric collators -- are shipped to customers in Iowa and Texas.

Oct. 4
Lawson announces plans to add another 150,000 square feet to the plant, increasing the facility to 550,000 square feet (one-third larger than when the plans were originally announced in February).

Oct.
Construction of the main plant is begun.

Plans are announced that Rochester will manufacture the IBM 514 reproducing punch and IBM 523 gang summary punch.
Plans are announced that Rochester will manufacture the IBM 514 reproducing punch and IBM 523 gang summary punch. Some 30 Rochester employees are sent to IBM's facility in Endicott, N.Y., for training in manufacturing the machines.

 

1957

Jan. 14

The plant's first IBM 514 reproducing punch and IBM 523 gang summary punch are shipped.
The plant's first IBM 514 reproducing punch and IBM 523 gang summary punch are shipped.




Jan. 18

The engineering organization moves into 7,100 square feet of leased space.

Mar. 15
Occupancy begins of the first permanent building at the main site: Building 201, a warehouse.

Jul. 12
IBM Rochester closes down for a two-week vacation period.

Aug. 12
The first IBM 552 alphabetical interpreter is shipped. Rochester is now producing the 552, 077, 514 and 523; and the IBM 089 alphabetic collator, IBM 519 document originating machine, IBM 521 electronic calculating punch-computing punch unit, IBM 533 read punch unit; IBM 549 ticket converter and the IBM 323, an input/output source for the RAMAC system.

Sep.
The main plant is occupied.



Sep. 26

IBM CEO Thomas J. Watson, Jr., visits the site.
IBM CEO Thomas J. Watson, Jr., visits the site.




 The manufacturing building -- which provides 50,000-square feet of space in a structure measuring 160 by 320 feet -- is the largest single-story building of its type in Rochester. It covers 1.25 acres and is constructed by Industrial Opportunities Inc. The overall dimensions of the future Rochester facility are 800 by 1,000 feet, and it is to provide about 550,000 square feet of space. Designed by Eero Saarinen Associates, Inc., the new facility is being constructed by Johnson, Drake and Piper as general contractors, with Smith, Hinchman and Grylls as consulting engineers. Completion is scheduled for early in 1958.

Nov.
Manufacturing, administration and purchasing move into Building 001. Building 102 is also completed and several manufacturing departments move over from the warehouse (which had housed manufacturing since March 1957).



Nov.

IBM 085 and 087 collators
The company announces the first two Rochester-developed products: the IBM 085 and 087 collators (redesigns of the 077 and 089 collators built at Rochester).




Nov.
Some 66 employees return from a nine-month training program at Endicott.



Dec.

An IBM 650 data processing system is installed at the main site.

1958

Jan. 23
Customer Engineering Education occupies its new home in Building 006.

Jan. 30
Watson announces that the compensation of all U.S. hourly employees is being placed on a salary basis.

May
The first IBM 548 interpreter is shipped.

July
The plant is assigned manufacturing responsibility for the IBM 088 collator.

Sep. 30
The 570,000-square foot plant is officially dedicated. There are 1,800 employees producing 21 different models of data processing machines, including card punches, collators and interpreters. These devices are key components of IBM's computing systems.

Dec. 30
The first pilot line production model of the IBM 088 is completed and readied for shipment to Madrid, Spain.

1959

Jan.
Rochester is assigned manufacturing responsibility for the IBM 541 and IBM 542 high-speed punches.

Feb. 4

Clarence Frizzell is named as general manager, succeeding Lawson
Clarence Frizzell is named as general manager, succeeding Lawson.




Mar.
The site's product line grows to 25 machines with the assignment of the IBM 7500 reader and IBM 7550 punch to Rochester manufacturing.

May 26

Rochester becomes part of the newly-formed IBM General Products Division (GPD). Rochester is assigned manufacturing responsibility for the IBM 1402 card reader-punch used with the IBM 1401 data processing system.


1-5 of 5 pages | Next