IBM signals its commitment to electronic computing as it introduces the IBM 701, the company's first production computer and a watershed in the computing industry. Designed primarily for scientific calculations, the 701 features the IBM-invented tape drive vacuum column, an innovation which paved the way for magnetic tape to become a popular storage medium.
IBM introduces the magnetic tape drive vacuum column. Prior to the vacuum column, fragile magnetic tape was seen as a viable storage medium but was plagued by breakages as it was subjected to sudden starts and stops; IBM devised a solution where the tape was held down by a vacuum during these rapid accelerations and decelerations. Its use in the IBM 701 signaled the beginning of the era of magnetic storage, for its buffering technique would become widely adopted throughout the industry.
Thomas J. Watson, Jr., becomes IBM President.