Thomas J. Watson, Sr., dies at age 82, six weeks after handing the title of chief executive officer of IBM to his son, Thomas J. Watson, Jr. President Dwight D. Eisenhower declares, "In the passing of Thomas J. Watson, the nation has lost a truly fine American -- an industrialist who was first of all a great citizen and a great humanitarian."
The IBM 305 RAMAC and 650 RAMAC machines are launched. The 305 is the first magnetic hard disk for data storage, and the RAMAC (Random Access Method of Accounting and Control) technology soon becomes the industry standard. The storage capacity of the 305's 50 two-foot diameter disks was 5 megabytes of data.
IBM launches the model 27 Card Proof Punch and 28 Printing Card Proof Punch, and introduces an automatic production recording system.
IBM announces an electronic "reading" device for electric typewriters and an electronic input-output device to automatically type work done by computers.
Arthur L. Samuel of IBM's Poughkeepsie, New York, laboratory programs an IBM 704 to play checkers using a method in which the machine can "learn" from its own experience. It is believed to be the first "self-learning" program, a demonstration of the concept of artificial intelligence.
Construction of the Kingston, New York, plant is completed.
The company announces a Family Major Medical Plan for employees.