Remington Rand (1927–1955) was an early American business machines manufacturer, best known originally as a typewriter manufacturer and in a later incarnation as the manufacturer of the UNIVAC line of mainframe computer. It split off from its parent company, Remington Arms, in the early nineteenth century. Remington Rand was a diversified conglomerate making other office equipment, electric shavers, etc. The Remington Rand Building at 315 Park Avenue South in New York City is a 20-floor skyscraper completed in 1911.
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Remington Rand was formed in 1927 by the merger of the Remington Typewriter Company and Rand Kardex Corporation. Within the first year Remington Rand acquired the Dalton Adding Machine Company, the Powers Accounting Machine Company, the Baker-Vawter Company and the Kalamazoo Loose-Leaf Binder Company. From its inception until 1958, it was led by founder James Rand, Jr. of North Tonawanda, New York.
From 1942 to 1945, Remington Rand was one manufacturer of the M1911A1 .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol used by the United States Armed Forces during World War II. Remington Rand produced more M1911A1 pistols than any other wartime manufacturer. Remington Rand ranked 66th among United States corporations in the value of World War II military production contracts.
In 1950, Remington Rand acquired the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation, founded by the makers of the ENIAC, and in 1952, they acquired Engineering Research Associates (ERA), both of which were pioneers in electronic computing. At that time, Remington Rand had become one of the biggest computer companies in the United States.
Initially produced by Remington Arms, the Remington Typewriters were the first to use the QWERTY keyboard layout. Remington Arms had bought the design from Christopher Sholes. The Remington No.1 was the first model released. All keys were uppercase. Remington Arms spun off Remington Typewriter Company in 1886, and after the 1927 merger, the Remington Rand Corp. continued to manufacture and sell typewriters.
The UNIVAC I (UNIVersal Automatic Computer I) was the second commercial computer made in the United States. It was designed principally by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly, the inventors of the ENIAC. Design work was begun by their company, Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation, and was completed after the company had been acquired by Remington Rand. (In the years before successor models of the UNIVAC I appeared, the machine was simply known as "the UNIVAC".)
The first UNIVAC was delivered to the United States Census Bureau on March 31, 1951 and was dedicated on June 14 that year. The fifth machine (built for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission) was used by CBS to predict the result of the 1952 U.S. presidential election. With a sample of 1% of the voting population it predicted Eisenhower's win.
In 1949, Remington Rand designed the Remington Rand 409, a control panel programmed punched card calculator (but not introduced as a product until 1952 as the UNIVAC 60 then in 1953 as the UNIVAC 120 with double the memory).
Remington Rand also made electric razors. The Remington brand of razor was originally produced by a division of Remington Rand, starting in 1937. Sperry Corporation sold the division in 1979 to Victor Kiam, who became the company spokesman of the new Remington Products Company. His line, "I liked the shaver so much, I bought the company" became one of the more memorable advertising slogans of the early 1980s. Remington Products was sold in 2003 to the battery manufacturer Rayovac. Rayovac is now Spectrum Brands.
They also sold punch card systems in the 1950s.
Depiction in popular culture
The Remington Rand Co. and the Remington Rand Building are depicted as the Knox Co. and the Knox Building in Richard Yates' 1961 novel Revolutionary Road. In 1921 Rand Kardex sponsored the Tonawanda Kardex all-star team of football players from Tonawanda, New York; known to have formed in 1916 and coached for its entire existence by Tam Rose. The team joined the NFL that season but folded after playing in just one game as a league member.
- James M. Utterback: Mastering the Dynamics of Innovation, ISBN 0-87584-740-4
- Arthur L. Norberg, Computers and Commerce: A Study of Technology and Management at Eckert-Mauchly Computer Company, Engineering Research Associates, and Remington Rand, 1946–1957 (History of Computing) (Hardcover), ISBN 0-262-14090-X
- James W. Cortada, Before the Computer: IBM, NCR, Burroughs, and Remington Rand and the Industry They Created, 1865–1956 (Studies in Business and Technology), ISBN 0-691-05045-7
- Skyscrapers 315 Park Ave South
- A History of Sperry Rand Corporation. Sperry Rand. 1967 (4th printing). p. 32.
- 1911/1911A1 Production Numbers
- Peck, Merton J. & Scherer, Frederic M. The Weapons Acquisition Process: An Economic Analysis (1962) Harvard Business School p.619
- The first commercial computer in the world was the BINAC built by the Eckert–Mauchly Computer Corporation and delivered to Northrop Aircraft Company in 1949.
- Reference: CNN's feature on the 50th anniversary of the UNIVAC.
- Horrigan, Joe. THE TONAWANDA KARDEX: THE FORGOTTEN FRANCHISE. Pro Football Researchers Association.
- Rowayton Historical Society Web page on Remington Rand operations in Norwalk, Connecticut
- Rowayton Historical Society - The first business computer
- 10 oral history interviews with Remington Rand executives and employees. Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota.
- Transcript of UNIVAC Conference 17-18 May 1990. Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota. A two-day oral history conference examined the effect of the UNIVAC on computing and the computer industry in the mid-1950s. The meeting involved over twenty-five engineers, programmers, marketing representatives, and salesmen who were involved with the UNIVAC, as well as customers such as General Electric, Arthur Andersen, and the U.S. Census.
- Engineering Research Associates-Remington Rand-Sperry Rand Records. Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota.
- Sperry Rand Corporation. Remington Rand Division records: Advertising and Sales Promotion Department at Hagley Museum and Library
- Sperry Corporation, UNIVAC Division Photograph Collection at Hagley Museum and Library
- Sperry Rand Corporation, Univac Division records at Hagley Museum and Library
- Sperry-UNIVAC records at Hagley Museum and Library