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International Business Machines
Founded 1911
Headquarters Armonk, NY, USA

IBM is a large multinational computing company headquartered in Armonk, New York.


IBM has its origins in the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company, founded in 1911 to commercialize tabulating machine technology designed by Herman Hollerith and others. Under the leadership of Thomas Watson, CTR merged with and bought out a variety of other companies, eventually forming the International Business Machines Corporation in 1924.

After World War 2, IBM invested large quantities of time and money into computer technology. As consequence of strong sales to governments, the US military, and large businesses, IBM held a monopoly over the computer market for decades, during which they developed countless computer technologies in almost every field.

Amongst the products manufactured by IBM were a series of highly successful typewriters, and subsequently a series of high quality computer keyboards using the beam spring and buckling spring mechanisms. As the designer of what became the modern PC, IBM's influence extends to the layout of modern keyboards, and some of the interfaces that they use. This article documents divisions of IBM responsible for the manufacture of some of these items.

IBM divisions

IBM Office Products Division


IBM Japan

IBM Japan, Ltd. was founded in June 17, 1937 and is based in Tokyo. The company operates as a subsidiary of YK IBM AP Holdings[1]

IBM Mexico

IBM began operating in Mexico in 1927[2]. In 1986, IBM founded a partial assembly facility in Guadalajara for the manufacture of PCs. This facility also manufactured Model M keyboards for the Latin American and US market. There have been sightings of Lexmark Model Ms made in Mexico, and it is possible that Lexmark took control of the keyboard manufacturing facilities at this plant.

IBM Canada

IBM's manufacturing facility in Don Mills Road, Toronto manufactured terminals and minicomputers for the US and Canadian market during the 1970s and 1980s. Almost all of the Beam Spring keyboards for these markets that have been spotted in the wild were made by IBM Canada, presumably at this facility.

IBM Italy

In 1927, IBM begins business in Italy as Società Internazionale Macchine Commerciali (SIMC), its first customer being the Ministry of Transport. As times goes by, additional branch offices are opened in Milan, Rome, Venice, Florence, Naples, Palermo, Bologna, Brescia, Trieste, Verona, Cagliari, Padua, Bari, Ancona, Bolzano, Catania, Cremona, Novara, Vicenza and Sassari.

In 1934, construction of a manufacturing plant is begun in Milan. The first product assembled there is the IBM 080 Horizontal Sorter in 1935. It would later produce the IBM 601 Multiplier (1936) and other assorted industrial and data processing machines.

In 1939, the italian branch of IBM is renamed Watson Italiana S.A. Nazionale Macchine Aziendali. In 1947, it is again renamed as IBM Italia.

In 1965 the Milan plant produces its first IBM System/360 Model 20 and IBM announces plans to construct a second plant in Vimercate with 1,200 employees. The new plant begins operating in 1966, replacing the original Milan manufacturing facility.

In 1975 IBM Italia moves its headquarters to Segrate, a Milan suburb, where it remains to this day. Three years later, IBM announces that a new manufacturing facility will be constructed in the south of the country. In 1981, operations begin at the new manufacturing facility in Santa Palomba, near Rome. By now the Vimercate plant covers an area of 110,000 square meters and employs 3,000 people.

Manufacturing label of an IBM 5291 Model 2 Display Station sold in Spain.

In 1983, the Vimercate plant on 71 acres produces small systems such as the System/23, System/38, System/6 and Series/1), point of sale systems (IBM 5260), the IBM 7350 Image Processing System, terminals (IBM 5251 Display Station, IBM 5152 Dual Display Station, IBM 5291 and 5292 Display Stations), circuit packaging and assembles, and disk files. In the meantime, the Santa Palomba plant on 260 acres manufactures point of sales systems (IBM 3650 and IBM 3680), the Displaywriter system, terminal printers (IBM 3287, IBM 3715, and IBM 5256), small systems (System/34 and IBM 5280 Distributed Data System), the System/36, the IBM 5520 Administrative System, and key entry units (IBM 3741 Data Station and IBM 3742 Dual Station). Santa Palomba goes on to become one of the main international manufacturing centers for IBM's midrange systems, such as the AS/400 and eServer iSeries.

In 1990, IBM forms IBM SEMEA (South Europe-Middle East-Africa), which assumes responsibly for the company's operations in Italy and 40 other countries. In 1997, IBM SEMEA becomes IBM Italia, responsible for IBM's operations in Portugal, Greece, Turkey, Israel and South Africa.


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