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Information Technology Pioneers

 Retirees and former employees of UNISYS, Lockheed Martin, and their Twin Cities heritage companies.
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  Home   Legacy   People   Engineering   Computers   Systems   Places   Contacts & Links    
  11. EMCC to UNISYS   12. Artifacts   13. Committee   14. Milestones   15. The Stories   16. Mementos   17. Spinoffs   18. Who Is It   19. Exhibits    

1. Introduction to UNISYS

A significant part of our commercial computer operations grew out of the Eckert Mauchly Computer Corporation (EMCC) which had its origins at the Moore School of Engineering in Philadelphia, PA.

The name UNIVAC, an acronym for UNIVersal Automatic Computers, is well recognized and documented in computer history books. 

Not so well publicized but discussed in Herman Lukoff's book "From Dits to Bits" is the fact that the some of the UNIVAC II engineering took place at the ERA plant in St. Paul. Al Reiter's web site showed a UNIVAC I in that plant, look for Bob Stark.  When Al contracted Alzheimer's; we preserved his two web pages as pdf files, UNIVAC I people and technical. Sadly, Al passed away in November of 2015. 


On this page, click scroll to:

  1. Introduction [left]
  2. UNISYS Corporate Genealogy
  3. UNISYS Milestones
  4. UNISYS Computers: An Introductory History
  5. Networking History by John Nemanic

Introduction, Continued
There is already a lot of history written about UNIVAC and UNISYS commercial operations so we don't want to duplicate the good work of others. Look at several of the items already on the internet, we've provided many links to them on our Links page.

We provided additional information about associated and predecessor companies Burroughs, Remington Rand, as well as some stories contributed by UNIVAC-UNISYS Blue Bell retirees under the Facilities major tab.

Page 11 updated 8/24/2016.

2. UNISYS Corporate Genealogy

UNISYS commercial operations has a heritage extending back to 1873, 72 years before ERA provided the computer technology impetus in the St. Paul and Minneapolis area. As illustrated on this slide [right], Remington, Rand, Sperry, Eckert-Mauchly, American Arithmometer, and Burroughs are the fore-runner companies.

Ron Q. Smith [UNISYS, Plant 4] has assembled a series of slides showing and discussing the sequences of corporate mergers. These slides also include the major computer product line genealogies which have grown out of the early ERA computers as well as the relationship to the UNIVAC I computer series.

3. UNISYS Milestones

       This year [2007] was the 40th anniversary of Exec 8 (AKA OS 2200) entering production. That was with Exec level 19 [about.] We are currently shipping Exec level 48.

The fall of 2007 was also the 45th anniversary of the first 1107 shipment to CSC in California. 2007 was the 50th anniversary of shipment of Athena, the first UNIVAC transistor computer.

The blue UNIVAC letters shown in this snapshot came from Ron Q. Smith.

4.  UNISYS Computers: An Introductory History

by George T. Gray and Ronald Q. Smith
The companies that are encompassed within UNISYS were among the pioneers in the field. They rank just behind IBM in the impact they had in the early years of the computer industry. Unisys was formed in 1986 by the merger of Burroughs and Sperry, two companies that had themselves grown through acquisitions and mergers. The first two U.S. companies to build a computer, Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation and Engineering Research Associates, were both acquired by Remington Rand Corporation (in 1950 and 1952) which, in turn, merged with Sperry in 1956 to become Sperry Rand Corporation. In 1956 Burroughs added to its own computer development efforts by acquiring Electrodata Corporation whose Datatron computer line became the company’s principal computer product. This heritage of innovative design was carried on into the Sperry, Burroughs, and Unisys computers developed in the last three decades of the 20th century. You may order this book at

5. Networking History

An applicable 'story' is our history of networking by John Nemanich. The internet was preceded by AARPA and DARPA networking. The initial network connected eleven government laboratories and one company, UNIVAC in St. Paul, as related in David Andersen's "Invention of Voice Mail". Other computer to computer and computer to peripheral interfaces are discussed on the Engineering - Interfaces page. Somewhat thereafter, Universities became connected. [lab]