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Information Technology (IT) Pioneers

Retirees and former employees of Unisys, Lockheed Martin, and their heritage companies

EMCC to UNISYS, Chapter 3  

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.  Unisys is an acronym for UNited Information Systems

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 {Ed note: Updated 3/28/2020} and technical.  Sadly, Al passed away in November of 2015. 

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 in the Burroughs chapter and the Blue Bell chapter. 

1.  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.

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 also 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 Exec-8 Milestone

     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 the 45th anniversary of the first 1107 shipment to CSC in California. 

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

4. 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". Somewhat thereafter, Universities became connected.
Other computer to computer and computer to peripheral interfaces are discussed on the Engineering - Interfaces chapter. [lab]


This was the last of the computer developments in Blue Bell as the corporation decided to focus on the 1100 series of computers designed in St. Paul.

In this Chapter

  1. UNISYS Computers: An Introductory History
  2.  UNISYS Corporate Genealogy
  3. UNISYS Exec 8 Milestone
  4. Networking History by John Nemanic
  5. UNIVAC III photos

Chapter 3 edited 4/30/2022.