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IBM produces first typewriter, 1956

Posted on November 30, 2016 | in Uncategorized | by
The pilot assembly line at the new IBM plant on December 26, 1956, produced the firm's first electric typewriter to be manufactured in Lexington. W. F. Blackerby, president of Realty Mortgage Company, received the first typewriter, a 16-inch bookcase academic type. He had placed an order that August requesting "the first machine to come from the Lexington plant." IBM, LexmarkÕs industrial forerunner, was the dominant Lexington private employer of its day. In 1956, the company decided to build a 386,000 square foot typewriter plant off New Circle Road that employed 1,800 people. By 1985 IBM had 6,000 workers. In 1990, IBM decided to get out of the printer business. Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, a private New York investment firm that specialized in turning around business divisions bigger corporations discarded, bought the division and appointed Marvin Mann, then with IBM, as chairman and CEO of Lexmark. The company remained headquartered in Lexington at the plant site on Newtown Pike. In April 2016 it was announced that Lexmark was being acquired by a three-pronged Chinese consortium. On Nov. 29, 2016, the acquisition was completed, and the company announced it was shedding its enterprise software business, once the cornerstone of its business strategy. Herald-Leader Archive Photo

The pilot assembly line at the new IBM plant on Dec. 26, 1956, produced the firm’s first electric typewriter to be manufactured in Lexington. W.F. Blackerby, president of Realty Mortgage Co., received the first typewriter, a 16-inch bookcase academic type. He had placed an order that August requesting “the first machine to come from the Lexington plant.” IBM, Lexmark’s industrial forerunner, was the dominant Lexington private employer of its day. In 1956, the company decided to build a 386,000-square-foot typewriter plant off New Circle Road that employed 1,800 people. By 1985, IBM had 6,000 workers. In 1990, IBM decided to get out of the printer business. Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, a private New York investment firm that specialized in turning around business divisions that bigger corporations discarded, bought the division and appointed Marvin Mann, then with IBM, as chairman and CEO of Lexmark. The company remained headquartered in Lexington at the plant site on Newtown Pike. In April 2016, it was announced that Lexmark was being acquired by a three-pronged Chinese consortium. On Nov. 29, 2016, the acquisition was completed, and the company announced it was shedding its enterprise software business, once the cornerstone of its business strategy. Click on the image for a closer look. Herald-Leader Archive Photo

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