The Golden Age of IBM Advertising

Big Blue's classic midcentury campaigns for "card-programmed calculating machines," newfangled typewriters, and other miracles of technology.

Posted by  | Monday, August 30, 2010

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Back in the 1950s, IBM was just getting into the computer business, many companies still needed to be convinced that electric typewriters weren’t a technological boondoggle, and slide rules were still essential equipment. And the American workplace–at least as depicted in magazine ads–had what we’d now consider a distinct Mad Men edge to it.

Mix yourself the cocktail of your choice, settle into your Eames chair, and return with us now to the era of mainframes and secretarial pools to rediscover these vintage IBM ads from LIFE and other publications.

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8 Comments For This Post

  1. Bill Says:

    Read the fine print. At that time you had to have 2 years training. This training was in so called electronics, Which in 1956 was a glorified electrician. Everything was vacuum tube and relays.

    I joined IBM as a Field Technician in 1970 after 4 years as an Airforce technician. By the 1980s they wouldn't even consider an applicant that didn't have a college degree. Even though the job at that time was getting less technical every year.

    I must say however that they did provide a career. I worked for they in one capacity or another for 30 years.

  2. ankit malik Says:

    IBM really did a great service on the tech industry. They revolutionized the evolution of computers.

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  8. Charles Carmean Says:

    I hired on with IBM in Tucson AZ in 1980(circuit card test tech) and the manufacturing business was going great building circuit card till 1989 when the plant started downsizing and I took a transfer to Charlotte NC and this business lasted till 1998 when once again the manufacturing of circuit cards moved to China. Everyone who thought that they had a lifetime job with IBM found out the reality of cheap labor overseas. In its heyday IBM was a great place to work and employees were taken care of.