The tabulating industry, embryonic at the time of this meeting, would be dominated in the United States by two firms: the firm founded by Hollerith became the core of International Business Machines (IBM); that founded by Hollerith's main rival, James Powers, became part of Remington Rand.
During the first half of the twentieth century, tabulating equipment became an increasingly central part of the life insurance business, transforming its processes and paving the way for later computerization.
Of course, life insurance was not the only industry using and influencing tabulating technology.
All of these characteristics influenced company decisions about tabulating technology, as well as the industry's overall approach to information technology.
The Origin and Nature of Punched-Card Tabulating Technology
During the processing of the 1900 census, he introduced tabulators that automatically fed the cards, thus improving the speed of the tabulating process.
Punched-card tabulating systems had also appeared in a few insurance firms by 1910, with significant implications for their internal business methods.
31) Although Gore's invention was soon outmoded, it should be viewed not just as a technological curiosity; rather, it was the first of several instances in which lead-user life insurance firms with incentive to innovate put efforts into in-house development of punch-card technology to meet their needs better than equipment available from external vendors (of which Hollerith was, at this time, the only one), thereby exerting market pressure on the tabulating industry to respond to the unmet needs.
We have therefore since that time used your punches in preparing the cards and have done our tabulating by means of knitting needles and comptometers.
This Medico-Actuarial study was significant both in revealing the extent to which Hollerith tabulating equipment had become accepted in actuarial departments of life insurance firms and in serving as the means for introducing the machinery into other firms or segments of firms.
The tabulating device "must be ordered especially to meet the requirements of each particular office," and "It is necessary therefore to carefully ascertain in advance what fields are desired to be added, because when once such fields are established they cannot be changed.
Until 1910, tabulating technology functioned in the life insurance industry essentially as a large and fast sorting, counting, and adding device.