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Celebrating Leo, The World’S Commencement Draw Of Piece Of Job Organisation Computer

This yr marks the 60th anniversary of LEO, the world’s kickoff describe organisation computer—built past times J.Lyons & Co, a leading British nutrient manufacturer at the fourth dimension that also ran a famous chain of tea shops.

Lyons administration had long been bully to streamline their back-office operations. In 1947, 2 Lyons managers visited the U.S. to larn most the latest describe organisation processes, including whether the electronic computers they’d heard most during their wartime service, similar Bletchley Park were notwithstanding a well-kept military machine secret.)

They returned inspired past times the possibilities too bully to gear upwards a motorcar of their own. After several years of development, LEO, a.k.a. Lyons Electronic Office, took on its kickoff purpose labor on Nov 17, 1951—weekly valuations for the bakery division, calculating margins on Lyon’s output of bread, cakes too pies.

Until LEO, computing inward a run setting was treated similar a specialist chip of kit on a manufactory production line. Each motorcar was dedicated to a unmarried task. In essence, they were narrowly defined calculating machines. The vision for LEO, inward contrast, was bravely broad. LEO was a unmarried figurer capable of treatment a whole swathe of accounting too bookkeeping tasks, every bit good every bit producing daily administration reports.

LEO was such a success that Lyons laid upwards a commercial subsidiary to sell spare fourth dimension on LEO to other businesses, including the Ford Motor Company, which used it to procedure the payroll for the thousands of workers at its United Kingdom of Great Britain too Northern Ireland plant. Later, Lyons also built solely novel LEOs too sold them to other blue-chip companies of the era. In total, to a greater extent than than lxx LEO’s were built, amongst the concluding remaining inward service until the 1980’s (not bad for a figurer that took upwards an entire room!).

Today nosotros persuasion information technology every bit critical to whatsoever enterprise, only inward the 1950s, this was past times no way a given, every bit evidenced past times a quote from a 1954 resultant of The Economist: “There are those who create non believe inward the desirability of introducing anything every bit esoteric every bit electronics into describe organisation routine.” Things sure enough accept changed, too inward a sense, all modern twenty-four hours businesses owe a debt to the LEO team.

Last calendar week at the Science Museum inward London, nosotros were delighted to sponsor a small-scale gathering of early on LEO programmers  to celebrate their accomplishments too reminisce most their pioneering work. Today, on this 60th anniversary, nosotros invite yous to accept a loving cup of tea too bring together us inward toasting LEO—a remarkable ancestor inward IT’s identify unit of measurement tree.


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